“Steel spears through vapor,
The tower tapered like a child’s pencil.
This, a peak of progress and potential,
Built when the Big Apple had to grapple
With the Great Depression.
But in that time of dire stakes,
This Empire State still desired
To scrape the sky.
And when the cloud-high building glows,
It shows, in all its concrete and steel,
That a reeling country can still heal,
Can seek an ideal of opportunity
And unbroken hope, all the possibilities
That this pen of a tower wrote here.
Here, into the screams of subway,
Here, where there’s dreams of someday,
Here, the Melting Pot,
Where geniuses jive to jazz
And hustle nonstop to hip hop,
On chalked up street blocks we bebop,
We wild, we want, we
Stunt, we strive, we
Hustle, we hungry,
We run free, here we come, we
One country, we ain’t done see,
We’ve begun the
Task of building a
Not stacked with steel or stone,
But heart and home.
We hone a nation that’s a myriad, like Manhattan:
On each block you find the black, the Latin,
The indigenous, the religious,
Lovers beyond labels, the disabled community,
Foreigners and sojourners,
On each corner of this land,
In this cacophony of a country,
We reach down long hands,
That we all might stand
Together, where we belong.
Our roar rings strong,
Like King Kong, we mount a tower
And pound our chest. Blessed with power,
We do not rest.
We do not weaken.
We are the skyscraper.
We are the beacon,
Our spines steel-spire straight.
In times of higher, dire stakes,
Let this fire wake us to the faith before our eyes:
That a republic doesn’t require hate to rise.
Globe, grant us your tired, your aching,
And tomorrow we’ll be shaking the skies.
We cannot fail. So we will not fall.
We are moved by the call of this
Colossus of a tall steeple.
It proves that when
Only include the few,
You only injure all people.
But when we retire our gates,
We build up anew these entire United States
Into an empire to inspire the great.”
~ Amanda Gorman
The Empire State Building Poem