Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sometimes the Poets Say it Best

Sometimes the Poets Say it Best

Of History and Hope
By Miller Williams

We have memorized America, 
how it was born and who we have been and where. 
In ceremonies and silence we say the words, 
telling the stories, singing the old songs. 
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do. 
The great and all the anonymous dead are there. 
We know the sound of all the sounds we brought. 
The rich taste of it is on our tongues. 
But where are we going to be, and why, and who? 
The disenfranchised dead want to know. 
We mean to be the people we meant to be, 
to keep on going where we meant to go. 

But how do we fashion the future? Who can say how 
except in the minds of those who will call it Now? 
The children. The children. And how does our garden grow? 
With waving hands—oh, rarely in a row— 
and flowering faces. And brambles, that we can no longer allow. 

Who were many people coming together 
cannot become one people falling apart. 
Who dreamed for every child an even chance 
cannot let luck alone turn doorknobs or not. 
Whose law was never so much of the hand as the head 
cannot let chaos make its way to the heart. 
Who have seen learning struggle from teacher to child 
cannot let ignorance spread itself like rot. 
We know what we have done and what we have said, 
and how we have grown, degree by slow degree, 
believing ourselves toward all we have tried to become— 
just and compassionate, equal, able, and free. 

All this in the hands of children, eyes already set 
on a land we never can visit—it isn’t there yet— 
but looking through their eyes, we can see 
what our long gift to them may come to be. 
If we can truly remember, they will not forget.

Here in America, we are standing on a knife edge.  One wrong step and this grand experiment could be lost forever.  Please vote on Tuesday, and please vote wisely.  If you’re outside of the states, a few prayers would be appreciated.  If you need further explanation, this post will help explain.

Painting above:
Our Banner in the Sky
by Frederic Edwin Church


  1. I feel for you over there Pamela. Over here we just all pray that the right one gets in - alright maybe a bit tainted in some ways but anything is better than the alternative.

  2. Oh Pamela, I just posted about this. Please take a look. I've never been so affected or scared.

  3. Prayers and hope are being sent. It is interesting that here in Australia your campaign is getting as much air time as our recent debacle of an election. At least both of our major candidates had more moral fibre and decency.

  4. a knife's edge is right.
    sadly only time will tell if even this pitiful election has harmed us to the extent we're now "a house divided" again. what would Lincoln say i wonder.

  5. With all my heart, thank you for this and, once again, for the earlier post to which you have referred. I have returned to it several times (and the many excellent comments made) for the reassurance that our whole country hasn't gone mad.

    1. Thank you Stephanie. I need reassurance that the whole country has not gone mad.

  6. Thank you, Pamela, for this beautiful and timely poem. I do hope our good country makes the right choice on Tuesday. In truth, the choice is between an extremely indecent person and someone who has usually done the right thing, and then some. On verra, hein?

  7. So well said, Pamela. I've forwarded this to friends. To everyone--you must VOTE! To anyone who says they "don't like either candidate" I would urge you to look closely at the record, NOT at sensationalist television and Net. Hillary has a lifetime of service; Trump is clearly exploiting the basest, lowest and most violent sentiments in society for his own personal power. There is a clear choice here, and the very nature of our society is at stake.
    Thank you, Pamela, for speaking out!

  8. I am your neighbor to the North. We are watching, hoping and praying for you all. Canada is keeping her fingers crossed! #iamwithhertoo


  9. I pray that God will guide Americans to vote in the best candidate.

  10. I couldn't sleep last night worrying about a Trump victory and how Putin would use it to his advantage to threaten the Baltic states in Europe, those brave, modern, hopeful little states so recently freed from communism. He is already testing their borders, pushing NATO. It just needs a weakened/unhinged America to tip the balance of the world. I know there would be so many more adverse consequences for the American nation itself, and I hope you will forgive me for concentrating on the European/global impact. But we are all very deeply worried here at the train of events that is likely to follow a Trump victory. I just hope our Queen doesn't have to welcome him to Buckingham Palace. Can you imagine???

    1. This is election should be a no-brainer. How did we get here? Where are we going? It is disappointing for me to hear the reasons that people would vote for this man. Have we dumbed down so much in this nation that we can't even see the obvious? It is going to take an effort to become joyful and grateful if this man wins.

    2. This election should be a no-brainer. How did we get here? Where are we going? It is disappointing for me to hear the reasons that people would vote for this man. Have we dumbed down so much in this nation that we can't even see the obvious? It is going to take an effort to become joyful and grateful if this man wins.

  11. Dearest Pamela,
    Yes indeed. Here in New York we are just terribly sad. America has such good things to offer to the world.
    Hillary will do a fine job as President - flaws and all. The other is unthinkable.
    Wonderful choice of painting too.
    Hopes, prayers and belief that good sense will prevail. Pats for dear Edward and Apple.

  12. Voting has become a necessity due to this ugly devisive campaign. On Nov. 9th it is time for voters to try to be civil to one another in order to put this country back together and show the world we are capable of being sensible and cooperative. If we all listen and discuss there is absolutely no reason America will survive and become even better. Trump will survive in his penthouse above 5th Avenue.

  13. For such a genteel, southern writer, you can be as snarky as the best of them.

  14. This is turning out to be one of the worst nights of my life.

  15. It is painful remembering how optimistic we all felt, but let us hold onto hope for a better world. After a 2 month hiatus, I have returned to blogging as a relief from post-election despair.

  16. Heavens, it is hard to feel at peace or even decent. We had two good candidates, Bernie and Hillary, and although I felt that HRC was most qualified, I loved Bernie's personal empathy and his attention to our country's domestic problems (even while common sense told me that we needed a strong, experienced foreign policy candidate too). But either way, I was happy.

    Now, I just remind myself that only 26% of the country voted this deplorable in. And that HRC won the popular vote (by an increasing margin as the days go by). That is critical; to think that a majority of citizens had lost what I call fundamental decency was profoundly depressing. I'm still down, but more hopeful about going forward. We have much to do to make this a better country, but I feel sure that there are many people who didn't vote or who voted just to express their anger who will feel differently as they discover what they have unleashed. Our environment will suffer, surely, and we will see more terrorism ... but at the moment we can't help that. We can help heal the breach between us and people who truly have been left behind financially as the world changes so much.

    But embrace hatred, white supremacy and the neo-Nazis? No. Never. That is NOT America. If civility and caring means anything to us, we have to oppose that kind of darkness.

    Phew. Had to get that off my chest. :)


I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!