Yea, once a great nation of statesmen and orators
forging principles, annealed by fire, an ethic
shaped with hammer to anvil. Yea, we once were

the envy of the world, yeoman and scholars free
to speak the truth despite their fears—despite our need
to be greater than we are, we fool ourselves.

Four percent of the planet’s population, we are small,
leaving the elite to run this country into the ground
as we consume like feedlot cattle with credit extended

at 25 percent—we have become vassals to the bankers
on Wall Street—our greatness measured by their numbers
with little else left of value to speak or be proud of.

Once a great nation, we are an embarrassment
to humanity, to a once common sense—
we follow the pack like scavengers praying for a bone

until we blindly consume ourselves without wisdom
or compassion. Where are our senators and statesmen?
Have we forgotten who we were, once upon a time?


11 responses to “ONCE UPON A TIME

  1. Only the artist can make beauty out of the grotesque.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Conrad Carlberg

    Good question, by itself much better than all nine of Robert Zimmerman’s cobbled together.

    I think I pickup a (welcome) whiff of Ramsay Harris in your second stanza.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David L Moore

    As a young pup growing up on the hard side of Salinas, my Mom worked as a secretary for the Monterey County Administrator. She said on a few occasions that ” That bridge cost Monterey County a lot of dough.” I took it to mean dollars and cents in a ledger book. Now I think it also has to do with hubris and the progress of man. Well… at least Ferlinghetti can get to his shack!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Grotesque is the right word for right now. Our perfect trifecta of catastrophe should be bringing out our best. So far, not so much. Is it time to give up hope? I dont think so. Not yet……….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Lovely Denise

    Really great John!


  6. Shirley Kirkpatrick

    Heads up! I have forward this apt-for-the-times-beautiful but grotesque post to our congressman, Kevin McCarthy. But since we know he doesn’t respond to anybody who doubts his majesty or his decisions I doubt he will respond to you either. That would be too much like a leader and statesman. Keep on writin’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the well-honed humor, Shirley. The Valley is sadly represented by two men without a flirting glimpse of compassion or wisdom. It must be scary for them to consider either, as if the stance of the GOP might be eroded by common sense.


  7. Love this piece. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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