for National Poetry Day


America is the greatest poem,
Walter Whitman wrote.
After the gun, the vote
& gunboat diplomacy... hums home.

Beneath sea to shining sea
lies middle C : a note
on the grand baby boat
between red & blue (for harmony).

Purple mountains’ majesty,
inverted in a mirror
lake – not so Superior
this time, but simple, free.

So must our dream end in despair?
The first inhabitants
ordered the elements
on thankful tables – mysterious share

from Wakan Tanka (Thunderbird).
The greatest poem hums
beneath war drums,
discordant malice, noisy fraud;

it is the sound of the earth itself
awash with slow rivers,
where Jonah hovers
in her dove-canoe – a constant Alph

down to zydeco Cajun Zee.
America, l’รขme
riche, la mer...
coo-cawing in cloud-thunder tree.


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