The Cup of Hope

On this morning,

this morning,

birthed by a prolonged and pregnant darkness,

I step out into the electric blast

where heaven steals across the sky,

the dawn sweeping its determined grace

across a bleak and wintry vault.

But I do not feel the cold,

only the blessing

of the snow’s silent embrace

and the prayer of the trees,

their frosted branches extended, arms

waiting to hold this fresh and pristine promise.

Beneath my feet, the soundlessness

of slumbering earth pulls deep.

And I am struck by a presence as piercing

as the starlings’ call though they, too, have abandoned

this stark and leafless morn

for the sweeter song that plays

— waft of preternatural voices,

ancients and sages, poets and visionaries,

warriors who have midwifed the arrival

of our brave and august son.

As I join my steps with theirs, the thousands

who have bled, known the bull’s-eye

of injustice, unhallowed siege of self,

and yet spilled their light

from an unconquerable heart

I shed my future longing,

release my broken dreams.

On this magnificent morning,

this extravagantly improbable day,

I am walking deep in winter

with my eyes on the rosebud in spring.

Note: This poem was subtitled “Inauguration 2009” because that’s when I wrote it (though it’s been revised since that initial heady outpouring). I know today will be a challenging, fearful day for many. But we have all been charged with carrying that cup of hope, and we are all tenders in the garden of our humanity.






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