Thursday, April 28, 2011

In the Land of the Free (Verse)

I wrote the following in 1970. Somethings never change.

In the Land of the Free

 by Dee Newman

I’m standing here wondering whether to begin,
Knowing that words will never wake you within,
But knowing these faces that cry-out in my brain
Will taunt me and haunt me until I’m insane.
So crawl out of your dreaming, come along with me,
And together we’ll wade through the human debris,
Blessed with the liberty secured by the slave
Here in the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Back to her valleys where she grew as a child,
Down her harnessed rivers that once ran wild,
Deep in her virgin forests that dwindle each year,
Under a bay-brown sky that once was clear,
For the waters run stagnant, clogged with our waste,
And each breath smells putrid, foul to the taste,
Yet carve we must our mark on the wall of the cave
Here in the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Hidden in forgotten serpent pits of despair
The body of a troubled mind is strapped to a chair
As stripped figures of children with sad glaring eyes
Wander aimlessly through echoing halls of disguise
Beyond the hopeless horror of gagged murmurs of fear
Lying spread-eagled and gauzed so no one can hear,
Making one wonder who is really depraved
Here in the land of the free, the home of the brave.

When sentenced to correctional institutions
For society’s protection, the prosecution's
Indictment of a teenager as an adult
Has a tragic yet not surprising result.
After being brutally rape and terrified
By his attackers, the boy commits suicide.
With an eye for an eye for those who misbehave
Here in the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Below exalted altars towering to the sky
A mother offers her body to those who will buy,
Servicing a kindred of unfulfilled men
So that she my feed her poor, deprived children,
While above the congregation’s confirming roar
A pompous clergyman righteously yells, “whore!”
Yet with her confession our Lord Jesus will save
Here in the land of the free, the home of the brave.

There is nothing of which I am more surer –
While the rich get richer, the poor get poorer;
While our lives become more and more austere
The gross national product grows grosser each year;
While children die of hunger throughout this land
Eastland is subsidized a hundred and sixteen grand.
Yet, O say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Fleeing from antiquity we turn to look behind
Tempting our lot and the lot of all mankind
For far beyond the ancient pillar that remains
Shades of the past desparately pull at the reins
And this, it seems, is ironic and sadly strange
For existence is but the result of change.
Yet the course continues to come from the grave
Here in the land of the free, the home of the brave.


mythopolis said...

Very well said, both then and now. I was reminded of Woody Guthrie's famous "This Land is your Land"; and interestingly one stanza he penned was dropped out along the way:

"In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?"

Stickup Artist said...

And the few gains and strides we have made seem to be reversing as well. You have the makings of another song here though the days of protest music seem to be long gone too.