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(02/03/1943)

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Gone are the Hard Men

Gone are the hard men,
no longer scouting trails across the west,
nor leading wagon trains to Oregon,
nor trapping the beaver in far valleys,
nor lonely mapping the wilderness
in the van of civilization,
nor building railroads across America with
shovels and mauls and appetites for hard work
and hard women and whiskey by the barrel.

Where are they gone, these hero men,
now the frontiers have been plowed down
and wilderness long fled to the city?
Where are they gone, these child-men,
now the nation is civilized and schooled
and technology mocks their souls?

They are in the prisons of America.
They are in the asylums of America.
They are in the drunk-tanks of dreary,
self-righteous cities.
They are squatting beside a sad fire
near Sacramento tonight,
nursing their bottles of 'Mad Dog'
and eating canned Spam.

Submitted: Thursday, February 21, 2008


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