Why Are We Here in America?

January 13th, 2019

Why are we here in America?
Because our ancestors were forced from their land.
Why were our ancestors forced from their land?
Because the land could not sustain them,
because the man could not contain them
because they could not restrain them
selves from seeking new places to go
to flee the lands of snow
westward hoe.
Most of our families are poor by trade:
We sleep at night & work by day
And this is how it’s gone for centuries
Only a few lines rule as kings & queens
And though royalty may yet be our birthright
We’ve yet to set the earth right
So we’ve toiled on land owned by absentees
Without respect pushed it past capacity
And when it showed its lack at time of harvest
We’ve packed our plows and headed further west
And landlords eager to keep faith in us
Have financeered occidental thrust
To find newer, more fertile lands
to put a profit in their hands.
We are obtuse, lazy, and impatient
The earth has what we need when we wait for it
Husband it well and not run lusting
at virgin fields but work patient trusting
That deep attention, closely paid
With hand & plow, with hoe & spade
With time & prayer, long-suffering
Will reverse the damage that we still bring.
When we turn from abuse to sovereignty
We will reduce our poverty
But as long as we sow the seed of ungratefullness
The land will produce no respite for us
Only star thistle, & bramble, and weeds —
which with gratitude are even enough for our needs

Why are we here in America?
Because we though she was there for us and
she was here; that’s to be sure
But she’ll run into the ocean if we’re not here for her

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