"Praise Song for the Day"
by Lisa Fichthorn-Scumpieru
| 5 Questions
Note from the author:
This explored the poem "Praise Song for the Day" and helps students to explore the poem and make their own poem or song at the end of the formative.
What type of work do women and men do in this community in the 21st century? Make a brief list. We will share out in a minute. (TEACHER: You could make embed a Today's Meet or Padlet here)
Read "Praise Song for the Day" independently at first. While you read, type words and lines in the box below that stand out to you.

Praise Song for the Day

A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other’s eyes or not, about to speak or speaking. All about us is noise. All about us is noise and bramble, thorn and din, each one of our ancestors on our tongues. Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair. Someone is trying to make music somewhere, with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice. A woman and her son wait for the bus. A farmer considers the changing sky. A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin. We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed, words to consider, reconsider. We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of some one and then others, who said I need to see what’s on the other side. I know there’s something better down the road. We need to find a place where we are safe. We walk into that which we cannot yet see. Say it plain: that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of. Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day. Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables. Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself, others by first do no harm or take no more than you need. What if the mightiest word is love? Love beyond marital, filial, national, love that casts a widening pool of light, love with no need to pre-empt grievance. In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air, any thing can be made, any sentence begun. On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp, praise song for walking forward in that light.
Type the words and lines that stand out to you in the above poem. How do you think some of these words would be said? Explain next to the words. (Note: You do not have to do all)
Now, listen to how Elizabeth Alexander reads her poem. What was the same and what was different?

How did she pronounce some of the words and phrases? What facial expressions did she make? Did her reading change how you first read it?
Create your own work song that is true of the 21st century for the job as well as the music of the times. Place your draft below.
Bonus: Go to Flipgrid (TEACHER: You can embed the grid below) and share your song and how it should sound. You may choose a beat or instrumental to play in the background to accompany your lyrics. The camera does not have to face you. When finished, write below why you chose certain words and phrases. What was intentional in your writing and what tone where you aiming to achieve through the lyrics? Explain.
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