If you didn’t get a chance to hear it:
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper –
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives –
to teach geometry, or ring up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
[Full text of poem here...will open in separate window.]
David Friedlander relates a quote from Jahan Ramazani, an editor of The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry:
“While Blanco is careful not to turn the poem into a confessional act, since its purpose is largely civic, he makes it true to his own experience in referring to his mother’s sacrifices as a cashier and his father’s as a cane cutter, …In doing so, he makes vivid for us the specific sacrifices that make possible his act of writing the poem as well as the multitudinous sacrifices that stand behind the shared poetry of our daily experience. We are often reminded at such public ceremonies of the hardship of previous generations, but Blanco found a way to make it real in the immediacy of his example. In his references to hands, to breathing, to writing, and finally the naming constellations, he makes the poet’s activity emblematic of our shared humanity.”
Richard Blanco’s bio is here…
“Thank the work of our hands..” So many images beautifully written and expressed…