The 2015 Poet Laureate is Brooke Waller. Her poem is titled "Taking Flight."

You have made it to the end of a long and winding path,

Your years sown into the dirt with every struggling step

The way was dark, lost in the twisted tangled branches of ignorance

Like fireflies, your teachers float beside you casting light on the shadows.

Blossoms of imagination and dreams wave gently at you by the wayside,

Serving to soften the ever-growing weight of responsibility in your backpack.

Paths wrangled into your own,

Fellow travelers joined in cliques of two and three,

Their steely determination banded you to them.

You stumbled, slicing yourself open on rock-tough troubles, 

A helping hand-pulled you from the ground,

Another patched the cuts on your weary shoulders.

Cuts turned to scars:

Lessons to be wary on your way.

The group trekked onward,

Eyes all glued to the upward incline,

Fighting for every fallen step,

Looking for hints of blue in the matted green above.

In search of sky great floods of sorrow stroke unforeseen,

Individuals thrashed wildly not to drown in its harsh clutches.

You grabbed the stranger next to you, 

She the one beside her,

Every hand outstretched to save the next.

So the storm passed,

And in the midst of hardships, you become we.

Our bodies Ached, 

Dripping clothes weighed us down,

Never had we run so hard toward the bright blue opening 

We charged together, towards our beginning, 

Running through it we burst into now, 

Now is a wide sky open all around, 

And the small precipice we balance upon.

The we carried gone,

Replaced with the fluttering breeze of freedom 

The promise of new adventure gives life to broken bodies 

Time shoves us forward,

Leaving us with two choices:

to let scars remain scars,

Marks of our mistakes, 

Carrying us no further than this point.

or to let scars erupt to wings,

Those lessons we learned yesterday, carry us into tomorrow, 

And take flight.

The sky is ours for the taking, 

Each headed for our own havan, 

Winds of fortune strapped to our backs. 

And like fledglings, we test our new strength, 

Faltering a little, 

Gaining new heights always  

So take this leap of faith, 

Let the records of our past burst in beautiful transformation,

Into wings that anoint you anew.

The remembrance of now will blind us.

The paths we once trod always in sight below us, 

And this first fall will be etched into our hearts, 

so let’s jump together.


-Brooke Waller

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