Image by Felix E. Guerrero via Flickr Creative Commons

Edited by Richard Stone

This month’s poem is written by JON WELSH, a friend of Alfonso C. Hernandez who is in turn a friend of The Alliance affiliated with the Porterville Unitarian Universalist Church. I wrote to Jon, who lives in Arlington, Virginia, that it is too bad we didn’t have the poem to print at the actual time of Obama’s inauguration. But maybe this is the time we need it more, as we inaugurate a new year lacking some of the hope we had then. This is a good reminder of what was felt then, and what is still possible for us with or without Obama’s assistance.

Inauguration Poem

To skinheads and Aryan nations I say
where would you be without people of color?
To Christians and Jews alike, where without
Muslim neighbors? Somewhere in the world
progress is stifled by strife
and enmity gains the edge like husband over wife:
Marriages whose smiling public lies
conceal private crimes.

This is our time, now our need
to come together,
a time for verses of all kinds singing
common refrains, uniting all strains
into one strand, DNA skeins woven
from our great humanity.

This is the time for global projects
dwarfing bridges to nowhere,
for silk purses spun from public troughs
to weave shipping lanes, undersea cables
and air corridors into one.

Let us not shy from world order
saying it’s too difficult; not avoid peace
by remembering past differences –
rather, cleanse our hearts
as though we’ve adopted trails,
roads, highways, and cities block by block
keeping them free of trash.

Tolerate no mean speech.
Let selfishness be its own shame;
let hatred seed its own destruction;
let the generosity of a gentle sun
light your way and smile upon all you meet.

My brothers and sisters, the call has reached you:
now is the hour, this the moment.


  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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