Poem by Richard Blanco

By UM News

Poem by Richard Blanco

By UM News
Poet and essayist Richard Blanco inspires graduates at the May 10 Commencement ceremony with a poem written just for them, Teach Us, Then. Read the poem below the video.


Teach Us, Then - By Richard Blanco

We taught you: how to unravel the spin of our galaxy and unwind  the spirals of our DNA; how to spy  on the invisible  splitting  of atoms and the bloom of our dividing cells; how to listen to the footsteps of our history marching through all the firestorms and tearstains of our wars. 

We taught you how to savor all the colors of a painting, taste our insatiable desire to render the beauty of our pain, and pain of our beauty; how to appreciate the art of algebra, and the algebra of art; how to  dance with a poem, let it lead you though the rhythms of your life with all  its beats of joy and pauses  of sorrow. 

We taught you: how to stare into the mirror of the moon and trust the light shimmering in your eyes. How to decipher the creases of your palms and the wrinkles of mountains; how to listen to the truth of your thoughts as certain as the will of roaring waves. 

We taught you how to teach yourselves, hoping someday you will teach us all that we couldn’t teach you. Teach us, then: today, tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

Teach us: how to remap the world without borders that cage people in the colors of their countries without enough, though there is enough for all of us; how to melt our bullets into bells, let them ring a resounding end to the subject of blood in our classrooms.

Teach us: how to beseech all the life we’ve named, studied, and endangered: bless the pandas’ pantomime, bless the tigers’ stalking eyes, bless the wails of our blue whales; how to make peace with them, with each other, and with the earth so that we may not become as endangered as we are estranged from one another.

Teach us: how to stop thinking of ourselves as red and blue states shouting at each other; how to look instead into each other’s eyes this morning, and tomorrow morning, and every morning, and see not what we are, but who we are.

Teach us: how to say: I see you (not because you’re a man or a woman or anything in-between); how to    say: I see you (not because you’re black or white or anything in-between); how to say: I see you (not because you’re straight or gay or anything in-between).

Teach us, then: how to see each other, how to love, how to reach the stars, together.