Thursday, August 12, 2021


Mailer opined in Why Are We at War that"... America" had become America's religion, referring to the supporters of the Iraq War who would invoke the safety of the nation when defending our right to invade and occupy nations that had never attacked the United States." Insane, he thought, and I agreed and wondered what other diagnosis from a literary figure I could find to support my notion, stolen from W.C.Williams, that the pure products of America go insane. And then I happened upon this poem from e.e.cummings:

“next to of course god america i 

love you land of the pilgrims’ and so forth oh 

say can you see by the dawn’s early my 

country ’tis of centuries come and go 

and are no more what of it we should worry 

in every language even deafanddumb 

thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry 

by jingo by gee by gosh by gum 

why talk of beauty what could be more beaut- 

iful than these heroic happy dead 

who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter 

they did not stop to think they died instead 

then shall the voice of liberty be mute?” 

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water 

- ee cummings 

This keeps with his concentrated genius for putting back in the politician's faces with their own politicized babble, but only after taking a hammer to it. Under all the huff and puff about God, glory, and country stands revealed forces that would have us all fearful, in debt, and apathetic to calls for change. How appropriate for the current climate; the poem, though, does not let us off the hook; we are complacent with the fools for letting them have their way. The shock of this poem is that there are many of us, these days, decades after this was written, who recognize our own voices saying moronic things like this. Might there come a time, should the Obama initiatives work and Our Country again starts to fulfill it's promise, that some good poets would feel moved to write something positive about America and mean it, without commission, salary, title? Will we have a poetry again that speaks truthfully of our virtues rather than our insanity?


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