Read Amanda Gorman's Full Inauguration Poem 'The Hill We Climb'

Amanda Gorman, the National Youth Poet Laureate, lit up the stage during President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Los Angeles native took the stage outside the Capitol building in Washington D.C. to present her latest work, "The Hill We Climb." She became the youngest poet laureate in recent history to read at a presidential inauguration, according to NPR.

"It was really daunting to begin the poem because you don't even really know the entry point in which to step into the murk," Gorman told NPR, thinking back to when she was first asked to write a poem for the Biden-Harris inauguration.

amanda gorman poet laureate biden inauguration
On January 20, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman read a new work, titled "The Hill We Climb," at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Alex Wong/Getty

When she was roughly halfway through the writing of the poem, the Capitol riot on January 6 occurred; instantly, Gorman knew that it was something that had to be addressed in the new piece.

You can watch Gorman recite "The Hill We Climb" on the Inauguration Day stage below, and also follow along with the full text of the poem.

Mister President

Dr. Biden

Madam Vice President

Mister Emhoff

Americans and the world

One day comes we ask ourselves "where can we find light in this neverending shade?"

The loss we carry, a sea we must wade

We braved the belly of the beast

We've learned that quiet isn't always peace

And the norms and notions of "what just is" isn't always justice

And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it

Somehow we do it

Somehow we weathered and witnessed

A nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished.

We the successors of a country in a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president

Only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes we are far from polished, far from pristine

But that doesn't mean we aren't striving to form a union that is perfect.

We are striving to forge a union with purpose

To compose a country committed

To all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us

But what stands before us.

We close the divide because we know to put our future first

We must first put our differences aside

We lay down our arms

So we can reach our arms to one another

We seek harm to none and harmony for all

Let the glow if nothing else say, "this is true."

That even as we grieved we grew

That even as we hurt we hoped,

That even as we tired we tried

That we'll be forever tied together victorious

Not because we will never again know defeat,

But because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree,

And no one should make them afraid.

If we're to live up to our own time,

Then victory won't lie the blade but in all the bridges we've made,

That is the promise to glade,

The hill we climb.

If only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit

It's the past we step into and how we repair it.

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.

This is the era of just redemption we feared it at its inception

We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour

But within it we found the power to author a new chapter

To offer hope and laughter to ourselves,

So while once we ask "how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe"

Now we assert, "How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?"

We will not march back to what was

But move to what shall be a country that is bruised but whole,

Benevolent but bold,

Fierce and free.

We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation

Because know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.

Our blunders become their burdens

But one thing is certain.

If we merge mercy with might,

And might with right,

Then love becomes our legacy in change

Our children's birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left

With every breath from our bronze-pounded chest

We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one

We will rise from the gold-limned hills of the West

We will rise from the wind-swept Northeast

Where our forefathers first realized revolution

We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states

We will rise from the sun-baked South

We will rebuild, reconcile and recover

And every known nook of our nation

And every corner called our country

Our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful

When day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid

The new dawn balloons as we free it.

For there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it.

If only we are brave enough to be it.

Update: an earlier version of this story has been updated with corrected words.

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