Sherman Alexie’s “Hymn”

I will sing for people who might not sing for me.
I will sing for people who are not my family.

I will sing honor songs for the unfamiliar and new.
I will visit a different church and pray in a different pew.

I will silently sit and carefully listen to new stories
About other people’s tragedies and glories.

I will not assume my pain and joy are better.
I will not claim my people invented gravity or weather.

And, oh, I know I will still feel my rage and rage and rage
But I won’t act like I’m the only person onstage.

I am one more citizen marching against hatred.
Alone, we are defenseless. Collected, we are sacred.

Excerpted from “Hymn” by Sherman Alexie.

Please go read the whole poem.1


  1. Update. According to NPR, Sherman Alexie “issued a statement admitting he ‘has harmed’ others, after rumors and allegations began to circulate about sexual harassment.” I don’t know how we deal with situations like this. We can’t ignore, yet do we wipe their work from the public space? Maybe. At least we provide an asterisk, a footnote. Maybe you don’t go read the whole poem. At least now, it’s your choice. 

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Author: Brent Logan

Engineer. Lawyer. WordPress geek. Longboarder. Blood donor. Photographer. More about Brent.

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