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Mary O’Leary McGlinn

Eulogy to Walt, The Family Man

Walt 1

Mary’s Eulogy to Walt, The Family Man

Walt was a complex, highly intelligent, caring man. I think his complexity was what at first attracted me to him. I had never known a man who so often surprised me with his opinions, decisions, thoughts, and abilities, or a man who wanted to share all of these with me (that is, except for Ed, my brother who mentored me into my adulthood and later Dick who encouraged me with my attempts at creative writing, ah brothers).

We had an idyllic courtship. I would fly to New Mexico whenever I could to be with him. Walt was, at the time, a Field Engineer for Bendix Research Labs working on a missile program at White Sands, New Mexico. Walt and I both loved the southwest, the dessert, the small towns, the mountains, the people. If I were to be completely honest, one of the reasons I married him was I thought I would live in that beautiful part of America.

Our time in New Mexico, however, came to a close shortly after I became pregnant with our first born, shortly after we were married. I remember Walt and I discussing whether we should delay this and both of us stated, “Why wait?” We didn’t. With some regret we returned to the Detroit area when Walt’s work at White Sands ended.

We moved into a lovely 3 story apartment on 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak. To our delight, Dody and Bernie Teitelbaum (Bernie also worked at Bendix Labs) moved into an apartment two doors down from us as they began their life together and had their first child, Bob. Bernie was a close friend of Walt; Dody became one of my best friends. What fun we had sharing our new lives together. At least once a month we had what we called “a feast” alternating between our two apartments and Chef Dody and Chef Mary. To this day I think of them often and what we shared. Walt did the same. Both of them died too young. We loved them both and their son and daughter.

We stayed in the apartment for close to 5 years. During this time our first born, Diana, born January 2, 1958, was a child who was growing way beyond her years. The apartment complex had many beginning families with young children. As a very young child, Diana ventured out among these families on her own and made friends with all of the children. It was a sign of the times to come. She was also very athletic at a very young age. We would have Mothers and Fathers in the area coming to us chastising us and warning us that she would hurt herself doing what she was doing on the swings, the bars, the slide, etc. We ignored them because we saw how able she was and how much she loved the challenge.

Kathy was born on December 1, 1959. We moved into the house that we have lived in ever since when she was 1 and a half years. Kathy soon became just as able and adventurous as her big sister. She also developed an ability in drawing and creating written stories. At one point in grade school she made an encyclopedia of animals featuring her drawings of each of them and her text describing them. She did this all on her own; it was not an assignment. Walt and I were so proud of her. In her later grade school years and into high school, she became an accomplished equestrian, scaring Walt and me to death with her and her horse jumping and performing dressage in various competitions winning ribbon after ribbon and trophy after trophy.

And then came Marta on September 26, 1962, a week after my Father died trying to help us with our leaky breezeway. This is the most painful regret of our lives. It took us a long time to recover. Marta helped us. She was a dear child, very loving and just like her older sisters, she brought so much joy to her father. She traveled Europe as a high schooler performing in a choir and in her senior year at Albion College she spent the year as a student at Sussex University in England. Walt delighted in her visiting Switzerland and his relatives there as she traveled after her studies were completed. There was not a Father more proud of a daughter when we saw her inducted into Phi Beta Kappa when she returned from Europe.

A year or so after we lost my Dad, my Mother sold her home in Leavenworth and moved to Michigan to be close to her family, her grandchildren. She lived in an apartment a half block from us in Royal Oak. We loved having her close by. Walt welcomed her into our daily lives and was always watching out for her. She enriched our family life with her presence.

Throughout our life together, Walt continued to be a complex man full of surprises. As I have stated, he loved music and making music. At one point in the 70s he performed in a production of HAIR at Oakland University as a substitute trumpet player for one of his friends whom he had met playing in a local band. Walt was also the photographer for the event. Later he was the trumpet player in the music group for the same production at Oakland Community College. I took Mom to see it; we had a ball and so did Walt. Somewhere I have photos of him as a handsome hippie.

He was often trying to make our lives better. He installed a large above ground swimming pool in our back yard with the help of only the dear, strong McGlynn boys who dug out the deep end. I’ll never forget the day Walt and I struggled to lay down the liner as cold weather was approaching. It took us hours to get it right. He then installed a gas line out to the pool for a heater. I worry about this even today.

He built a lovely deck off our family room and breezeway on his own. Well, Ed helped him by transporting the lumber and I think he hired a company to create the holes for the necessary posts, very deep. The poor person who is going to have to get rid of his deck will be swearing at the person who built it. Not too many years ago he installed a shed in the far back yard so he could park his new, shiny Camry in the garage. This ability to create and build reminded me of my Father who could do the same and did.

Walt loved being part of the McGlinn, McGlynn family. His first encounter with this Irish clan was with Ed when he met him at Bendix. Walt loved Ed and admired him so much. It was through Ed that I met Walt. Our first “date” was playing catch in the parking lot of Ed’s and my apartment. As I said, “complex, surprising.” If Walt were writing this he would talk about all the memories we have of times with these dear people. All the Thanksgivings at the table of Elaine’s delicious feast surrounded by all our children and the naps after. All the sweet times shared with Ed and Judy, Edward and Patrick, often on Christmas Eve. That picnic we all (except for Bobby) got together at the lovely Edward Hines park in Plymouth. Walt took hundreds of photos of our family and our extended family. Some of the most touching and beautiful ones were taken that day: Bill at the grill, very little ones in a play pen, other little ones running about playing with each other, everyone having so much fun. Walt would go on and on. The times Shirley and Bobby, Matt and Maura would travel to Michigan and stay with us and we would gather the whole clan together. There are so many dear memories. Finally, he might talk about one of the memories we both cherish so much.

In March of 2007, Dick, Elaine, Walt, and I drove to Washington DC to march in protest against the war in Iraq. I should say Dick drove, we rode. It was a scary drive and ride. We ran into a late season ice storm in Pennsylvania. There were many trucks and cars on the side of the highway that had been forced off or with a driver who thought it safer to leave the road. Dick drove on and delivered us safe and sound to our nation’s capital, where we were met by another challenge. The directions to the hotel we had been given became useless as we ran into road closures because of the heavy rain. A couple of times we came very close to the hotel, we could even see it, and at least 2 of these times I gave the wrong directions to Dick. Round and round we went but finally we arrived at our place of rest. All the while Elaine and Walt kept us calm. Dick was so kind, never once being upset with me and my terrible sense of direction. By the time we went to our next protest march, Dick had purchased a GPS.

The next day we set off to join the gathered protestors. The trouble was we joined the wrong group of protestors. There was a group of veterans who were gathering near the anti-war marchers. When we realized that we were surrounded by a large number of men in combat fatigues, we hurried out of the area and started walking very fast to the much larger group we could see gathering not too far away. I should say that The Mcglynn and The Oleary started to walk quickly. Dick can walk very fast even with a cane (maybe that has something to do with his ability as a young man to run very fast). I was trying to catch up to him when I started looking around for Walt and Elaine. There was Elaine far away still in the company of some of the vets, pointing out to them the horror of the Iraq war for both the Iraqi people and the American soldiers and the illegality of it. And there was Walt trying to get her to leave them, worrying that she might get hurt. Classic Walt. It took some time but it all worked out just fine. Elaine, Walt, Dick and I marched with our anti-war brothers and sisters and children to the Pentagon and protested the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice war in Iraq.

I close with a Thank You to Walt from Diana, Kathy, Marta, and me for being such a dear family man.

Kansas 4th of July, Memories

There are many memories I have of various 4ths of July of my life. There are the wonderful ones shared with the McGlynns and the fireworks of Plymouth; the ones where Walt and I would drive to a street close to our house, put the children on the hood of the car, and watch the fireworks display of a neighboring city; and the many ones where we would walk with Diana and Dan and Jessica and Allison to the Clawson firework display at their city park. One year Marta and I made a cake that looked a little like the flag and invited our neighbors over for cake and ice cream, another year we invited any of the McGlynns and McGlinns who could come for a back yard picnic welcoming Marta back from Chicago and baby Joseph to our Royal Oak world.

The older I get, the 4ths that tug at my heart so much are the 4ths of July in Kansas. I would wake up in the early morning full of anticipation. The 4th was like no other day in the year. I would always be wondering what would happen this day, this year. The sound of firecrackers and other noise makers would fill the day. My brother, Dick, would, at some point, start shooting off firecrackers, sometimes putting them in containers that would sail into the air. Even I, as I became a little older, had little firecrackers called Lady Fingers that I would light and run “for my life.”

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It was in the evening that the day became the most magical. Mom and Dad and my brothers (early on Dick, later, Bobby) and I would walk to Fort Leavenworth to see their fireworks display. We would walk up 7th Street, block after block, past Wilcox Drug Store, where my brother, Dick, would buy his firecrackers and my Grandpa O’Leary would take his afternoon drink, past the apartment house where Uncle Francis and Aunt Edna Mae lived, past St. John’s Hospital (where, later, I would work in admittance the summer of my Junior year in high school and admit my Aunt Tete when she had a miscarriage), block after block until we reached the entrance to the Fort and, then, on to Merritt Lake, where we would spread out on the lawn and wait impatiently for the show. When we were walking up the dear streets of my town in those evening hours, I was in heaven; it was so wonderful to see my Mom and Dad so happy, doing something just for fun, enjoying themselves, their children, the evening. I would run ahead just so I could look back at them and then join them again, grabbing my Dad’s hand. The fireworks over the lake were beautiful and when they were over we all clapped and, I think, we sang the National Anthem, but, maybe, I am misremembering; maybe I was just singing it to myself. Walking back to our house, I would be thinking of the wonderful treat that awaited us.

home

We always ended our Kansas 4th of July with a feast of ice-cold, sweet watermelon. It was the only day in the year we had it. Mom and Dad would buy a big, beautiful watermelon, put it in our ice box on the back porch, and after walking home from the Fort, we would all gather around the kitchen table (even Mom would be sitting wth us , usually she was standing serving all of us our meals). Dad would cut big, thick slices of this special treat and we would proceed to devour the entire melon. I think my other brother or two must have joined us; surely we didn’t eat the whole thing by ourselves!

After having, probably, too much of this delicious treat, I would reluctantly begin to get ready for bed. I would climb the stairs to my bedroom at the front of our house and put on my summer pajamas. I would sit on my bed, looking out the window right next to my bed. I would look down at our dear street, Ottawa. I would look at the houses, with lights still on in living rooms and porches and think of
the persons I knew who lived in them. I would look up at the star spangled sky. I would smell the sweet, earthy scent of a hot, July night in Kansas with just the whisper of a breeze. Finally, I would lay down on top of the sheets of my bed and go to sleep thinking I was the luckiest girl in the world.

Shirley

 

There
is this woman, her name is Shirley.

She
has left us and, yet, she remains.

 

She
remains with us in the lives of her family,

Her
husband, Bob, who calls her “the love of my life,”

In
the lives of her beloved children, Matthew and Maura,

And
Maura’s husband, Allen,

In
the lives of her cherished grandchildren, Riana and Joshua and Eva

Who
filled her life with so much joy as she did theirs.

In
all of these lives that have been shaped so deeply, so beautifully

By
Shirley, she remains with us far into the future.

 

She
remains with us in the lives of her original family,

Her
Dad, her loving sisters and brother, all of her extended family,

Her
sister Mary Helen, who was her soulmate and such a comfort to her

And
in all of our memories of her beautiful and dear mother.

 

She
remains with us in the lives of her close and devoted friends,

In the lives
of the staff members in the Pre-Med program at SIU,

Her
dear friend and collaborator in the program, Evelyn Jackson,

And
in the lives of all the members of her extended McGlinn family

Who
came to know and love her as one of their precious own.

 

In
all of these lives that she enriched so greatly

With
her intelligence, her wit, her beauty, and her love,

She
remains with us.

 

There
is this woman, her name is Shirley McGlinn, the teacher.

She
has left us and, yet, she remains.

She
remains with us in the lives of the countless students that she

Taught
and inspired as they have gone out and continue to go out into the world to heal.

It
has been said of her that she was the consummate teacher,

A
teacher who not only was so highly skilled in the art of academic instruction,

But
a teacher who was an example and mentor to her students in so many ways,

In
ways of caring, in ways of honesty, in ways of persevering, in ways of loving.

A
teacher honored over and over and over again by her students

And
recognized by her peers time and time again for her creativity and
excellence.

Her
legacy with the young men and women she taught is so deep, so lasting,

She
will be with us far, far into the future as they live out their
lives.

 

There
is this woman, her name is Shirley Mura McGlinn.

It
truly can be said of her that she made the world a better place.

This
remarkable, beloved woman, our dear Shirley, has died,

And, yet, she lives.

She
taught us how to live joyfully and with purpose.

She

lives on in all of our lives.

 

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

****

 

 


for poem

 

Brother Ed Elected To The Hall Of Fame, Anglers Of The AuSable

Friday, May 11th, 2007

To Ed From his sister Mary

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A River Runs Through Him

You will not see him often, now,
Wading into his beloved Holy Waters.
Fly casting can be difficult, sometimes, for older bones.
You will not see him often, now,
But he is there.

You will not say, late some evening,
As you hear the water move so slightly and the line snap so quietly,
“That must be him.”
You will not say that often, now,
But he is there.

When you see a glistening Brown trout rise, in his wildness, to a caddis hatch,

When you walk into the cool river water on a hot Summer day,
And the beauty of it all catches your breath,

When you rest on a river rock in the deep dark and silence of a moonless night,
And you know the prehistoric life surrounding you,

This fisher,
this Riverwatch founder and editor,
this honored Riverkeeper,
this protector of the river and all its creatures,
this lover of the Au Sable

is there.

Mary Oleary-McGlinn

 In the spirit of this season, celebrating the sacredness of family, we offer a poem in honor of parents throughout the world:   parents of every race, parents of every creed and those without, parents of every country, and, most especially, those parents who are now struggling against all odds to care for and protect their children.

MY FATHER MADE BRACELETS

I can see him now, sitting in the cellar,

In front of the flame of the coal furnace.

He would take the strips of stainless steel

And hold them over the flame until they were heated through.

 

These strips of steel he brought home from the bomber plant,

No doubt, the leavings of some machine die work,

Would become in his hands shiny interweavings of adornment;     

Some so delicate we feared they would break,

 

Others, thick and heavy and beautiful in their boldness.

I would watch him, excited at the thought

That I would wear such lovely bangles;

That I would wear bracelets my Father made for me.

 

He made so many, all perfect in their twists and turns.

For years, I would wear five or six on my arm.

Strangers would ask me where I had bought them.

With pride, I would say “My Father made them for me.”

 

Now, when I think of him, I wonder how it occurred to him

To make bracelets for his daughter from left-over

Steel strips he found as he labored far away at a bomber plant,

The only job he could find in the depressed days of ‘43.

 

Was he thinking of me one day as he performed 

His daily duties of rote and boredom?

Did he see the shiny strips of steel and think of me,

His only daughter who did not have any bracelets?

 

That he could envision something made from

The shiny strips of steel is not surprising.

My Father could make something out of nothing,

Could fix anything that was worn or broken.

 

But that he thought of me as he went through

His work-day so far away from all of us,

That is what moves me even now,

So many years after the deep mourning of his passing.

 

 

We didn’t have many material goods in those days.

We always had enough food, and simple clothes,

And we had something much more treasured than wealth.

We had a family of four sons, one daughter, a Mother who comforted,

                         And a Father who made bracelets.

 

I gave some of the bracelets to my best friends;

In later years, some to my daughters.

Eventually, some did break from years of wear.                                                      

I have only one now.  It never leaves my wrist.

                       It is my lovely, treasured  talisman from my Father.

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

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HUBRIS

 Now, tell me, again, what did our President say

as he ended his review of the war in Afghanistan?

 

Did our President say, “I am going to finish the job.”?

I am going to finish the job.” just “I” as in “I, the decider”?

just “I,” not “we,” not “our brave soldiers,” not “our allies,” not “the congress”?

I am going to finish the job.” Did our President say that?

 

Tell me, again, what did our President say?

Did he say, “I am going to finish the job.”

finish” as in “to successfully complete,” “finish” as in “to accomplish”?

finish,” as in “to win,” not “to re-think,” not “to change direction,” not “to bring to an end”?

“I am going to finish the job.” Did our President say that?

 

Tell me, again, what did our President say?

Did he say, “I am going to finish the job“?

the job” as in “a definite piece of work,” “the job” as in a “certain mission”?

the job” as in “the bombing, the killing, the dying,”?

the job” as in “that which we began eight years ago”?

the job” as in his “war of necessity”?

“I am going to finish the job.” Did our President say that?

 

Tell me again, what did our President, Barack Obama, say

as he ended his review of the mess in Afghanistan?

 

“I am going to finish the job.”

 

hubris, as in “arrogance resulting from excessive pride which goes before the fall”

 

 

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

 

I have often thought of the meaningfulness and the beauty of the iconic image of Christmas: the family in the manger.  I do not think it is by accident that the story of Christmas will forever be told  in the frame of the family.  Indeed, I think the family is the true sacred and spiritual touchstone of humanity.  The family, not just in the lovely but sometimes limited sense of a mother, a father, and a child, but the family as in the human family, humans joining together in  various forms  to help and love one another and to care for and protect our young.

MacLeish said it best, although he was hampered in his choice of words by the consciousness of the time of his writing.  You will excuse me if I paraphrase the ending of his beautiful essay that he wrote upon seeing the photo of our planet taken by Apollo 8.

planet

“To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers and sisters on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold, brothers and sisters who know now they are truly one family.”

The Mothers of Iraq

 

motherchild.jpg
On this Mother’s Day, I think of the Mothers of Iraq,

Venturing out in the soft, waning hours of the afternoon

To the market for food for their children,

And bringing home the sights, and smells, and fears of the destruction of their city.

On this Mother’s Day, I think of the Mothers of Iraq,

Cringing with fright as they hear our President boast,

“We will fight them on the streets of Baghdad,

So we will not have to fight them here.”

On this Mother’s Day, I think of the Mothers of Iraq,

Covering the broken and bloody arms,

And legs, and heads of their wounded children

With their black veils of sorrow.

On this Mother’s Day, I think of the Mothers of Iraq,

Wailing and weeping over their lost, dead children,

And I weep with them,

And beg their forgiveness for allowing this to happen.

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

MICHIGAN METAMORPHOSIS

mich meta

 

 Mich mid morn

 

OUR CHILDREN ARE DYING IN GAZA

Our children are dying on their neighborhood streets in Gaza.

Our children are being bombed in their homes and in their schools in Gaza.

Our children are screaming in pain in hospitals, denied the means to soothe and heal in Gaza.

Our children are suffering from an occupation-imposed lack of food and water in Gaza.

Our children are being stripped of the joy, laughter, and sweet memories of childhood in Gaza.

Our children are crying out for help in Gaza.

Our children are asking us, “what have we done to deserve this punishment?”

What do we say to our children in Gaza?

TORTURE AMERICA

torture America

TORTURE AMERICA

It’s not going to go away,
However much you might want it to.

It’s not going to go away,

the acts of sexual humiliation, the “stress positions,” the “walling,”
the months, years of solitary confinement, the “waterboarding,”

the photos of the pyramid of naked bodies, the wired, hooded man on a box,
the man cowering from an attacking dog, the man dragged by a leash,

These are not going to go away.

the attempts to legalize, the Geneva Conventions deemed “quaint,”
“if it does not result in serious physical injury,” “organ failure,” “death,”

the lies of Condoleeza Rice, “the United States does not engage in torture,”
the lies of Donald Rumsfeld, “a few bad apples,”
the lies of George W. Bush, “We do not torture.”

These are not going to go away.

the torture testimonies of prisoners negating fair trials,
the calls for accountability from institutions and persons of integrity
are not going to go away.

Oh, yes, we know, we know,
We face so many problems right now.

Many of those you will address and some will be solved
Through your brilliance and commitment.

But this, this will not be solved, and this will not go away;

This destruction of our reputation as a nation of laws,
These sickening, heinous, inhumane acts done in your name and our names,
This criminal betrayal of America,

This is not going to go away.

INVESTIGATE, INDICT, IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE, IN THE NAME OF AMERICA

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

sides of march

man and child

OUR DANGEROUS TERRORIST

Look at him, if you can: our prisoner, our dangerous terrorist.

He sits there on the hot, barren ground,

Hooded, unable to see his world,

Surrounded by barbed wire to keep us safe.

Look at him, our prisoner, our dangerous terrorist.

In his hooded darkness, his hand caresses the flushed forehead of a small child,

His arm embraces this child, holding him close to his chest.

Look at the child’s small bare feet; look at his eyes closed against the glare of his world.

Look at him, our prisoner, our dangerous terrorist.

What words of comfort is he saying to this small child?

What is the child saying to his protector?

Look, his mouth is open. Is he moaning? Is he crying?

Look at him, our prisoner, our dangerous terrorist.

He sits there on the hot, barren ground.

He feels this small child next to him, breathing heavily in the hot sun.

Our terrorist is hooded but he is not blind; he will remember this world.

Look at him, if you can: our prisoner, our dangerous terrorist.

He embraces this small child. Do we?

He protects this small child. Do we?

He loves this small child. Do we?

Who, then, is the terrorist?

Is he? Am I? Are you?

Mary O’Leary-McGlinn

.

Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circum spice. (1)

for poem

PENINSULA PEACE

 

(An ode to July in Michigan)

 

Time and time again, I have found peace here at this lovely inland lake

On this beautiful peninsula in Michigan:

 

Peace as comforting as the early morning sun warming

The waiting lake;

 

Peace as sweet as almost-forgotten scents of earth, woods, leaves, life released

By the soaking Summer rain;

 

Peace as soothing as the movement of white wisps of clouds, slow-dancing

Across a vast expanse of blue;

 

Peace as calming as the lake at twilight,

Quiet, still, serene;

 

Peace as deep as the infinite, star-studded

Northern night sky;

 

Peace as loving as the full golden moon laying down a path of

Soft light across the gently rippling night water.

 

Oh, to be able to keep this peace as a mystical memento

Of a Leelanau retreat,

 

To bring it home as a spiritual shield against

The city glare and noise 

 

Until, returning north, I am made new once again by

The peace of this peninsula..

  

Mary Oleary-McGlinn

 

(1) If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.

 

State Motto of Michigan

I Want My Country Back

 I want my country back,
The one that doesn’t spend its treasure on death, destruction, and endless war,
While ignoring the needs of its citizens, its poor, its children.

The one that doesn’t torture its captives,
That doesn’t imprison them for years without charging them with any crime.

I want my country back,
The one whose government does not reward the wealthy few
At the expense of the common good,

The one that doesn’t spy on its citizens without warrant,
The one whose leaders do not lie to cover up their illegal actions.

I want my country back,

The one whose president and vice-president do not promulgate fear to
Silence and dis-empower their fellow citizens,

The one whose president and vice-president do not put themselves above our laws,
Whose president and vice-president do not attack and degrade our Constitution.

I want my country back,
The one that has attempted to live up to its ideals:

The country of the abolitionist movement to free our slaves,
The country of the labor movement to ensure the rights of workers to organize,
The country of the feminist movement to address the inequalities suffered by women,
The country of the civil rights movement to secure the rights of black Americans,
The country of the anti-war movement to stop the madness of the Vietnam war,

The country that has existed in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans,
As they have struggled to make it a place of justice for all.

I want that country back.

These men, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales,
Surely, they are not the rightful leaders of such a country.
Surely, they are a mistake, an aberration.
These men and those who do their bidding
Are small people: small in vision, in compassion, in intellect.
They are arrogant, incompetent, and corrupt ideologues.
They do not understand the values of our democratic way of life,

They do not honor our Constitution.

We must take our country back from these who would subvert our democracy.
It is now our turn to take up the struggle for a just and honorable America..

It is now our task to take our country back.

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

The Possibility of a New Beginning

I see him standing there in the bright January sun, this tall, slim American, born of Kansas and Kenya,

This graduate of Harvard, this teacher of constitutional law, this community organizer, this respected author, this Senator from Illinois.

I see him standing there, vowing to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

I see him standing there, now with the accomplished, eloquent  Michelle,

Their two young daughters sparkling by their side.

I see this American family whom we have made our own.

I see him step to the podium, looking out over the gathered throng of his fellow citizens.

I hear him, his voice sure and strong, with the cadence of King,

His words soaring over our Capitol, our country, our world.

“. . .  So, now, let us begin a new chapter in our country’s history.

Together, young and old, black and white, Native Americans, Hispanic and Asian Americans, Arab Americans,  Americans from every region of our country–together, let us  work to redeem and renew the promise of America for all of our citizens, let us  help heal the wounds of the peoples of the world, and let us lead the sacred effort to repair and preserve our precious planet.

There will be times when our mission will seem too difficult; at times, impossible.   There will be struggle, set-backs, and sacrifice.  But keeping our faith in one another and in the good we pursue, we will overcome the obstacles that lie ahead.

Together, we cannot fail.

Let us begin.”

I see a hopeful America on this bright Winter day in the year 2009 seeing and hearing her new President.

I see those struggling against discrimination, poverty, and fear here in America and around the world

Seeing and hearing him.

I see the young men and women of America, in love again with the possibility of America and their place in that America,

Seeing and hearing him.

I see black American girls and boys, bursting with pride and renewed purpose,

Seeing and hearing him.

I see all of us who have been heart-sick and outraged at the damage done to our

country and the world during the last eight years

Seeing and hearing him.

I see a young Muslim boy, a student in a Saudi Arabian madrasa,

Seeing and hearing him.

I see all and each of these and more, so many more,  seeing and hearing

Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America.

And I see the possibility of a new beginning.

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

WE ARE THE ONES WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR

And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and
if necessary
even under the sea.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Poem for South African Women
June Jordan (1)

WE ARE THE ONES WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR

We are the ones, young men and women of America,
Longing to believe again in the goodness of America
And eager to contribute to a renewed America.

We are the ones, Republicans, Democrats, Independents,
Americans all, outraged at the assaults on our liberties,
Our values, our Constitution by the Bush-Cheney administration.

We are the ones, Americans of every race, color, creed,
Who no longer will be pitted against each other
For the politician’s gain, our country’s loss, and our own detriment.

We are the ones, Americans, fortunate in our wealth and comfort,
Wanting to give for the welfare of those Americans less fortunate,
Believing in the worth and righteousness of the Common Good.

We are the ones, Americans of all political parties and persuasions,
Who can see past our legitimate and strongly-held policy differences,
To a way of honorable compromise for solutions to our country’s problems.

We are the ones, Americans who will redeem the promise of America
For all of our citizens, the young, the old, the disenfranchised, the poor,
And for those who yearn to become part of us, our immigrants.

We are the ones,

Americans who wish to be a force for peace and goodwill among nations,
Rather than a nihilistic agent of death, destruction, and chaos.

Americans who wish to promote understanding and respect between peoples
Rather than distrust, hate, fear, and conflict.

Americans who wish to help alleviate the suffering of the peoples of the world,
Who see all children as our children, all women as sisters, all men as brothers.

Americans who understand that we are all one people of our planet Earth.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Mary O’Leary McGlinn

(1) From Passion:New Poems, 1977-80 by June Jordan

 

 

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