Making Ourselves Understood

You may have heard the inauguration poet, Amanda Gorman (she’s 22!), speaking on NPR today. She said that there are certain combinations of letters she has trouble pronouncing, and because she often reads her poetry out loud, she has to change her first choices of words to other words so that she can be understood (or, as she put it, to avoid being “unintelligible”). It was such an insightful comment and so reminiscent of the work we do in ADR and the law — having to put aside or rework the way we might express something in order to be understood by the listener.

Tomorrow, Gorman will be reading her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at the inauguration. She was halfway through writing the poem when the riot at the Capitol took place. From that poem:

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

History has its eyes on us.

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