We raised our hats to you, Mr Lincoln.
We believed every word that you said.
And when life spilled into darkness
in a night of theatre,
we believed, even though you were dead.
From the decay that was Europe, we sent you our sons
to escape from a thousand-year prison called home;
from money and serfdom and warfare and guns;
from Ireland and Germany, Russia and Rome.
We believed, Mr Lincoln. We knew. We could wait.
From the slave-fields of Africa, we heard all men are equal
and America, like God, would apply it that way.
And having applied it, would insist on the sequel;
that all men were free in this African day.
From Asia, the bent backs of our human machines
learned of machines that would give them their rest;
learned they could stand straight and what freedom means;
and, holding heads high, put it all to the test.
And what did we get from all the bright promise?
And what did we learn when we gave you our vote?
From a heap of dead redskins to a pile of dead commies,
you could write the Lord’s Prayer on a used five-buck note.
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Poet's Notes about The Poem
Comments about this poem (AMERICA, AMERICA by Brian Taylor )
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