Friday, January 24, 2020

Poetry Friday: "Praise Song for the Day"

Head over to Kathryn Apel's blog,
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness.

 Eleven years ago this month was an auspicious day for our country, the inauguration day of President Barack Obama. I love Elizabeth Alexander's inaugural poem, "Praise Song for the Day," shared on that occasion. And in the spirit of continuing to share poems about light* (my OLW), I offer up the concluding words to her poem:

. . .       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 pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light."

You can read the entire poem by clicking on the title of the poem. When I searched for the poem, I found this remembrance of that day from an article in The New Yorker, "A Poet's Tale from Obama's First Inaugural," written in 2017.

Finally, if you're interested in savoring more of Alexander's words
check out her lovely memoir, "The Light of the World."

*Several readers commented that they were unable to read the words when I put the used yellow print for the word light. I'm hoping that giving it a yellow background will remedy that problem, while still allowing me to highlight my OLW. Let me know if this works better.  


  1. What a perfect poem to share today--feels like a hug. I love it! Thank you.

  2. Ramona, the highlighting allows your OLW to stand out. I like it. As for the poem, these words are memorable and prayer-like: "praise song for walking forward in that light." May you walk into the light and find new roads to cross.

  3. The highlighting is fine, Ramona. What a wonderful memory of that day you've shared! Thank you!

  4. Ah, this poem and the memory of that day! Thanks for sharing the link to the New Yorker article, too.

  5. Many thanks for these high"lighted" words... perfect!

  6. Beautiful poem--This line speaks to me today: love that casts a widening pool of light. May we all step into and reflect that light that widens and widens to include all.

  7. I have never done OLW, but I can see how it would shape your year, continually seeking out thoughts on that word and relating it back to your life.

  8. The light in me sees the light in you, Ramona. Thanks for casting it here...