Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Word from the Corner - THE REPUBLIC GIVES THANKS by Amanda Gorman

The Word from the Corner

Shared on "North Andover Poets Corner" on Facebook
"The play's the thing". The same way that a play is in the performance, so it is with poetry. We can read a poem and "play" it in our mind, but it only really comes alive when performed and experienced. Shakespeare's line from Hamlet came to me when I saw Amanda Gorman, the US Youth Poet Laureate, perform a new poem of hers on CBS This Morning on Thanksgiving morning. It was written by Amanda for the occasion. Her words are shared below, but her words really sing in her performance and the beautiful production by the CBS News producer (at the link). Enjoy. ________________________________________________

CBS News: "On Thanksgiving, we reflect on the things and the people for which we are grateful. In honor of this tradition, we asked 20-year-old Amanda Gorman, the inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S., to write a poem about what the holiday means to her." “THE REPUBLIC GIVES THANKS” by Amanda Gorman In 1863, deep in the Civil War’s magnitude, Abraham Lincoln called declared a day of gratitude Shared by one heart and one voice of America. A proclamation for a nation in a nightmare, This Thanksgiving dared Americans To chime their thanks at a time many believed That they had no thanks to give. Yet is this quirky day now about turkey? About a plate full of food? Or is it about being grateful In more than just attitude? The Haudenosaunee/Iroquois remind us With one mind, to find the words That come before all else, because to give thanks is to live it. It’s not just in speech, But in each of our daily actions. It’s reaching across divisions towards a Vision of a long, strong house and table Where we’re able to gather together. If we dream past pilgrims and the mast of the Mayflower, It may empower us to bravely learn From the People of the First Light, To return to Lincoln’s fight, To furnish our might by uniting around Any piece of peace, no matter how small. We still hear all these first teachers, Called by the will of those still here on this earth, Like the Wampanoag, who show us the worthiest Way to give thanks for our blessings Isn’t to hog them, but to give them away. It’s then, full of this feeling, That healing can begin, because maybe To be American is to be a kin To a courageous hope: The trust that even if just for a moment We can, we must, close rank as people, One heart, one voice, one mind, created equal. Like two vessels meeting at a riverbank anew Under the sky’s greeting of bright, blank blue, You’ll begin beside the people who flank you. We come to these words before and above all dreams, Saying with more love and restored meaning: Thank you.