The Hill We Climb
Amanda Gorman 1998 (California)
When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We braved the belly of the beast.
We've learned that quiet isn't always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn't always justice. And yet the dawn is hours before we knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time, where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn't mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man. And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first. We must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true, that even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried. That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious, not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won't lighten the blade but in all the bridges we've made, that is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare, it's because being American is more than a pride we inherit. It's the past we stepped into and how we repair it.
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith, we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption. We feared -- at its deception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So, while once we asked, “how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?”, now we assert, “how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?” We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation.
Because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain. If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change, our children's birth right.
So let us leave behind a country better than one we were left with, every breath from my bronze pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise through the gold-limbed hills in the west, we will rise from the windswept northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover, in every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it for there is always light if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it.
About this poem
Amanda Gorman’s poem "The Hill We Climb" is a powerful call to action and a celebration of the unifying power of hope. The poem is a reminder of the power of collective action and of the importance of working together to create change. The poem begins with a description of a dark and tumultuous present. Gorman juxtaposes this with an optimistic message of hope, emphasizing the power of coming together and working towards a brighter future. She emphasizes the importance of each individual’s contribution, in spite of the obstacles they may face.
The poem is written in free verse and is organized into three stanzas, each with its own distinct message. The first stanza paints a vivid picture of the present, emphasizing the darkness and chaos that many are currently facing. Gorman uses vivid imagery and powerful language to describe the current state of the world, such as “bloodied sky” and “nations divided.” This stanza serves to highlight the current difficulties and serves as a reminder of the work that needs to be done.
The second stanza is a call to action, emphasizing the importance of collective action in overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of progress. Gorman uses imagery of a hill that must be climbed to emphasize the difficulty of the task ahead. She encourages readers to work together, emphasizing that each individual has something to contribute in the journey towards progress.
The final stanza is a celebration of the power of hope, emphasizing the importance of coming together to create change. Gorman uses imagery of a sun rising to convey her message of optimism and to remind readers that brighter days are ahead. She emphasizes the power of collective action and of the importance of each individual in achieving progress.
Overall, Gorman’s poem "The Hill We Climb" is a powerful call to action and a reminder of the power of collective action. Through vivid imagery and powerful language, Gorman emphasizes the importance of coming together and working towards a brighter future. The poem is a celebration of the power of hope and serves as a reminder of the importance of each individual in achieving progress. more »
Submitted on January 18, 2021
Modified by acronimous on February 16, 2023
- 3:47 min read
- 109,744 Views
|Scheme||X X A X X A B C X X X A X X X B C|
|Stanza Lengths||1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1|
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Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:
"The Hill We Climb" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 4 Jun 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/60572/the-hill-we-climb>.
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