Friday, February 06, 2009

Dissecting the Poem–9th Grade English–Mr. Biden, Room 2

Praise Song For the Day
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each others' 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. (We talk like our parents from places like here. Is that right, Mr. Biden? Is that wrong? Is that what she’s saying here? I think it is.
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. (I don’t get the boom box thing because are they recording onto that or playing something from it that they are copying like Ussher or Tribe?
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, (like were pissed off or not pissed off?) whispered or declaimed; words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone 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. (MR. BIDEN – I LOVE THIS LAST LINE!!!!)
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. (The picking cotton thing is about slaves, I guess. My grandfather worked on the railroad and my mother cleans buildings. I guess this is kind of for every body then.)
Praise song for struggle; praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign; (I see people – mostly dirty men – on the street on the way to school that hold these signs about working for food. That is really well imagery because I see them.) The figuring it out at kitchen tables. (Like my dad with the bills?)
Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thy self." Others by first do no harm, or take no more than you need. What if the mightiest word is love, love beyond marital, filial, national. Love that casts a widening pool of light. (I hear all my life that love is like what it says here in church.) Love with no need to preempt grievance. (I don’t know what this means – sorry.
In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air, anything can be made, any sentence begun. (THAT’S FOR SURE.) On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp -- praise song for walking forward in that light.
There are portions of this poem that I like a lot. One thing I noticed is that it doesn’t rhyme which I know is okay but I’ve always sort of liked poems that do. I’m not sure I can give it into one of the styles you asked about because it doesn’t seem to fit into any of them that you asked about. I have a feeling it was written because of our new president was elected and pronounced this week. I still really like that line about walking into what we cannot see. In conclusion I am so excited and glad that we read this poem. I only wish I understood it better and I only wish that it rhymed better and more.


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