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Saturday, November 28, 2020


by Gus Peterson

Credit: Tannen Maury/EPA, via Shutterstock in The New York Times.

after "Intimations of Immortality" by William Wordsworth

There was a time I glimpsed our declared decree
            and a people, its common block and seam
                        swam with visionary sight—
            e pluribus unum, the American dream.
It is not now as it was before.
            Scroll however I may, by night or day,
                        the might of eagle flight   
I once recalled I call upon no more.

Yes the red rose thorns and goes,
                        a blue wave ebbs and flows,
                        and the old man beams his light
as signs are pulled and lawns made bare,
            the tears that November night
            fell past our fellest despair.
Now with slow labor glorious rebirth,
and yet I know, whither this go,
the city upon a hill has passed from the earth.

  And as networks exalt their united song,
              and the hopeful young stream
                        inside insistent screens,
    I mourn alone that fleeting aberration—
                        once among the throng
   of certain inalienable nations.

Gus Peterson lives in Maine.