I had that choice this week…one of those times to pick between the ordinary and the extraordinary. I could have seen a good movie or a play or a show on TV. Nothing wrong with that. Today, entertainment is only a “click” away.
But, instead, we drove two hours to a special reading of a poem. To hear Richard Blanco, the fifth Inaugural Poet in history, read from his personal poetry and “One Today,” the poem he wrote for the nation…at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. I knew this would be unique, rarely to be repeated in a small gathering, as the poet told his story. Another emigrant making an indelible contribution to the United States.
My wife and I attended…no, we listened…at a special gathering orchestrated by The Writer’s Center, in Bethesda. The poet, one of the Center’s former teachers, told his remarkable story. These were the words behind the words…some of the raw history behind the music of his poetry.
Richard Blanco has been acclaimed in poetry circles, winning praise and awards, but now he is known as one of the few poets to be celebrated on the world stage. This would be a distinctive experience, one of those times I could place delicately in my memory, offering inspiration on demand…a gift that keeps on giving.
From the ending of his poem, “One Today”
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always, always
Home, always under one sky, our sky. And always
One moon like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
And every window, one country—all of us—
Facing the stars. Hope—a new constellation waiting
For us to map it, waiting for us to name it—together.
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A special “thank you” to my friends at The Writer’s Center, “one home,” a writer’s home, for creating this personal opportunity.