Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Inauguration Day

in Politics/U.S. by

Isn’t today a good day to read
Frost’s “West-Running Brook”
again? To think of marriage
as the maple and pine braiding

themselves together over time.
In his poem’s case, a husband
and wife arguing, as to which way
the brook flows, east or west,

north or south. And who makes
the better argument, before
going to bed. Shutting off
the bedside light. Before saying

goodnight without having to
claim a permanent winner.
Something, to hold against
each other. Water being

what it is and how the stones
are lying. Whether
it’s been bone dry or wet
enough for flooding.

Whether we still have a country.
Which I’d like to say to Frost
(who liked to say he wasn’t reading
his poems to an audience, just

saying them) Robert, today
could be the day we braided
our states together again.
Our states of being.

As you had your poem’s husband
say to end the burbling fighting
with his wife (although when you
read the poem out loud, it sounds

like they were talking and not raising
their voices too much).
Has him say,
“This is the day of what we both said”.

Which seems like a good line
for our new president-elect to end
his speech on. On Inauguration Day.
At the podium. One hand raised.

One on his family’s bible.
With few of us around on the Mall,
standing masked-up, outside the ropes.
Knowing what we know about the care

we have to take. Until the day comes
again, we can stand outside arguing,
my love, if that branching braid is more
pine than maple.



Gary Margolis is Emeritus Executive Director of College Mental Health Services at Middlebury College. His third book, “Fire in the Orchard” was nominated for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize Poetry. His latest book “Time Inside” is recently published.


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