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America the Beautiful?

in Politics by

O beautiful for spacious skies,                 O boastfulness for specious lies,
For amber waves of grain,                       For greying hair turned red
For purple mountain majesties                For looted mountains’ purple sighs
Above the fruited plain!                            Above the ancestral dead
America! America!                                     America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,                    God turns his back on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood  The crown of thorns, forever worn
From sea to shining sea!                           From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet                       O beautiful for migrant feet
Whose stern impassioned stress            Their battered stress we’ll never know
A thoroughfare for freedom beat            Through razored fence we do entreat
Across the wilderness.                              To send them home to show:
America! America!                                      America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,                       God detests thine ev’ry flaw
Confirm thy soul in self-control,               Deny each soul the right to know
Thy liberty in law.                                       Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for glorious tale                       Apocryphal our said intent
Of liberating strife,                                      Of liberating strife,
When valiantly for man’s avail                 When hopeless the occupied lament
Men lavish precious life.                             Men’s avaricious life.
America! America!                                      America! America!
May God thy gold refine                            May God thy credit card decline
Till all success be nobleness,                    Till all our work a job that’s lost,
And ev’ry gain divine.                                The worker’s back supine

O beautiful for patriot dream                    Now pitiful the veteran’s dream
That sees beyond the years                      That looks into his fears
Thine alabaster cities gleam                     Thine alabaster walls a seam
Undimmed by human tears.                      Unmoved by human tears.
America! America!                                      America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,                     God turns his back on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood   That bankers may thine eyes remove
From sea to shining sea.                            As you refuse to see.

 

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Steve Karamitros is an urban planner living in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. His poems and short stories focus on the bizarre and irrational forces that animate society and what we call ‘nature.’ His poems have appeared in Poetry Quarterly and Burningword Literary Journal. His fiction has appeared in Night Picnic Journal.

Photo by Neon Brand.