When, where, and who are we?
The experts disagree.
You’ll find them in old libraries
Measuring us against
They measure the shadows
To remind us what light should be,
To tell us where and when we are,
If not when we’ll be free.
Now, if you listen to the experts,
you’ll find that they all say
“that a shadow’s length is height
over tan of angle A”
And that the sun—
Barring unusual disarray,
yes, the usual polling error—
Has a chance, a real
“if not insurmountable,”
Nate Silver’s quick to say,
Chance of rising, oh yes rising,
At last, on election day.
When darkness overwhelms you—
When wolves devour the sun—
When it seems the world is over—
Before the year’s begun—
When the home fire’s left unburning—
When your lantern’s out of oil—
When the stars no longer guide you,
When ice holds fast the soil—
When the blue moon laughs pitilessly
Down from its place on high—
When fire devours the ancient trees—
And under mistletoe, all die—
Then remember your ancestors,
The long nights that came before.
Remember this is not our first winter,
But one among so many more.
Remember the gods and heroes
Who’ve kept hope burning bright,
Call on Lakshmi, Christ, and Stanislav,
To summon back the light.
But remember that champions alone
cannot keep the dark at bay.
It’s hope that summons back the light,
That brings a better day.
“But that’s just solipsism,” you say.
“Baseless optimism. Don’t experts disagree?
“What is hope, I ask you,
But well-branded passivity?”
Look, pal—it takes more than polling data
To keep Níðhöggr from the tree.
We need the blood of patriots
To resurrect our Lady Liberty.
It took more than facts and figures
To raise Balder from the dead.
Whether you’re a Mayan or a Democrat,
You sacrifice, instead.
Sure, the sun may rise without it—
Sure, the moral arc may bend—
But if we want a trend toward justice,
We’ve all got hands to lend.
In an unusual consensus,
The experts all agree—
“Hope does spring eternal
From a well of gravity.
And the length of a shadow
May tell us who we are
But it can’t predict the heights we’ll reach
Beneath that rising star.”
So join me in rebuking darkness,
In calling back the light.
And perhaps the sun will rise again
After this endless winter’s night.