Stardust and Centuries

[youtube height=“315” width=“560”][/youtube]Stardust and Centuries(Written in honor of Take The Lead’s Challenge Launch 2/19/14)

We listen for so long in our lives, until one day We push back our chairs and stand to speak.

As things turn out, as a man,I am half woman on my mother’s side.I am as well all the womenBefore her, the women who were me before me—My grandmothers, and their mothers—We are all women, and finally we are allMen, but more than that, we areWhat the best of us does.Today, let us all count ourselves worthy,Let us number ourselves as so manyStanding, not sitting, courage-filled and readyTo move onto a firm ground of forward,To speak our minds every timeOur voices need to be heard.We are made of stardust and centuries,Of gills and wings both.We fly and we swim and we think.We move through, over and around the fierceHorde of real and imaginary animals that stop us.We are big world-solvers and little-thread pullers,Partners to immense ideas quietly built onThe love we had for the smell of clay in second grade.We fly and we swim and we think—and we lead.We do it all. We always have.—Alberto Ríos, Poet Laureate of ArizonaArizona State University, Regents’ ProfessorBoard of Chancellors, Academy of American Poets