AMERICA POEMS

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Freedom's Plow

When a man starts out with nothing,
When a man starts out with his hands
Empty, but clean,
When a man starts to build a world,
.....
Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes
Ode To Walt Whitman

By the East River and the Bronx
boys were singing, exposing their waists
with the wheel, with oil, leather, and the hammer.
Ninety thousand miners taking silver from the rocks
.....

Federico Garcà­a Lorca
Song At Sunset

Splendor of ended day, floating and filling me!
Hour prophetic-hour resuming the past!
Inflating my throat-you, divine average!
You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing.
.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
The Waste Land

‘Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis
vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:
Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo.'

.....
T. S. Eliot

T. S. Eliot
Candles

They are the last romantics, these candles:
Upside-down hearts of light tipping wax fingers,
And the fingers, taken in by their own haloes,
Grown milky, almost clear, like the bodies of saints.
.....

Sylvia Plath
I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
.....
Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes
I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics-each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
The Age Of The Antonines

While faith forecasts millennial years
Spite Europe's embattled lines,
Back to the Past one glance be cast-
The Age of the Antonines!
.....
Herman Melville

Herman Melville
Fear Is What Quickens Me

1

Many animals that our fathers killed in America
Had quick eyes.
.....

James Arlington Wright
Ruth

When Ruth was left half desolate,
Her Father took another Mate;
And Ruth, not seven years old,
A slighted child, at her own will
.....
William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth
America In 1904

(Europe Conquers America.)

Strong for the strong and in his own conceit;
Half-boy, half-madman, playing with the fire;
.....
Edgar Lee Masters

Edgar Lee Masters
A Dream Of Whitman Paraphrased, Recognized And Made More Vivid By Renoir

Twenty-eight naked young women bathed by the shore
Or near the bank of a woodland lake
Twenty-eight girls and all of them comely
Worthy of Mack Sennett's camera and Florenz Ziegfield's
.....
Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz
Money

An introductory lecture


This morning we shall spend a few minutes
.....

Howard Nemerov
With All Thy Gifts, America

With all thy gifts, America,
(Standing secure, rapidly tending, overlooking the world,)
Power, wealth, extent, vouchsafed to thee, With these, and like of these, vouchsafed to thee,
What if one gift thou lackest? (the ultimate human problem never solving;)
.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
Salut Au Monde

O TAKE my hand, Walt Whitman!
Such gliding wonders! such sights and sounds!
Such join'd unended links, each hook'd to the next!
Each answering all--each sharing the earth with all.
.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
Full Flight

I'm in a plane that will not be flown into a building.
It's a SAAB 340, seats 40, has two engines with propellers
is why I think of beanies, those hats that would spin
a young head into the clouds. The plane is red and loud
.....

Bob Hicok
The Greatest Thing In North America

This is the greatest thing in North America:
Europe is the greatest thing in North America!
High in the sky, dark in the heart, and always there
Among the natural powers of sunlight and of air,
.....
Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz
Columbus

Once upon a time there was an Italian,
And some people thought he was a rapscallion,
But he wasn't offended,
Because other people thought he was splendid,
.....

Ogden Nash
Ode On Venice

I.
Oh Venice! Venice! when thy marble walls
Are level with the waters, there shall be
A cry of nations o'er thy sunken halls,
.....

George Gordon Byron
America The Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
.....

Katharine Lee Bates
Ploughing On Sunday

The white cock's tail
Tosses in the wind.
The turkey-cock's tail
Glitters in the sun.
.....

Wallace Stevens
The Robert Lowell Memorial Bowling Trophy

I want to bowl with Robert Lowell.
I want Cal to be my pal,
to be my buddy in Life Studies,
wearing identical team jackets
.....

Jack Conway
A Farewel To America

I.
Adieu, New-England's smiling meads,
Adieu, the flow'ry plain:
I leave thine op'ning charms, O spring,
.....
Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley
America

Once in English they said America. Was it English to them.
Once they said Belgian.
We like a fog.
Do you for weather.
.....

Gertrude Stein
Ode To Maize

America, from a grain
of maize you grew
to crown
with spacious lands
.....
Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda
To The Saguaro Cactus Tree In The Desert Rain

I had no idea the elf owl
Crept into you in the secret
Of night.

.....

James Arlington Wright
An Old Man's Thought Of School

An old man's thought of School;
An old man, gathering youthful memories and blooms, that youth itself cannot.

Now only do I know you!
.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
A Sad State Of Freedom

You waste the attention of your eyes,
the glittering labour of your hands,
and knead the dough enough for dozens of loaves
of which you'll taste not a morsel;
.....

Nazim Hikmet
Song Of The Coffle Gang

This song is said to be sung by Slaves, as they are chained in gangs,
when parting from friends for the far off South-children taken from
parents, husbands from wives, and brothers from sisters.

.....

Anonymous Americas
The Shoelace

a woman, a
tire thatâ??s flat, a
disease, a
desire: fears in front of you,
.....

Charles Bukowski
Rizpah

SAID one who led the spears of swarthy Gad,
To Jesseâ??s mighty son: â??My Lord, O King,
I, halting hard by Gibeonâ??s bleak-blown hill
Three nightfalls past, saw dark-eyed Rizpah, clad
.....

Henry Kendall
Zone

At last you're tired of this elderly world

Shepherdess O Eiffel Tower this morning the bridges are bleating

.....
Guillaume Apollinaire

Guillaume Apollinaire
America, America!

I am a poet of the Hudson River and the heights above it,
the lights, the stars, and the bridges
I am also by self-appointment the laureate of the Atlantic
-of the peoples' hearts, crossing it
.....
Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz
Kissass

Kissass is the Part of Peace
America will have to Kissass Mother Earth
Whites have to Kissass blacks, for Peace & Pleasure,
Only Pathway to Peace, Kissass.
.....

Allen Ginsberg
To The Saguaro Cactus Tree In The Desert Rain

I had no idea the elf owl
Crept into you in the secret
Of night.

.....

To The Saguaro Cactus Tree In The Desert Rain Poe
To A Kindly Critic

If it's wrong to believe in the land that we love
And to pray for Our Flag to the good God above;
If it's wrong to believe that Our Country is best;
That honor's her standard, and truth is her crest;
.....
Edgar Albert Guest

Edgar Albert Guest
So Long

TO conclude--I announce what comes after me;
I announce mightier offspring, orators, days, and then, for the
present, depart.

.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
America

I
Where the wings of a sunny Dome expand
I saw a Banner in gladsome air-
Starry, like Berenice's Hair-
.....
Herman Melville

Herman Melville
The Ballad Of The Children Of The Czar

1

The children of the Czar
Played with a bouncing ball
.....
Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz
America

Glorious daughter of time! Thou of the mild blue eye --
Thou of the virginal forehead --pallid, unfurrowed of tears--
Thou of the strong white hands with fingers dipped in the dye
Of the blood that quickened the fathers of thee, in the ancient years,
.....
Edgar Lee Masters

Edgar Lee Masters
To America

How would you have us, as we are?
Or sinking 'neath the load we bear?
Our eyes fixed forward on a star?
Or gazing empty at despair?
.....
James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson
Ode For Walt Whitman

<I>A Translation for Steve Jonas</i>

Along East River and the Bronx
The kids were singing, showing off their bodies
.....

Jack Spicer
Respondez!

RESPONDEZ! Respondez!
(The war is completed--the price is paid--the title is settled beyond
recall;)
Let every one answer! let those who sleep be waked! let none evade!
.....
Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
He Did Love

He did love three things in this world:
Choir chants at vespers, albino peacocks,
And worn, weathered maps of America.
And he did not love children crying,
.....

Anna Akhmatova
Pane Caldo

Rising in the morning
like warm bread,
from a bed
in America,
.....

Erica Jong
To The Republicans Of North America

I.
Brothers! between you and me
Whirlwinds sweep and billows roar:
Yet in spirit oft I see
.....
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Elegy Xix: To His Mistress Going To Bed

Come, madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labor, I in labor lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing though he never fight.
.....
John Donne

John Donne
Death & Fame

When I die
I don't care what happens to my body
throw ashes in the air, scatter 'em in East River
bury an urn in Elizabeth New Jersey, B'nai Israel Cemetery
.....

Allen Ginsberg
Exquisite Candidate

I can promise you this: food in the White House
will change! No more granola, only fried eggs
flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!
Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me!
.....

Denise Duhamel
Fellow Citizens

I drank musty ale at the Illinois Athletic Club with
the millionaire manufacturer of Green River butter
one night
And his face had the shining light of an old-time Quaker,
.....
Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg