Poet LR Berger cited Tom Chandler’s “For David Cicilline” at the 2010 Ikeda Forum, “This Noble Experiment: Developing the Democratic Spirit.” Chandler is poet laureate emeritus of Rhode Island. This was composed as the inaugural poem for the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, January 2002.
For David Cicilline
Who would’ve thought that hope still has wings?
We’ve been told by the television that hope is a broken tower
a broken airplane, the echoes of thousands of lost broken voices.
We’ve been told that hope is a tunnel now,
a hole of scumbled mud,
something we must crawl through on our knees.
We’ve been told by bloody headlines
that we’re supposed to spend our lives as anxious shadows
and lock our doors and unlock our luggage and lock our hearts
and unlock our guns and lock our words, and lock our words.
And who would’ve thought on such a pale, shaken planet
that hope is still a bird with long strong wings
that rests its flight on the tips of buildings
and calls its name out over everything that’s genuine and fair
and honest and fresh and rising up into a morning sky.
It took us all our lives to stand here at last
on the brink of the present, this tiny chip
of time we are sharing right now.
After all we’ve been through and before all that’s just about to happen,
who would’ve thought that hope still has wings?
Reprinted with permission of the author