Good Luck, Alabama

Ghazal: America the Beautiful

Alicia Ostriker

Do you remember our earnestness our sincerity
in first grade when we learned to sing America

The Beautiful along with the Star-Spangled Banner
and say the Pledge of Allegiance to America

We put our hands over our first grade hearts
we felt proud to be citizens of America

I said One Nation Invisible until corrected
maybe I was right about America

School days school days dear old Golden Rule Days
when we learned how to behave in America

What to wear, how to smoke, how to despise our parents
who didn’t understand us or America

Only later learning the Banner and the Beautiful
live on opposite sides of the street in America

Only later discovering the Nation is divisible
by money by power by color by gender by sex America

We comprehend it now this land is two lands
one triumphant bully one still hopeful America

Imagining amber waves of grain blowing in the wind
purple mountains and no homeless in America

Sometimes I still put my hand tenderly on my heart
somehow or other still carried away by America

  8 comments for “Good Luck, Alabama

  1. December 12, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    The beauty of love in spite of the pain. Good luck, Alabama. Tears still swell for America the beautiful. We can do this.


  2. jenny_o
    December 12, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to this form of poem and this particular poem, too, Chicken. Fingers crossed here for a good result today.


    • December 12, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      HI Jenny-sure. I just found it this morning and thought the form was interesting also. Thanks for your good vibes:-)


  3. Doug in Oakland
    December 12, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    To quote an irascible old Englishman who is still serving it up all over the world in his seventies:

    “Together we stand, divided we fall”.


    • December 12, 2017 at 11:47 pm

      Hi Doug, I’ve heard it but don’t know who said it-who are you attributing it to?


  4. Doug in Oakland
    December 13, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Roger Waters. I mean there was also the
    “If we do not hang together, we will all hang separately!” ~ Benjamin Franklin.
    But I was thinking of the song “Hey You”:
    “Hey you, don’t tell me there’s no hope at all
    Together we stand, divided we fall”
    I just got a text from Sara down in Huntsville that started with “Damn straight.”


    • December 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Oh-I knew it had to be a musician but couldn’t think who. And wow, Alabama, well done. Damn straight is right!


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