I like it: inauguration edition.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
1) I don't care what the haters say, I loved Aretha's hat. Why aren't more people wearing hats? That was A HAT, and she wore the hell out of it.

2) DELETED (because I was bitching about something instead of appreciating, which is antithetical to the spirit of this list.)

3) I loved Michelle's daytime dress! (nighttime dress was okay, but I LOVED her daytime ensemble.) More specifically, I loved that she wore olive gloves with her lemongrass-colored wool lace (!!) dress. Read this great post at A Dress A Day to find out more about what makes it all so great. (hint: it's in part because she's an independent minded woman who dresses to please herself and not some antiquated notion of what's appropriate. RIGHT ON!) (I also loved that she had a ribbon sash, and so did both of the Obama girls. A nice family touch without being matchy matchy.)

4) Go read Bright Lights After Dark for the Fred Astaire connection: "Obama’s Inaugural Address was memorable. Obama’s speeches generally are. But the line I hear quoted from it most often comes not from the Bible, Abraham Lincoln, or our Founding Fathers, but from ... Fred Astaire."

5. You know what? I liked the poem! I liked it a lot!! I thought it was very visual and evocative of not just this Anything is Possible moment, not just of the toiling and dreaming that led to it, but of the fact that the work has just begun. I think Elizabeth Alexander was (understandably!) nervous, so it sounded a little stiffer than it is. I have no idea if the line breaks below are accurate -- this is what the NYT had as a transcript.

Praise song for the day.

Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone and then others who said, "I need to see what's on the other side; I know there's something better down the road."

We need to find a place where we are safe; We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; The figuring it out at kitchen tables.

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self."

Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need.

What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. Love with no need to preempt grievance.

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
4 comments on "I like it: inauguration edition."
  1. I did not see even a moment of the festivities from Tuesday so I am glad that you put the poem somewhere that I would actually see it. And it was lovely by the way. And not in an annoying lovely way but really lovely.

  2. I think I saw EVERY MOMENT since I was on the couch for no less than 12 hours. Booo to being sick, but at least there was something on TV!

    (I'm glad you liked the poem.)

  3. I approve of Aretha's headgear as well! If you're going to wear a hat (and why WOULDN'T you?????), commit to it!

  4. I think my 71 y/o aunt slept 2 hours that day/night as she wanted to see everything, and I think she did.


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