I Hear America Singing (Ode to Whitman)

I can hear America singing.
I hear the repetitious clicking of the computer as a tired worker types into the dark hours of the night
I hear the monotonous, dull tap of the thumb as a girl scrolls through the daily feed straining for some dab of interest
I see the veering eyes of people as a young woman with a hijab walks through the airport terminal
I feel the uncomfortable shifts and diverted glances as people walk past the begging, worn out man on the street corner
I hear the sighs of migrant farm workers as they breathe in the pesticides and cringe with chronic pain from bending for 10 hours
I hear the dying fight of too many as hope withers and the dream seems further away
I feel the yearning desire to join as one with a nation that seems to shrug away like the millions of people who lazily turn their cheeks to those in need of a home, an open community
But I also hear America’s music
The song of the joy from the lucky ones, the proof that hope is alive and well
I hear the hum of the diverse language on the bus ride home,
I am in a new world, a new time
I smell the cultural melting pot walking through the streets and breathing it all in
I hear the free cries of justice and opinion through the computer screen of a passionate student’s blog he types every night
I see the pride and radiating beauty of a woman embracing her culture while coexisting with the new America
Instead of being stared down for her religion, she is admired from afar
I see the compassion and desire as a student nervously sits down for a meal in the soup kitchen with a homeless man
Together, no longer through a separating wall, he can share his stories and shorten the gap that divides the pedestrian from the “untouchable”
I rejoice in the fulfillment as the immigrants see their daughter grow into what she wants and chooses her own path in life, paving it off her parents sweat and ambition
I see the pain. I see the disappointment. I see the struggle and I see the joy
I see the beauty as the two coincide as one nation united

Natalie Ruxton ’17

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