She rose up and she stood up
And she said, “Listen here”
And she was our grandmothers
And mothers through the years
This was the lesson they all had tried
To teach us to take in our stride:
To rise up and stand up
To rise up and stand up.
Treat us with dignity
We are your women and girls
Treat us as equals
We are your diamonds and pearls
Treat us with respect
We are your soulmates and loves
Treat us as partners
When push comes to shove
Give us our due
As we return it to you
Rise up and stand up
Speak up and give a hand up ~
Enough is enough
Enough is enough, through and through
As a child, a refugee child,
My Mama taught me Caution.
Run from the marauders of the streets,
Especially those carrying guns
Beyond their natural height.
Run from machete wielding persona.
Run from The Toothless Angered,
They’re mastered by the powers du jour.
Run for dear life.
If speed is of essence,
Drop your school books upon the dusty path,
Make it home,
To your Mama’s anxious arms.
Pray you do,
And live another hour
As a child, an American child,
The ghosts of yonder history hovered.
Waiting their turn to fully manifest,
My Mama taught me,
Before I was double digits,
To be cautious out there.
The marauders, the ghosts, the egregious,
The Toothless Angered
Will menace my being.
Don’t run for dear life.
Learn to stay still
There is nowhere to run.
Nowhere to stay still,
Except in shocked death.
No school books dropped on a dusty road,
They lay stained in unrequited blood along the school hallway.
Bullet strewn sidewalks splatter my paths.
The Toothless Angered
Are again mastered,
The daily Puppets of Avarice
Sanctuary is a scarcity in my universe
While The Toothless Angered,
With ample, unjustified impunity,
Continue to menace my being.
Pray I make it home Today, and all Tomorrows,
To my Mama’s anxious arms,
So I can hug her.
And just once, of many more, say
I love you Always
The ones who were afraid in Baton Rouge
Were the ones carrying the “red sticks”
Not the warrior queen who visited from the north
On behalf of her five-year old son
So she might invest in
His having a better life.
A better life
Than the sons of other mothers
She had gone there to mourn with
And stand proudly for.
She repelled the “red sticks”
Who were few in number
But seemed to grow into
A wall before her
As she stood her ground
Quietly in front of them.
She was a nurse who cared for others
Who said she was now “a vessel”
Doing God’s work.
The young queen arrived in regal garb
Regal in that it adorned her presence
Regal in that it could almost be said
To adorn ours.
She dressed for the moment
So that – standing in the hot sun
Of righteousness and pride –
She could feel as though
She were floating
In God’s air
In Baton Rouge.
The “red sticks” took her away
Took her away from her son
Took her away from her duties
Took her away from the cameras
And the tributes.
But the imprint she left
In the hearts and minds and souls
Of all of us
As though someone had gone out
And built a statue
Of a modern-day goddess
In every town in America.
The young queen
In the flowing garb
With diamonds in her closed eyes
With grief in her open heart
Sharing the secret:
How to be a woman
How to be a mother
How to be the vessel
How to show us the way
To Baton Rouge.
She stood silently on the gravel
She never spoke
But when we close our eyes
We can almost hear her say
“Ain’t I a woman?”
So that someday her son may say
“I am a man.”
He hugged the grandmother,
and mom and dad,
tears in his eyes
that he couldn’t let them see.
Looked over his shoulder
to remember their faces
set in time.
This time in his life
he would only understand
Honor and bravery
and, yes, to be a man
were why he signed up early,
why he went off
why he missed a bit of his youth
and journeyed to a far-off
he had never
heard much about
when he was younger.
The in-between years
are not forgot
They enter in dreams
and memories he sometimes wished
he didn’t have.
He knows he’s not alone
in the recollections
yet only a small amount of comfort
has come from that,
has ever come from that.
It is what it is,
It is what it is.
But now in the prime
of his older years
he wears a ballcap with the
name of his service on it
and the name of his war.
He remembers the conflict
and when he
remembers the grandmother
remembers mom and dad
he feels the honor
he thinks he brought them.
The sting of yesterday’s tears
in his crinkly eyes come from
the love of country
the esprit de corps ~
the brothers and comrades
he left behind or
still meets for coffee
on a Wednesday morning
in his hometown.
And when he and his brothers
talk over coffee
about the “free lunch” for veterans
they’re serving at the
VFW, in a few hours,
he turns to them
(those who, like he,
paid ahead such a high price
for that “free lunch” years ago)
“We should support that
for the new vets
who might really need it.”
Dr. Jill Biden comforts Vice President Joe Biden during a viewing for their son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden at Legislative Hall in Dover, Delaware. Standing with Dr. Biden are Beau Biden’s widow, Hallie, and granddaughter Natalie
An honor guard carries the casket containing the remains of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden
Vice President Joe Biden comforts Beau Biden’s wife, Hallie Biden
Vice President Joe Biden comforts his granddaughter Natalie
Vice President Joe Biden lays his hand on his son’s casket
And when I shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
Statement from Vice President Joe Biden
It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life. The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words. We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.
Beau’s life was defined by service to others. As a young lawyer, he worked to establish the rule of law in war-torn Kosovo. A major in the Delaware National Guard, he was an Iraq War veteran and was awarded the Bronze Star. As Delaware’s Attorney General, he fought for the powerless and made it his mission to protect children from abuse.
More than his professional accomplishments, Beau measured himself as a husband, father, son and brother. His absolute honor made him a role model for our family. Beau embodied my father’s saying that a parent knows success when his child turns out better than he did.
In the words of the Biden family: Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known.
If tears could build a stairway
and thoughts a memory lane
VP Joe would walk right up to heaven
and bring you home again
You were gone before they knew it
And only God knows why.
You were the best of all of them
And the twinkle in your families eye
With heart’s still active in sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you
No one can ever know.
And now they know you’d want them
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has so much in store.
Since you’ll never be forgotten
Your family pledges today
A hallowed place within their hearts
Is where you’ll always stay.
If you would like to leave some words of condolences for the Biden family, the White House has graciously provided a way to do so here
I went back and found some notes I wrote to a friend when I saw Beau Biden and Kamala Harris give a talk on gun reform in July 2013. I want to share them with you because the overwhelming feeling I got from him was that he was such a great human being:
The first thing that comes to your mind when you see Beau Biden is how much he looks like his father. I mean, really, really looks like his father, and with some of the same mannerisms. Then you listen to him speak and what comes across is just how smart, compassionate and dedicated he is when he talks about his work and his family. He talked about his Dad a lot.
He and Kamala are long-time friends and they spoke about the challenge of working on common sense gun reform. Beau talked about his experience with this issue in particular as AG for Delaware. He spoke for about 20 minutes or so and then took questions for at least another hour. He was very, very generous with his time and did his best to address questions that were very challenging. Kamala Harris is also gorgeous and crazy smart. She projects strength and courage in so many, many ways, I’m just thrilled that she is my AG. SO, these are two very distinguished rising stars in our party and we should be very proud of them. I want to encourage all of us to keep track and support them both in any way we can.
After the event I walked up to him just to thank him. I waited patiently as he was mobbed with people wanting to give him their card and introduce themselves and have a photo taken. Then Christine Pelosi walked up next to me and when Beau was free, I told her to go ahead and get in there and meet him. He was very glad to meet her and they talked for a few minutes about the work she’s doing now and some of the stuff that’s happening now with PBO and VPB on gun reform. They both talked about how much they loved PBO’s remarks on Trayvon in the WH briefing room and Beau said he thought PBO should do more of that because he’s so good at it. Then when the moment came, he turned toward me and I shook his hand and thanked him for his service and just said I want to wish him the best in this very tough fight. He was soooooo sweet and thanked me. I told him I love his father very much and he seemed very touched by that. He looked at me and said, you know, my father is really, in real life, really a very nice man, a very good man. I said, I know! That is why I love him! And your mother, too. He said, yes, my mother, too. I thanked all three of them for their service to our nation. He seemed very sincerely touched by that. He said he’s going to need a lot of help when the legislature looks at his gun reform bill again in Delaware in January and I said if I can help, I will. He smiled and thanked me and said, please stay in touch with me. Please join my Facebook page. I smiled and said, OK.
Honestly, Beau is just a very warm, honest man and one of the most sincere guys you’ll ever meet. Just a wonderful man. And again, OMG, just very, very handsome in person, incredibly fit. Anyway, I so wish you could have been there with me. It was very, very special. My admiration for them both for taking on this incredibly important issue is truly boundless.
I’m know that VP Joe must be inconsolable. I cannot imagine losing a son, losing such a bright star. I hope in the days to come he will find a measure of comfort from the outpouring of love and respect the world over. He and Jill are so beloved.
The world remembers a beautiful soul
An honest man here lies at rest,
The friend of man, the friend of truth,
The friend of age, and guide of youth:
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,
Few heads with knowledge so inform’d;
If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
Beau Biden made every life he touched better. Please hold his family in your hearts.
I will wait for you…
Though we never had a chance to say goodbye,
When winter snows are falling through a quiet sky
I’ll remember you
When, in our darkest hour,
You held my hand and prayed I wouldn’t go,
But a silent voice called out to me;
My time had come, and I had to travel Home…
Since then, I know your life has never been the same,
For I visit you each day:
So many times I’ve felt your pain:
I’ve watched you cry:
And I’ve heard you call my name…
But now, further along life’s road I stand
In a timeless world, just beyond your sight,
Waiting for the day when I can take your hand and bring you across
to this land of Golden Light…
Till then, remember me, you understand-and try not to cry.
But if you do:
Let your tears fall
For the happiness and joy we knew,
And for the special love we shared,
For love can never die.
Don’t cry for me now I have died, for I’m still here I’m by your side,
My body’s gone but my soul’s is here, please don’t shed another tear,
I am still here I’m all around, only my body lies in the ground.
I am the snowflake that kisses your nose,
I am the frost, that nips your toes.
I am the sun ,bringing you light,
I am the star, shining so bright.
I am the rain, refreshing the earth,
I am the laughter, I am the mirth.
I am the bird, up in the sky,
I am the cloud, that’s drifting by.
I am the thoughts, inside your head,
While I’m still there, I can’t be dead.
Heartbroken at Beau Biden's passing. Every time I saw him he was gracious, kind, & true. In short: He was a Biden. http://t.co/K3U44yQrn0
President Barack Obama greets poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander during an event in the State Dining Room at the White House. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the event in celebration of National Poetry Month
First Lady Michelle Obama attends an event in celebration of National Poetry Month
Poet laureate Elizabeth Alexander gives a poetry reading in the State Dining Room of the White House
"Every vet...should know that there are places like this that feel like home." —The First Lady on #Vet Centers: http://t.co/rwSacyUmb3
We celebrate his singular life each time we
think of his good works
and the hope and change he brought.
We commemorate his birth in January.
We visit his memorial on the mall
We tell his remarkable story
to the little children of today.
We’d rather leave the marking of the date
he was assassinated in Memphis
to the history books.
But all of it is what we were given
and what he was given.
And, this year, as we recall it was
forty-seven years ago on April 4
that his “four little children”
lost him …
Let us not forget about them
as we rejoice that he belonged to the world
for as long as he did
as we examine the “content of his character”
around the globe, as long as we all still do.
In our minds, we will remember him
and that our voices must keep
challenging the injustices
as we keep yearning for equality for all.
Robert Kennedy suggested
we dedicate ourselves
to what the Greeks had written
many years before:
“To tame the savageness of man and
make gentle the life of this world.”
A man named Barack Obama,
also in our hearts,
became our President,
surely has dedicated himself to
“taming the savageness of man”
throughout the world
and to a “more perfect union”
here at home.
This year, no matter our religious beliefs
it seems quite fitting somehow,
if only for the history books,
that the date we recall sits between
Good Friday and Passover and Easter
while prayers from other faiths are also
around the clock,
all over the globe,
in the interests of the human race.
Dr. King, always in our hearts.
Hope and change, always on the horizon,
to “make gentle the life of this world.”