A Good Day

President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris: inaugurated January 20, 2021

The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean that we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while we once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
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
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it


22 thoughts on “A Good Day

  1. Gosh, Tina – thank you for posting this. I worked all day, and missed the poet laureate. A few neighbors gathered this evening around a fired in the backyard, to celebrate the inauguration. Several had seen this and were telling me about it. I had missed it, and was thrilled to read it here. The fact that she is so young, and the fact that so many people came of age in Georgia between the presidential election and their run-off gives me hope for the future. The young are mobilizing, and I just know, we’ll be better off for it. This was indeed a good day!


    • You’re welcome, Anna. I hope you clicked on the NYT link at the end. Her presentation was gorgeous! I know there’s so much work ahead, I’m not sure we’ll ever completely recover from these past years, but I’m so glad there are some grown ups at the helm. 🙂


  2. Thank you for posting this as I was wanting to find it and read it, this beautiful piece of work that was written and read so eloquently by the young woman, so wise beyond her years! It is exactly what we need at this moment in time.


  3. A wonderful poem. Welcome Joe Biden as President of the USA and Kamala Harris as Vice President. Hope and sanity will spread in the White House. I’m happy for your country Tina and for the other countries of the world. Tina take care of you and your husband and keep you safe. A hug from my Mother and me. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.


      • It is a very beautiful poem full of slogans of love, union and peace between men and women of any race, color, where they come from in the whole world: I love it, I hope it is fulfilled throughout the world. Biden and Harris are a team that has already started to govern very well, not only for the USA but also making very good decisions for the world: I like it a lot. Thanks for the hugs. My mother and I send you hugs. Take good care of yourselves and keep yourself safe. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.


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