Sunday, January 25, 2009

Praise Song

By Lisa Lopez Snyder

The morning began with fierce cold. Nevertheless, people from the world over, bundled up in winter hats and coats, walked along the long stretch of grass from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. They had come to see a president being sworn in.

I was among these more than one million who gathered several days ago to watch history unfold. We were inspired, along with everyone else who watched from television sets, by a man who showed us that we all have something to contribute. That each of us can do something to make the world a better place to live. That we can achieve whatever we put our minds to.

So how does a writer do that? It starts by being you. By listening to your own voice and sharing it with the world. Inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander chose to speak of the every day man and woman, the past, the present. From her “Praise Song for the Day”:
“…A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.

We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed…

Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing then 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…

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.”

So, what inspires you today, dear friend? What song will you sing? What story will you write? Praise song, indeed.

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