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The Hill We Climb

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.
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Submitted on January 18, 2021

Modified by rinat

3:38 min read

Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman is an American poet and activist from Los Angeles, California. Gorman's work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. Gorman is the first person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate. Her poem “The Hill We Climb" was recited at the Joe Biden’s 2021 US presidential inauguration. more…

All Amanda Gorman poems | Amanda Gorman Books

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Discuss this Amanda Gorman poem with the community:


  • Matthew_Love
    I enjoyed the poem. It is moving and inspirational. I wish she would not have referenced the J6 incident in the poem. The poem is stronger than politics. If your poems are only for certain kinds of people than count me out. If a white man cannot translate your poems. Count me out. If you think power has one gender or race than count me out. If your poem understands the plight and destruction of all Americans than count me in. 
    LikeReplyReport 14 months ago
  • student_m
    it is so beautifully written.
    LikeReplyReport 21 year ago
  • chyerel_c
    That got it ! It said it all . Now thats a true patriot . All else is a fraud .
    LikeReplyReport 21 year ago
  • Brasko
    This poem is so beautiful - it touched us deeply. It was so beautifully recited
    LikeReplyReport 31 year ago
  • MEKilpatrick
    We just heard an angel from Los Angelos - Amanda Gorman!
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
  • omara.64336
    The poem is beautiful. Maintains impeccable rhythm and harmony. Perhaps my comment that I was naive was not due to the issue of hope, such as making an equivalence between democracy and elements of immanent order such as faith. Definitely a cute poem. 
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
  • stephens.65241
    This poem by Amanda Gorman is one of greatness, that rivals the most inspirational speeches that have stirred me in my 78 years. I cannot think of a time in recent years that I wanted to be a member of this "club" called the human race until hearing her words today. I will have to remove my license plate frame that says "Beam me up Scotty" and replace it with "I am proud to be one of you, Amanda Gorman." 
    LikeReplyReport 101 year ago
  • myrna_s
    The poem was Beautiful, Hopeful and Moving.
    LikeReplyReport 51 year ago
  • mariem.64850
    Beautiful Poem !! Your Family and I are Proud of you !! ⚘⚘
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
  • sues.65161
    Such a beautiful poem. Such a beautiful young lady. Thank you, Amanda!
    LikeReplyReport 51 year ago
  • rebeccaw.65098
    Powerful and inspirational message of hope
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
  • jabez_s
    Is this the worse poem in history? McGonagall eat your heart out.
    LikeReplyReport1 year ago
  • KrisG
    Outstanding young woman & message! You were heard today!!
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
  • Joyegg
    I am moved by your words. Look forward to rereading this piece as presented at President Biden’s swearing in.
    LikeReplyReport 41 year ago
  • omara.64336
    This poem is Too naive.
    LikeReplyReport 21 year ago
    • Adtowns
      so was The Dream Speech. You continue to strive. A work in progress.
      LikeReplyReport 51 year ago
    • 434343GGG
      I don’t think it’s naive to be hopeful and to believe that we can be better. What part(s) do you think are naive and why? It’s not helpful to just issue an opinion without explanation.
      LikeReplyReport 31 year ago
    • omara.64336
      You're right. My opinion is perhaps due to thinking that words, s in poetry, should suspend language, make it a contemplation in itself. Amanda's poem is beautiful, its rhythmicity shows a wonderful sensitivity. Only when he talks about democracy, it seems naive to me that he makes sense of it by appealing to an analogy with something hagiographic such as faith. But it doesn't detract from its pretty message. 
      LikeReplyReport1 year ago
    • Babshearth
      she is after all, 22. Naïveté is the core of dreams.
      LikeReplyReport 21 year ago
    • benb.67163
      If hope is naïve, how would you recommend we proceed without it?
      LikeReplyReport 31 year ago
  • sierral.64031
    I was moved after listening to the poem during the inauguration.
    LikeReplyReport 191 year ago
  • chayamsu
    even the title of the poem "the hill we climb" seems to be the doorway to oneness. besides, the whole poem gives the feeling of protest against the foes who try to shatter the unity of a nation not only to the americans but to the people of whole nations of the world. great my dear youngest friend amanda gorden. Iet the wisdom come to us from the surroundings. 
    LikeReplyReport 171 year ago


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"The Hill We Climb" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 26 Jun 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/60572/the-hill-we-climb>.

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