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Archive for November, 2010

THE DESTINY OF AMERICA

1

When scribes of some new century lift up the fateful quill

To record in novel tongues of what good fortune, or grave ill

defined our nation’s tenure as the leader of the world

Of the accolades that followed, or the curses that were hurled

and the meaning of the silence when that final flag unfurled

2

They’ll tell of those who longed to call her cherished borders home

Like ancient generations venerated Greece or Rome.

Or will they sigh of how it rotted like a decadent empire?

Or perchance, the noble nation—in one final blaze of fire,

chose instead to be a martyr among nations, then expire

3

They’ll speak of how two destinies ran strong and parallel

within the country’s psyche, and how both should bode them well

The first great vein was love for God, the other love for gold

like two rivers: one pragmatic, one prophetic—which  foretold

the conflicts in our culture as our narratives unfold

4

They may write of three small clippers, and the isle of Salvador

Sing the praises of Columbus, or his legacy abhor

Will they see the island natives’ thirst for blood at Navidad,

or call the Spaniards murderers in the name of some new god

and the gold prospector mixed with priest as normal, or as odd?

5

They’ll concede the Mayflower Puritans were those who chose to act

with government subordinate to God in said compact.

Or will they vilify the Puritans as too puritanical,

then call the Holy statutes they obeyed tryannical

and citizens who tried to hold to those ideals fanatical?

6

Accounts of English settlements that bore the monarch’s name

such as Jamestown, where the gentry soiled their tender hands in shame

How their charter to make money from the New World was embraced

yet the part to bring the gospel to the savages erased

and belief in national destiny laughed at and effaced

7

They will honor Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening,

Allude to Wesley’s hymn O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing

And write of how George Whitefield brought the gospel to the slave.

Or they’ll mock the great revival as sensational and fake

and its  role in revolution simply censure and berate

8

They will pen the great rebellion from the British motherland

As King George damning those Yankees as a renegade young band,

Or they will see the first Americans as patriots and strong

And their independence ire countering despotism’s wrong –

their triumphs and their sacrifices codified in song

9

Will they read the Negro spirituals in the style of Amazing Grace

As the triumph of the spirit of a noble battered race?

Recount the trial of Phyllis Wheatley poems to statesmen of her day

And tell how politicians doubted her to Massachusett’s shame,

Or will they use the cause of slavery to justify or blame?

10

The scholars of the future may regard our Civil War

As a rip within the fabric of the glory that we wore.

Or they’ll paint the American psyche with a dark-pigmented stain

And call the act of state secession pure commercial gain,

Or conclude that thus enslaving our own brothers was insane

11

They’ll pen volumes of the global wars our men were called to fight

Admit that freedom was worth defending, and America did it right

Or they’ll call us ‘ugly Americans’ though all we ever asked

was land enough to bury those who died there in the task

to stop the spread of tyranny and its evil face unmask.

12

They may view this current century as a time of great excess

and it’s people spoiled by government and enslaved by selfishness

Or they will they see the American character that rose from New York dust

And carved on granite mountainsides In Christ Alone We Trust!

and that patriots saved the republic by great sacrifice and guts

13

Each nation has its destiny but some more nobly called

This was our mandate, this our place in time and history’s halls

This was our charge, our sacred duty within two vast and distant shores

We judge ourselves, but our descendants judge us even more

as either those who fought and won, or as those who dropped the torch

14

We solemnly swear and vow by our love for this the United States

That our conscience has been laid bare here, our soul scored and displayed

That we will give our heart, our breath, bone marrow, and our lives

To guard our sacred values so our freedoms can survive,

And leave the scorn or the eulogy for posterity to decide

Epilogue

When the tides of history ebb and flow then sweep the sands away

There remains the fateful hourglass to measure out the day,

to capture in its curv-ed glass some justice roguish grains,

then weigh them in the balance and toss them out again

Onto a stretch of some forgotten beach and countless sands.

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