THE FOURTEENTH OF JULY
All in the dewy morning
On the fourteenth of July
I went to walk beneath the trees
That grow so green and high.
And there I met Tom Jefferson,
He was pacing up and down,
His head was sunk upon his chest,
His face it wore a frown.
"What is the matter, sir," I said,
"Or what is it you seek?"
"I'm looking for the people
With whom I wish to speak."
"What do you mean," I cried in fear,
"I see them all around."
"I see their bodies just like you,
But their spirits are not found.
"They do not hear, they do not see,
They walk with empty eyes."
"I guess you mean the media
That have got them hypnotized.
"Their ears are filled with crashing sound,
Their eyes with flashing lights,
Their minds too full of greed and gore
To sort out truth from lies.
"They have no time to meet and talk
And hear the liberty bell --
It is as if some evil king
Had bound them in a spell."
"Climb up, climb up into that tower,
"And ring that bell once more."
"That bell has got a crack," I replied,
The sound would not go o'er."
"Then you must forge it new," he said,
"In the flame of your desire,
Until they come together
To hear what freedom requires.
"Tell them to keep the Sabbath,
A day when all are free:
That day they must not buy nor sell
Nor sit and watch TV.
"It is a day to meet and talk
And find the ones they trust
To keep their hands from bribery
And on wisdom to insist.
"And these in turn together
Will meet in council high
To write a Constitution
For the coming century.
"For everything wears out at last
And needs to be renewed
Out of the ancient spirit
Of truth and rectitude.
"That spirit has a mighty power,
Although the odds be high;
Will you go and tell the people?"
I said that I would try.
Sometimes chance holds me prisoner in a room
where television’’s on, and forces me
with ears to hear, if not with eyes to see,
the explication of a poet’’s doom.
If amplified promptings of evil boom
in all my neighbors’’ ears continually,
how then to words of magnanimity
shall they in their dishonored hearts give room?
What beauty can they spare, what true word heed,
what reasoned biddings follow and obey,
how cultivate the weak precarious seed
of good upon such battleground of greed?
How over those who so to vice give way
shall any but their plunderers hold sway?
We are goats.
But we would like to be sheep.
We are tired of being sent to Azazel.
It is dark and cold there.
We long to walk beside still waters,
under the crook of the Great Shepherd.
Please let us in.
We promise to be careful.
We will not nibble too close
To the roots of things.
We believe we could make a serious
Contribution to ovine life.
We have our own rich traditions
Of the land under the wing of Azazel --
The stark beauty of the landscape,
The stars at night.
It is time for a synthesis.
Let us be one people: the Sheepgoats.
Free and sheltered.
Hungry and content.
And never, never
led To the slaughter.