Pity The Nation by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

( After 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
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!

— Lawrence Ferlinghetti
San Francisco, January, 2006

Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (born March 24, 1919) is an American poetpaintersocial activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. He is the author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration. Ferlinghetti is best known for his first collection of poems, A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), which has been translated into nine languages, with sales of more than one million copies.Ferlinghetti turned 100 in March 2019, leading the city of San Francisco to proclaim his birthday, March 24, “Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day”.

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