Alberto Ríos


Inaugural Poem: In Us This Day

7 January 2003




In Us This Day


             On the Occasion of the Inauguration of Janet Napolitano
             Governor of the State of Arizona


Speak to the animal in us
                                     And the animal will answer.
                                     Speak to the human in us
                                     And a voice in song will rise.

Sometimes, we are brutal and dark green.
We are the fishhook thorns on the wild cactus.
But sometimes as well, we are the sky itself,
That great blue living room filled with endless space
In every direction there is to see.  We are,
As things turn out, the answer and the problem both.
Every day we must choose our suit of clothes.

All of Arizona stands here today.
Today, we inaugurate ourselves.
Today, everything is possible.
Every vote is filled after all with a dream.
But onward, now, to the work of the dream,
To the work and its complex surprises:
We are so many, and our problems so great
They insist themselves in front of our joys.
But joy is our greater truth, our common destination.

We are in a border time,
The border between countries, between centuries,
The border between yesterday and tomorrow,
What we have been and what we are going to be.
We are a state of many languages, many cultures.
We must translate this into a state with many ideas.
Let us choose the best from this treasury of dreams.
Let us create a future
We would want to speak in any language.
We should not try to predict the future—
Instead, let us make it, and let us make it our own.



©2003 Alberto Ríos

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