Archive for January, 2009


Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp — praise song for walking forward in that light.

-Elizabeth Alexander-Inaugural Poem

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we the people have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans…

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake…

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint…

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath…
– President Obama, Inaugural speech


another poem (“Whatever will become of us?”)

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

After the rain,
Our umbrella
Becomes a cane,
And, “Whatever will become of us?”
Becomes “…became.”

– David Thewlis

a poem I read today (“or just after”)

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

– “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens