The Hill We Climb

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman (book cover)

We would like to end 2021 on an uplifting note.  The Hill We Climb is a poem composed and read by Amanda Gorman at the inauguration of President Biden on January 20, 2021.  As she stood before the audience, she was a shining sun in a bright golden-yellow coat – a sun amongst the more soberly dressed crowd (except for Bernie Sanders’ mittens).  And then she read her poem aloud.

Reading her poem in print is no less electrifying than hearing the spoken words.  The words look like prose until you hear the words in your head as you read to yourself, and you find the hidden couplets in thought and rhyme. 

It may be trite to say that a poem is poetic, but how else can one describe this verse, which catches both the eyes and ears of the listener?

We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
And the norms and notions of what “just is”
Isn’t always justice.

The poem encourages us to keep going, keep trying, because the mistakes of the past do not define us.  Instead, we can choose to begin a new chapter for our nation.  She told the New York Times, that she wants her words to, “envision a way in which the county can still come together and can still heal.”  Her final message is that if we want a better nation, then we must earn it.  

The new dawn blooms as we free it,
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it,
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Amanda Gorman, The Hill We Climb, an Inaugural Poem for the Country.  New York, NY: Viking, 2021


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