Inauguration Day Revolution Revelation

I wrote this poem shortly after President Obama was sworn in, and sent it, along with this note, to my family:
 I rarely
dare
to share
my poetry.
 
But it is a new day,
and I have something to say.
 
I wrote this conTEXTing preface Oct. 12, 2010, preparing for the Seattle Poetry Slam –
 
I watch Capitol steps and Mall populate/
as my friends celebrate/
the Audacity of Hope/
and I grope/
to know how I,/
a suburban white guy/
fit in./
And so I begin … 
  
Inauguration Day Revolution Revelation
 
I am a revolutionary.

(The words stare out from the page,

although I’ve seen them in my mind before.

Have I?

I’m not sure!)

 

I’ve ridden – and ride — the bus

Not when it was dangerous

But when it is obnoxious.

Not for Civil Rights.

But for Earth’s Rights.

 

I am a revolutionary.

I’ve dug my hands deep

Not into plantations’ soil

Nor sharecropper’s clay,

But into the teaming,

Steaming,

Still hot, though winter’s day

at minus 20 degrees,

Compost heap,

That I first learned to keep

At ten,

And again,

At thirty,

To get my hands dirty.

And now

I know how

To show younger folk,

That they may pick up

That revolutionary yoke.

 

I am a revolutionary.

Though not the great-great grandson

Of anyone

Who history would honor

Nor remember.

 

Mine came across the water as well,

To seek a new life

in a promised land.

A land of opportunity they sought out

Of their own choice.

 

I follow that dream

Because I am the son of a father

Who has been to many mountaintops,

And rivers and marshes and forests and lakes

And said: “Make no mistake:

This is ours to preserve …

Or to eradicate.”

 

I am a revolutionary.

As the son of women who

Gave a hand up

When that’s all they could do.

Who, when others saw opportunity,

In times of greed,

Looked through with clarity,

And saw need,

And gave with charity.

 

Even now,

within my soul, I guess,

There is an inner vow:

“I can do no less!”

 

I am a revolutionary.

Lest there be any confusion

The earth,

and its people,

Are the roots of my revolution.

  

— Written after the Inauguration of President Obama, on my mother’s birthday, January 20, 2009

I read this poem at a committee meeting of the Seattle City Council in August, 2010. If you go to this link: YouTube copy of Inauguration Day Revolution Revelation at Seattle City Council sub-committee, “Words Worth”, 2010

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3 Responses to “Inauguration Day Revolution Revelation”

  1. jacque Says:

    Great poem. I like the environmental/earth-friendly overtones.

  2. cyranowriter Says:

    Thank you! I hope people will check out your environmental blog from Traverse City, Michigan — one of the great environmental places I’ve been to! (The photo on my header is from a Lake Michigan sand dune beach near Traverse City!).
    Dave
    My professional writer site: http://www.cyranowriter.com

  3. Update: Revolutionary Pre-Inauguration Day Revelation | Cyrano Writer: Musings of a Revolutionary Romantic Poet Says:

    […] I wrote this nearly 8 years ago, after President Obama’s Inauguration. My feelings are even deeper now … AND I’ve (finally) added a video of my performance at Seattle City Council’s Words Worth, August, 2010. Original poem and performance […]

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