• Vilma Ginzberg

Inauguration Day 2021

As another inauguration day approaches, I am reminded of three previous elections that brought forth poems: Carter in 1978, Obama in 2008, and Trump in 2016. They follow.

Inauguration Day 1-20-1977

snapping on the switch of the space window

in my living room

I connect myself to this national family reunion

for our ritual dose of mass intimacy

we have come together

our millions-fold family networked electronically

our old feuds clothed by protocol

our manners Sunday-dressed

to commemorate again

our leap-year-triggered rituals of dying and rebirth

inauguration day

the band-marched hymns

wrap me unexpectedly

in neolithic warmths and soft ancient safeties

these rehearsed ceremonies

I have in my yesterdays derided

move me strangely now

I am part of the rites

I am in all our presence

and I weep

reluctance giving way to pride

a prodigal daughter returning home

the escaped tear reminding me

how tightly I am tied to the hope embedded

in these family rituals

“I solemnly swear…”

I weep for our unending faith

miraculously renewing

despite its earthbound destiny

“…the duties of the office…”

I weep for our innocent courage

straining to hold up the universe

despite our youthful frailty

I hear you saying, peanut farmer pacifist,

that you are us, we are you,

and my pride runneth over

I hear you reciting paradoxes of our existence

and pray you know their truth

and my hope runneth over

I hear you making promises

I yearn to believe

and my faith runneth over

this is the starched-and-clean time

to escape [for all too brief a moment]

the garbage cans of our daily lives

this is the necessary dream-time

to fill again our wishing wells

for the drought-times of our tomorrows

in this sacred time

I join in the family farewells sabbatically forgiving

I enter into our willing welcomes

to new blossoms promising

for we are once again Camelot

believing in the eternity of the fragile

though we too shall pass

leaving in our wake

the whispered fragrance

of a one-time flower

Inauguration Day 2009

just as my neighbor’s towering tulip tree

stretching over the aging fence

that connects us and separates us

fills my winter-weary eyes with wonder

catches my aging heart’s breath

so your youthful yearning

for a new tomorrow

arcs its blossom-filled promises

across our sagging barriers

sending its silent scent

onto the winter-jaded garden

of my patriot dreams



oh please

the flutter of butterfly wings

on my bleeding hearts

my forget-me-nots

hand on the bible

he puts his hand

the one he bragged

could grab any woman’s crotch

because he is

a star

he puts that hand

on the same Bible

Lincoln’s work-roughened hand


the same Bible

Obama’s palm

gently laid on

he puts that vile hand

on that sacred Bible

and I am coiled to my core

by nausea

© Vilma Ginzberg, 1-20-2021

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