Call Us What We Carry

April is National Poetry Month which means today is the perfect time for a post about Amanda Gorman’s collection Call Us What We Carry

This was a book I read slowly, little by little, to savor the rhythm and eloquence of the words. My copy is full of sticky notes, marking the pages where I felt especially moved. Here are just a few such passages:

From “At First”:

“We became paid professionals of pain,

Specialists in suffering,

Aces of the ache,

Masters of the moan.

March shuddered into a year,

Sloshing with millions of lonely,

An overcrowded solitude.”

From “& So”:

“Since the world is round,

There is no way to walk away

From each other, for even then

We are coming back together.”

From “Fury & Faith”:

But the point of protest isn’t winning;

It’s holding fast to the promise of freedom,

Even when fast victory is not promised.

Meaning, we cannot stand up to police

If we cannot cease policing our imagination,

Convincing our communities that this won’t work,

When the work hasn’t even begun,

That this can wait.

When we’ve already waited out a thousand suns.

By now, we understand

That white supremacy

& the despair it demands

Are as destructive as any disease.” 

From “The Miracle of Morning”:

“While we might feel small, separate & all alone,

Our people have never been more closely tethered.

The question isn’t if we can weather this unknown,

But how we will weather this unknown together.

So, on this meaningful morn, we mourn & we mend.

Like light, we can’t be broken, even when we bend.”

And, in case you missed it, you can click here to read my post about Ms. Gorman’s collectible gift edition of The Hill We Climb

The Hill We Climb

A year ago there was a moment in time when I was thankful for the pandemic.

Because of the pandemic, my husband was working from home and my son was participating in Zoom school. Because of the pandemic we were all at home, all able to hold hands and witness together the historic Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. 

I don’t remember much of the speeches from that day. But I do remember a strong feeling of reassurance. The feeling you get when the teacher is back in the classroom instead of an inexperienced substitute who has poor classroom management skills.

And I absolutely do remember Amanda Gorman. I remember her yellow jacket and her red headband. I remember her poise and presence. And I remember the delivery of her powerful words. Words that seemed to envelope us all, and remind us of all that is good and possible. Words that made me feel we were on the road to being okay. 

As Oprah Winfrey writes in the foreword of this collectible gift edition, “Everyone who watched came away enhanced with hope and marveling at seeing the best of who we are and can be through the eyes and essence of a twenty-two-year-old, our country’s youngest presidential inaugural poet.”

When I recently re-read The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem For the Country, I was just as awestruck as I was the first time. If you haven’t re-visited Ms. Gorman’s powerful Inaugural Poem, I highly recommend it. This is a book which forever will find a home on my bookshelf, and years from now, will be passed on to younger generations.

As Ms. Gorman writes:

“But one thing is certain:

If we merge mercy with might, and might

  with right,

Then love becomes our legacy,

And change, our children’s birthright.”