Now We Belong

I was reminded this past week of these words written by Minneapolis poet Michael Dennis Browne.  Browne immigrated to the United States from England 51 years ago; the poem is a tribute of gratitude.

Here are the voices of every creature,
Here are the calls of every heart;
Here is the place of strangers’ welcome,
We who once walked in strangers’ shoes.
Once we were strangers,
We were welcomed,
Now we belong and believe in this land.
Here are the rivers of many echoes,
Here are the leaves of every tree;
Within us live the long horizons,
Winds that stir the sacred stones.
Once we were strangers,
We were welcomed,
Now we belong and believe in this land.
Keep faith, keep watch,
Take heart, take courage,
Guard mind, guard spirit,
Feed love, feed longing.
Here are the cities where we have gathered,
Here are the barns where hope is stored;
We are the gleams of every being,
Filled with the dreams that build the day.
Once we were strangers,
We were welcomed,
Now we belong and believe in this land.
Keep faith,
Guard mind,
Take heart,
Guard spirit,
Take courage,
Keep watch.
Feed longing,
Feed love.

Browne wrote about his poem,  “I wanted to suggest America is great because it is full of diverse people and it just kind of flowed out, didn’t take much effort to write because I was speaking from the heart…In this very difficult time I hope this will cheer people a little, give them some hope, because underpinning all the bad stuff is a deep love for what we’ve done here.”

If you found the words familiar, it might be because they were set to music and performed as part of this year’s presidential inauguration.

Keep faith…Take heart….Feed love.

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