“Pity the Nation” A Poem for our Time by Lawrence Ferlinghetti


Lawrence Ferlinghetti (After Khalil Gibran) 2007

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them

Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves

Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerors
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture

Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own

Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed

Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away

My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!

copyright Lawrence Ferlingetti

The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti has long been a favorite of mine. He turned 101 back in March. Here is a poem for our time.

5 thoughts on ““Pity the Nation” A Poem for our Time by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

  1. Always a favorite of mine! I have it on a postcard from City Lights in San Francisco and it had always been on my refrigerator❤️

  2. Pingback: My Top Ten Posts of 2022 | When I Survey . . .

  3. India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is exactly all of this, with his boldest opponent hastily thrown out of Parliament today (24 March, 2023). In addition, India’s Hindu sages are not silenced, but are some of the liars and bigots who rend the airwaves. India claims to be victim of conquerors – only to be conquered from within by a Hinduism that is yoga on the outside but violent on the inside.

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