Posts Tagged ‘United States of America’

I am your daughter.

I have marched in your main street parades,

and in my yard I fly your flag.

I pledge allegiance and sing your anthem.

My uncle and grandfather fought in your wars.

My other grandfather came to your shores

as a young boy and stayed to raise your powerlines.

I climb your mountains and work your soil

and pick up trash on your highways.

I love you, America.

I vote in your polls and raise your children

and volunteer in your schools.

And because you are America,

I pay your taxes and call my senators

and protest in your streets.

I read your poets, relearn your history,

travel your back roads and cheer your teams.

You made me, America.

And I pray for you. And I pray in the way I choose to pray

because we can do that in America.

America, did we forget

our differences are what make us great?

Remember, America, the dream!

The wind is fierce today,

and I love the way it inspires the flag to wave into life.

Whatever is fierce around us is an invitation

to show up. Whatever is difficult

is a call to bring our best.

Whatever is uncertain is a chance

to be clearer in our thoughts, more generous in our speech.

America, it’s not a president

that makes our country great—

it’s us. How we treat each other.

How we meet our mistakes.

How we become the wind that raises the flag.

How our own hearts must be the home of the brave.

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For your birthday, I’m sending you

the sunflowers in my garden,

which is to say, I send you

something unfinished,

something with so much room

left to grow.

America, I send you

the space above the sunflowers

a space they will reach into.

There is so much promise

of beauty in you, America,

so much blossoming yet to do.

America, you’re right if you think this is symbolic.

So I send you the sunflower’s roots, too.

We all know what happens without them.

America, here’s what I most want to say—

I believe in you, America, and all the hands

that tend your soil. Happy Birthday.

It’s time to get out of your own shade.

Happy Birthday. You’ve got this.  

Home of the brave.

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In a time of national crisis, what our country really needs is a good poem.

—Herbert Hoover


This is the time when we must say to the stranger,

the other, sit here. Notice how difficult it can be

to even come to the same table, how hard

to look the other in the eye. Something in us screams,

“Right, I am right.” And it is hard to hear the voice

beneath that scream, a whisper of a gospel that says

nothing at all.


This is the time when we must say to ourselves,

I am also the stranger, when we must look

in the mirror and not know who it is we see—

someone capable of being more courageous,

more compassionate, more devoted, more

astonishingly vulnerable and connected

than we ever knew ourselves to be. Who

is that stranger in the mirror, we must ask,

and vow to never let her down.


This is the time when we must write the poems

our country needs, the poem that builds the bridge

from truth to truth and never touches the river

of lies. The poem that allows our country

to fall in love with itself again, the poem

with enough places set at its table

that everyone knows they have a place to sit

and the rest of us know when that person is missing

because their chair is empty.


This is the time for the beauty that passes

all understanding, a testament of goodness

that cannot be contained, a congress of delight.

This is the time to pick up your pen

and with your most tender, beautiful self



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We will learn we cannot live

without each other—those who fight


and those who chant for peace,

those who vote for more government


and those who vote for less.

We will come to know, as E. O. Wilson says,


that our need to oppose the other

rises out of our biology


and it serves us, though it looks

sometimes like war.


We are falling together,

no matter which side we’re on.


We will learn that the only way

to rise is together, too—though it may


not look anything like we thought

it would. Every day, the world


grows more insistent. Every day

more reasons to drop our certainties


and listen.

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