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A Poet’s Heart Laid Bare

January 23, 2021

Amanda Gorman, in this poet’s heart, offered the highlight of the inauguration ceremony recently, as our President Biden and VP Kamala Harris took oaths of office.

The bravery of a poet is to offer a heart laid bare. Words are our soul’s breath, the exchange of atmosphere in us for what surrounds us. They are our hope for belonging, response, and peace. They are our confessions and our restorations.

Gorman’s poem of hope infused with her charge of responsibility, her simple honest introspect, made me hopeful our country can move on. Whether all things that come will be good, at least some of it will be.

I hold on to the hope that God will lead us, enough of us at least, to love our neighbors as ourselves in the next four years. That is the second great commandment. This would be change that is good.

As a Christian I know that the basis for that change is the first command, to love God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength. That is a big charge too, but the only thing that will enable us to do both.

So here’s another poet’s heart laid bare.

Below, Behind

There it is

below, behind us,

a valley carved,

no furrow straight,

no certain curves,

an undulating wrinkle in the earth

which may change yet

by force of wind or flood

Who’s to say

which way it next may turn.

It is new to us, now

It was not there before,

we were not here, back then

I did not see it yesterday.

This morning, see,

the sun made wide my eyes

and light and shadow showed

the gulch that had appeared.

We had stumbled ‘cross it

in the night

unaware of what we stumbled for

or why our feet were cold and wet

why clumsily we fought the dark

not knowing it was changing ground

that caused our misery.

There it is

below, behind us,

a valley carved.

But we stand on a hill,

upon a crest,


and see

with sun-wide-opened eyes.

© Damon Dean, 2021

4 Comments leave one →
  1. LaVerne Smith Roberts permalink
    January 23, 2021 10:26 am

    Beautiful !

  2. March 8, 2021 4:11 am

    Oh I LOVE this so much, I can barely speak–thank you. God bless you abundantly.

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