One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
— from One Today, the poem by Richard Blanco, read by the author during the 2nd Inauguration of President Barack Obama, January 21, 2013. See the full poem here.
I am not in any grave risk of being asked by a future President of the United States to write an inaugural poem. Good thing, because I cannot imagine what I would say. It is the largest poetic platform in the world and a poem read there is automatically slated to be famous (if good) or infamous (if bad) and often both.
The inaugural poem tradition was started by Robert Frost in 1961, when at the invitation of President J. F. Kennedy he read his The Gift Outright. Not an easy act to follow.
But Richard Blanco did, and did it well. One Today is a beautiful poem, honest, upbeat, not too sentimental. It has a strong heartbeat and an honest pace.