Pity the Nation

pity the nation
My friends and my road-fellows
Pity the Nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion.
Pity the Nation that wears a cloth it does not weave,
Eats bread it does not harvest,
And drinks a wine that flows
Not from its own winepress.
Pity the Nation that acclaims the bully as hero,
And that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful.
Pity the Nation that despises a passion in its dream
Yet submit in its awakening
Pity the Nation that raises not its voice
Save when it walks in a funeral,
Boasts not except among its ruins
And will rebel not save when its neck is laid
Between the sword and the block.
Pity the Nation whose statesman is a fox,
Whose philosopher is a juggler,
And whose art is the art of pacthing and mimicking.
Pity the Nation that welcomes
It’s new ruler with trumpetings
And farewells him with hootings,
Only to welcome another with trumpeting again.
Pity the Nation whose sages are dumb with years
And whose strongmen are yet in the cradle.
Pity the Nation divided into fragments,
Each fragment deeming itself a Nation.
— Khalil Gibran

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 with 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.

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti


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