“A House Called Tomorrow”


Alberto Ríos’ magnificent poem “A House Called Tomorrow” speaks about something many people are struggling to find right how…hope.  Throughout history, humans have faced difficulties big and small.  Ríos reminds us that we are the branches of a large, sturdy, family tree and therefore, never march alone.  We step into the future, with our ancestor’s “river bridges and star charts and song harmonies” and, most of all, bring ourselves into the history we will make.  So … how will you contribute to building “a house called tomorrow”?


A House Called Tomorrow


You are not fifteen, or twelve, or seventeen—

You are a hundred wild centuries


And fifteen, bringing with you

In every breath and in every step


Everyone who has come before you,

All the yous that you have been,


The mothers of your mother,

The fathers of your father.


If someone in your family tree was trouble,

A hundred were not:


The bad do not win—not finally,

No matter how loud they are.


We simply would not be here

If that were so.


You are made, fundamentally, from the good.

With this knowledge, you never march alone.


You are the breaking news of the century.

You are the good who has come forward


Through it all, even if so many days

Feel otherwise. But think:


When you as a child learned to speak,

It’s not that you didn’t know words—


It’s that, from the centuries, you knew so many,

And it’s hard to choose the words that will be your own.


From those centuries we human beings bring with us

The simple solutions and songs,


The river bridges and star charts and song harmonies

All in service to a simple idea:


That we can make a house called tomorrow.

What we bring, finally, into the new day, every day,


Is ourselves. And that’s all we need

To start. That’s everything we require to keep going.


Look back only for as long as you must,

Then go forward into the history you will make.


Be good, then better. Write books. Cure disease.

Make us proud. Make yourself proud.


And those who came before you? When you hear thunder,

Hear it as their applause.


-Alberto Ríos


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