On the occasion of the inauguration of the newly elected and reelected officials in Bethel, December 6, 2021

by Cortney Davis, Bethel Poet Laureate, 2019-2021

B is a bold letter, first letter of the word Bethel,
which means House of God, a good house, our town

settled in 1700, carved from the forests and fields
of Fairfield County, incorporated in 1855, and guided

by visionaries and dreamers, realists and activists,
like those here tonight, those we have chosen to lead us

with wisdom and strength. We honor them and ask them
to consider the capital letter B, its strong backbone,

how it reaches up while standing firm. We ask them
to consider the two curved lines that reach forward from its spine,

then turn to join midway in the suggestion of an embrace,
creating space for hope and possibility. We ask them

to be bold, to aim high at the same time remaining resolute
in what is right, moral and possible. We ask them

to open their hearts as well as their minds, to differ
when they must, but also to turn and meet again, leaving room

for change and compromise, choosing what is best
for the citizens they've been called to represent. Tonight,

we applaud their achievements and offer our gratitude,
our promise to stand ready to support them. We charge them

to be brave in their duties, to build and not tear down,
to hold fast to the knowledge that Bethel is blessed

with a sweet and beautiful democracy which they now hold
in their hands. We ask them to cherish this precious yet fragile gift,

to tend it well. And, always, we wish for them?for all of you?
peace, good health, and happiness through all the days to come.