By Christina Davis
The love of each of us
for some of us,
of some of us
for all of us—
and what would come if it were
welcome, if learning were
to prepare “a self with which to
whose very being gives
a discrepancy. School of our just
beginning to think
about this, I believe
the seats will be peopled.
About This Poem
“The idea that emerged through the poem was that each generation enlarges what we as a people are capable of receiving, that the amendments to the Constitution recognize an increase in what we constitute. Though each generation confronts a new concept of what is strange, the task remains the same: when I look back on the progress of America (and other nations and peoples) it takes the form of this incremental admission, and when I consider future progress it is likewise this reception of the heretofore strange.
The original version of the poem had the word ‘education,’ but I changed it to ‘learning’ because learning is continuous throughout our lifetime and I did not want to limit this progress to the young.
I’d also been thinking of poetry itself, both the struggle of poems to integrate and include and also the way in which poetry is often called ‘inaccessible.’ Whereas I would suggest that the limitation has to do with its reception: it is treated as the ‘inadmissible,’ not what won’t let us in, but what we refuse to allow too near. Imagine what would come if it were welcome?”
Christina Davis is the author of An Ethic (Nightboat Books, 2013). She is the Curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University and lives in Cambridge