Social Justice Poetry

Song of America | A Social Justice Poem by Gil Hoy

I.

I see you, Walt Whitman, an American
Rough, a cosmos! I see you face to face!

I see you and the nameless faceless
Faces in America’s ageless crowds of men
and women who you saw in your mind’s eye.

I see you crossing the river on your ferry.
I see you walking down America’s public roads

Where everyone is worthy. Neither time,
Place nor distance separates.

II.

For you once saw the corrupt currents,
Fast flowing into the land that you loved.
And you once saw that which had departed

With the setting sun, half an hour high,
For when another is degraded,
so are you and I.

You once saw what had flowed in with the
Rising flood-tides feverishly pounding,

Sea water soaked—saturated,
With exploitation, bribery,
Falsehood and maladministration.

III.

When you saw the motionless wings of
Twelfth-month sea-gulls, when you walked

On Manhattan Island, when you watched the
Great ships of Manhattan, north and west—

Did you see Wall Street banks seizing
Homes of your beloved countrymen,
Crossing in their fragile ferryboats?

The carpenters, the Quakers, the scientists,
The opium eaters—the immigrants, the squaws,

The boatmen, the blacksmiths—-the farmers,
Mechanics, the sailors and priests?

IV.

Did you see monstrous megaton
Corporations feasting on America’s flesh and
Blood, nameless faceless parasites sucking the

Marrow from the bones of your beloved land,
Like a malevolent disease?

V.

For you saw very clearly the political and economic
Malfunctioning mutant ties that connect us.
Neither time, place nor distance separates.

And you saw very clearly the sickly green sludge
Secreted by lobbyists to their bought and sold

Henchmen soldier baby-kissers—slowing,
Stopping the flow of nourishing rushing sea
Tides into your revered democracy.

VI.

You saw dark evil patches—the clinging selfish
Sinister grasp of the flourishing one per cent
Oligarchs, who lusted, grubbed, lied, stole—

Were greedy, shallow, sly, angry, vain, cowardly,
malignant—Seeking only to hold on to their
Spoils and preserve the status quo.

VII.

Each still furnishes its part towards the death of
America’s democracy. Each still furnishes its part

Towards destroying her soul. The mocking bird still
Chants his tearful musical shuttle to the barefooted

Bareheaded boy, and the final word superior for
America may still be her Death, Death, Death,

Death. And you, lonely father, graybeard more
Beloved—the generous sea, she’s whisper’d me, too.


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