As part of the incredible video the Portland Timbers created above with Sky Candy Studios, the club commissioned a poem to accompany it by Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani that spoke to the Rose City's place, character and strength.
Though Saturday's MLS Cup result against NYCFC did not got the way the Portland wanted, the power of Mojgani's words endure to continue into matches yet to come.
Portland showed up Saturday.
And will again.
Read the full text below.
City of Roses.
Named for the tree stumps that once littered our town in such vast amounts we jumped stump to stump in the streets to avoid the mud,
and named too for a flower not from here but one that bloomed in its climate so full with shape and color the hearts leapt a beat,
& 20 miles of roses were planted.
Though the city of Portland may best be known for its water, where the rain doesn’t so much fall as floats down
Water that begins in the storms over the Pacific
swirling over the shores where the wind carries that mist inland and bunches it up in the clouds above the Cascade Mountains, until the skies spill down to our wet streets.
We are known for this rain. And for the gray skies
that carry these rains to us. The gray that takes the sun from us most days of the year. We are known for this too–– Sun Butcher for this country,
we are known for dark winters.
Known for the trees and the roses,
known too for the rain and the dark.
Known also for the chill in the bones
and the bone-chilling at times aloneness
these two both can bring.
And so, we also know to show up.
Cuz here’s the thing about living in a place like this
with so much water, so much rain––when it comes it’s always here constant, relentless, touching all parts of our lives.
that gray dark cold wet always in the air
always in our clothes, mouths, and bones,
we have to show up.
There’s no place to go from it––
what touches a part of the city, touches us all.
The rain comes and we still have to pull on our shoes and put on our jacket. The rain comes and we still have to open the door.
The rain comes and we still have to step outside.
To go to work
Walk to school
Bike the bridge
Hike the hill
Kiss the fight
Spill to laugh love cry run dance the rain and whether dry or wet, we lace our kicks and get on the wet grass
to kick the ball the same
So when the sky arrives
as it is prone to do every day
whether with sun or clouds, shower or storm,
and as assuredly as the roses that bloom in June
and the raindrops that float down in fall do,
whether it’s one other person’s shoulders beside you or 11 on the green
or 25,000 large and loud and loving in the stands, we do too.
Anis Mojgani is a two-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. He has been awarded residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Caldera, AIR Serenbe, The Bloedel Nature Reserve, The Sou'wester, and the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program. Anis has done commissions for the Getty Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum, and his work has appeared on HBO, National Public Radio, and as part of the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series; and in the pages of the NYTimes, Rattle, Platypus, Winter Tangerine, Forklift Ohio, and Bat City Review.