Praise Song for the Day - Interpretation
November 26, 2012
This poem, Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander, is one of the most memorable poems that have been recited within the last 20 years. Immediately after President Obama was sworn into office, Elizabeth Alexander recited her poem to the masses that had gathered on that cold winter day in January. The piece is full of symbolism, with the tone being hopeful, inspiring and thankful. The poem begins with a description of daily life which is filled with the daily grind of hard working individuals, often doing the work that drives this great nation of ours…small businesses, blue-collar laborers, honorable professions such as teaching.
The possibility of coming together as a people in …show more content…
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.
Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere, with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.
We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed, words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.
I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names 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.
Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.
Some live by love