This year, my eye sees one thing: There IS light at the end of the tunnel. So here is this year’s, somewhat polemical but hopeful, Thanksgiving poem.
A blessed holiday season and New Year to you all,
Poem That Can Make America Great Again
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
William Wordsworth, “Immortality Ode”
This is the poem
that will make America great again.
This is the poem
that the hungriest child in America
can trade in for a feast
at a billionaire’s table. This
is the poem that will transfuse its blood
into the bodies of Muslims
and Jews and Zoroastrians and sinners.
This is the poem that crossed the border
without inspection and proclaimed
its independence from hate, indifference,
bigotry and divisiveness. This is the poem
that refuses to be read its rights when
its wrists are shackled and its joy is crushed.
This is the poem that has gerrymandered
the countless districts of the heart into a state
of perfect justice. This is the poem that revoked
the citizenship of every racist, bigot, anti-Semite,
Islamophobe, xenophobe, homophobe and
torturer of animals, the poem that will tear down
the Border Wall, brick by inhospitable brick,
and, in its place, build a center for infants,
geriatrics, and the infirm of heart. This is the poem
that sleeps with the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
under its pillow. This is the poem that is not
vulnerable to false pieties or empty slogans,
a poem of hesitant rhetoric. This is the poem
that voted for Dick Gregory, Eugene McCarthy,
Ralph Nader, Barbara Jordan, and, of course,
Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter. This is the poem
that gazed into the President’s heart and found
only a resonant emptiness This is the poem
that snuck a peek at the President’s tax returns
and is too ashamed to say what it found there.
This is the poem that can turn into a hammer
for Habitat for Humanity and a nail in the coffin
of injustice. This is the poem that would rather
sleep with Angela Merkel than Stormy Daniels,
with Elizabeth Warren than Melania Trump.
This is the poem that loves the voluntary acts of
strong women. This is the poem that can concretize
the great abstraction– goodness, charity, humility,
decency, and kindness– into a vast conspiracy.
This is the poem that can make America great again,
that will allow us to gaze into the mirror and see
a face we can sleep with once more. See?— It’s
working already. Isn’t it amazing, what poetry can do?