I sing of myself.

He who hears my song and listens to its deep, comes to know my center-me
is           lost.

I sing release which does not come. I sing to ease distress.
I sing my sickness, weep my wish; my soul’s sore core does ache .
I lament my vanished dreams, my future’s now a shroud.
There rises in me dark despair in strident glare I cannot bear.
With vacant stare,
I shout at air.
Is no one there to care?
I am America.

Oh, but what I was once when once I was the envy of the world.
When once I reached an open hand to every land across the vast divides;
I once embraced both love and will, was ready always to share bread.
The world beyond I welcomed in, my torch lit strangers home.
I remember schoolhouse doors and factory floors and rail yards filled with stores.
Through memory’s graying haze I see the frame of farm and arm,
I knew of mind and kind, relief of grief. And joy.
The cop, the fop, the drunken sot, the teacher, preacher, nun
All joined with me upon the quest for a destiny called manifest,
then we came to rest on freedom’s chest, believing we had won.

I was America.

What has happened in the land I knew, now over run by callous few?
My glorious past now grossly shamed, and I myself now shunned and blamed,
My banquet halls are hid by walls, my bright night’s daytime’s dark.
Where has gone my pride, my heart? Where has gone my me:
(that courage fighting red dressed crown, that wisdom writing freedoms down;
That justice that I swore to found in all my acts and every town)?
Why must my children look to me with absent eyes,
their smiles without delight,
as little faces fear some bad,

dread some sad,

that robs them of a hope they had?

Who seeks to kill the the dream I won and promised to bequeath my young?

Can I Ever be America Again?

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7 Comments on "Eulogy For Walt Whitman on America’s Birthday"

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Cherl Harrell
Guest

Wonderful poem. Beautifully stated what is on many of our hearts and minds. Thank you.

beadlady
Member

Yup yup yup. The dream we all still have. Nightmares abound these days. But the dream can survive.

Miranda
Member

There is a typo in this: “Oh, but what I was once when once I was the envy of ‘he’ world.” I am sure it is supposed to be “the”.

Ursula Faw
Admin

I’ll go in and fix that. Thank you.

Miranda
Member

It is beautiful and very sad.

Meg Corrigan
Member

Beautiful poem. I still have hope for our nation!

pegeen
Guest

Thank you so much for expressing so vividly the sorrow of our times and honoring Whitman as well. Peace dear poet.