Who Shall Rule This American Nation

Who shall rule this American Nation?
Say, boys, say!
Who shall sit in the loftiest station?
Say, boys, say!
Shall the men who trampled on the banner?
They who now their country would betray?
They who murder the innocent freedmen?
Say, boys, say!

"No, never! no, never!"
The loyal millions say;
And 'tis they who rule this American Nation!
They, boys, they!

Who shall rank as the family royal?
Say, boys, say!
If not those who are honest and loyal?
Say, boys, say!


When The Grain Is Golden and The Wind Is Chilly Then it is Time To Harvest

Leron-leron sinta, umakyat sa papaya
Dala-dala’y buslo’, sisidlan ng bunga

In a dusty village in Cagayan Valley,
Ramon and his father were planting rice when soldiers

appeared on their farm. They questioned his father,
if he’d seen any communist rebels recently

in the area, and when he did not give them
a good enough answer, they beat him with the blunt ends

of their rifles, shot him as he was lying
on the ground. Ramon snuck away but remained hidden

in nearby bushes, to witness the soldiers


Weathers

This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at 'The Traveller's Rest,'
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.

This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,


What He Thought

We were supposed to do a job in Italy
and, full of our feeling for
ourselves (our sense of being
Poets from America) we went
from Rome to Fano, met
the Mayor, mulled a couple
matters over. The Italian literati seemed
bewildered by the language of America: they asked us
what does "flat drink" mean? and the mysterious
"cheap date" (no explanation lessened
this one's mystery). Among Italian writers we

could recognize our counterparts: the academic,
the apologist, the arrogant, the amorous,


We Refugees

I come from a musical place
Where they shoot me for my song
And my brother has been tortured
By my brother in my land.

I come from a beautiful place
Where they hate my shade of skin
They don't like the way I pray
And they ban free poetry.

I come from a beautiful place
Where girls cannot go to school
There you are told what to believe
And even young boys must grow beards.

I come from a great old forest
I think it is now a field
And the people I once knew
Are not there now.


Was It You

"Hullo, young Jones! with your tie so gay
And your pen behind your ear;
Will you mark my cheque in the usual way?
For I'm overdrawn, I fear."
Then you look at me in a manner bland,
As you turn your ledger's leaves,
And you hand it back with a soft white hand,
And the air of a man who grieves. . . .

"Was it you, young Jones, was it you I saw
(And I think I see you yet)
With a live bomb gripped in your grimy paw
And your face to the parapet?
With your lips asnarl and your eyes gone mad


Vow on Okinawa

One starry night on Okinawa,
Guns and men were still;
A young Marine was standing duty
On a lonely hill.

The battle ever carries on....
Two months it's been by now....
All dead exceeding ninety thousand;
And he wondered how....
How all the slaughter could continue
Under God's domain?
How long are minds of men expected
To endure the pain?

First Saipan.... Iwo Jima next,
He'd seen his buddies fall....
And, now again, on Okinawa....
No let up at all.


Velocity of Money

I’m delighted by the velocity of money as it whistles through the windows
of Lower East Side
Delighted by skyscrapers rising the old grungy apartments falling on
84th Street
Delighted by inflation that drives me out on the street
After all what good’s the family farm, why eat turkey by thousands every
Thanksgiving?
Why not have Star Wars? Why have the same old America?!?
George Washington wasn’t good enough! Tom Paine pain in the neck,
Whitman what a jerk!


Uncle Harry

Oh, never let on to your own true love
That ever you drank a drop;
That ever you played in a two-up school
Or slept in a sly-grog shop;
That ever a bad girl nursed you round –
That ever you sank so low.
But she pulled you through, and it's only you
And your old mate Harry know.

"Billy the Link" they called you then,
And it makes me sad to think
Of the strenuous days when it took three cops
And a pimp to couple the Link.
"Mister Linkhurst" they call you now,
And your kitchen garden grows;


Two Infants II

A prince stood on the balcony of his palace addressing a great multitude summoned for the occasion and said, "Let me offer you and this whole fortunate country my congratulations upon the birth of a new prince who will carry the name of my noble family, and of whom you will be justly proud. He is the new bearer of a great and illustrious ancestry, and upon him depends the brilliant future of this realm.


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