Inspired by the painting that Wikipedia used yesterday on its homepage, on President Barack Obama’s last day.
“Hope” George Frederic Watts, 1886
There have always been moments
Like this: the whole world a weeping
Woman, half-collapsed, up to her knees
In tears for our unborn futures.
good enough start; carry on.
In 1886, my great-grandparents chose
(or turned?) (Look this up; give context;
History is personal and political:
The sweat of a single brow, the blood
Of thousands soaking a nation’s fields)
Since then, the vote and indoor plumbing:
Yes, all that. But also, a nuclear arsenal
In the small idle hands of a man
With neither conscience nor safeguards.
And so, this lyre–all strings but one long since
Broken, washed away in these salt waves,
The tears of my people, my tears–
And all the air above this musician
Awaiting the quiet note still to come perhaps
From this final trembling audacious
String and the transformation
That may yet follow its music.