Something changed for me when I first read the poem “next to of course god america i” by e e cummings; something about the patter and frantic pacing of the meterless text just felt appropriately angry and desperate for any discussion of America and patriotism.
Some people laugh to keep from crying. I write.
next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims’ and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn’s early my
country ’tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?
He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water
e e cummings