AMERICA WAS NEVER THAT GREAT

Image result for cuomo america was never that great

There is a certain dissatisfied type who hates

Those perceived as superior—saddest of fates!

All strive to be better, comparing themselves to others,

And some compete with love and good will, but others

With resentment, whine and hide, behind mentors and mothers.

And someone who blurts out in public life,

“America was never great” reveals at once his resentment, his pathos, his strife.

But since all of us struggle against this truth

That we are inferior, and constant proof

That we are inferior besets us each day,

We must forgive, and we must actually say

What does make America great,

And what this might have to do with our fate.

First, the obvious: a country is a home

Which we share with citizens; to roam

Among the dark hills, the wandering sea

Always implies a safe return; to be

Homeward bound is to know the great

As your place, your green shadow where loves wait.

Your home yesterday, today—this is why America for you has always been great.

Next, the martial, mixed with pride and pain,

The wars won for necessary gain.

An international war is how America was born,

A child, from a world Empire torn;

We were an Indian land worked by slaves,

The resource-heaven which the workshop craves,

And the British were this close to taking over the world,

Until comedy intervened—the Yankee flag unfurled.

Yankee Doodle Dandy boldly entered, and then,

A few battles, a contract—and the world would never be the same again,

And soon it was an America where all came

To be famous in a new and faster definition of fame.

New nations build new circuses and new devices to find

The empire was at once the consciousness of races and almost kind.

But the world will always be the same; different men

Love different women and different women love different men. The world follows the same plan,

Feeling itself as one—one creation, one message, the same man

Building the telegraph—which announces to himself the Civil War,

And a woman, seized by opium, coughs, and America is not America anymore.

The Victorian Christmas, with its beautiful lights,

Gave way to louder and quicker and lovelier delights,

And strange gods with beautiful eyes whispered to us our future fate:

“All is theft and illusion, and America was never that great.”

But let us return. Can we return? Who are we? If there is a flag that waves

From sea to shining sea, who will fight wars and take care of the wage-slaves,

And get up each morning to love what should be loved, and not what the infinite confusion of the infinite universe craves?

I look at what is not that great and I see you,

But I’m not that great either, and I’m hungry and I’m mortal, so what do you want me to do?

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, I’m a deplorable, and I’m going to make sure

You don’t get rich off government, and home will be these trees, these factories, these shady houses clinging to this shore.

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 21, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Yes it was great. Yes it is great, in its soul, in its Divinely appointed and dreamed image, in its legends, its apple blossomed orchards, hard fought trails and crumbling persistent visions, over and over again reincarnated in a million myriad winding ways. And all of this has nothing to do with superficial shifting surfaces with political dominance with the thirst for power on the part of any race. One day the real visage of America known only to God and those who lived and died for it will emerge in the New Jerusalem and all, all these lies will be gone as if they had NEVER been.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 21, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I love this poem very much Thomas Graves. It has a real and noble quality. It will endure.

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    August 23, 2018 at 9:10 am

    I ONLY SEE

    back then we thought the emerald way
    would always be ours
    the golden hours of play

    the witches few.
    the curse lifted in the midnight tome
    the Kingdom sparkle under a new moon.

    how I have yearned for you
    lost fairy tale worlds
    your silvered spinning

    at every hour I must be winning back
    and follow every track of every trace
    the grim have erased.

    let the race be to the swift
    and the lid be lifted on the miseries.
    I only see blue fairied Hope

    the ferry to the green slopes of Avalon and
    the King Returning, the end of wrongs
    and hear: the vast autumnal Airs-

    the rubied orb of Song.

    mary angela douglas 23 august 2018


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