Elizabeth Alexander read her poem "Praise Song for the Day" at President Obama's first inauguration. Her motto regarding revisions is "What's done is done." Her style is a question for readers. She writes with the awareness of history and literary form, with vernacular speech and music informing all of her syllables.
"Who you were at a particular moment in time stands as a record to who you are."
Praise Song for the Day
- Elizabeth Alexander
Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other's
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.
All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.
We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,
anything can be made, any sentence begun
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in the light.