This poem, "A Legacy," was written for and first read at the Rice County Votes No! Community Kick-off event on Monday, June 18. The event was organized to bring together local opponents of the proposed amendment to the Minnesota marriage amendment. The amendment was voted down on November 6, 2012.
To my sons
I’ve thought long and hard
about what I can leave you.
After all, my greatest treasures
are things I don’t possess:
the bur oak and the pasqueflower,
and the prairie grass rising
from fire each spring;
dissolving into flight;
and the snow-pleated
and the river that runs through
the middle of this town,
that unites us more than it divides us.
On the night before I traveled to Athens,
I watched the sun
setting behind Manitou Heights
and believed that not even the Acropolis
could be so full of wonders.
I have loved this place like no other,
this place which has given us you.
You came from more than
one woman and one man—
You came from these people,
from these fast-changing skies,
these deep winters,
the rise of the land that seemed,
when I first came here from the east,
like a deep breath being held.
You came into a world
that was changed by your presence.
You have made the hardest times
lighter with the weight of your dreams.
You have lived in possibilities
I could never have imagined.
You have believed there can be
more love, more voices
singing the song of their inmost heart.
You have already given me the future.
So I stand here tonight
in faithfulness to that future,
and in faithfulness to the vows I made
when your mother and I came together
as two hearts, and love
was the highest law we followed.
I stand here tonight to say no
to any lesser law
that claims we are married
only because our bodies are different
and not by the grace of everything we share.
Copyright © 2012 by Rob Hardy