Transparent Words - Poetry


Alice Folkart



A New Song
(a poem after Walt Whitman's, I Hear America Singing)


I hear America singing,

stinging songs, carols of perils, I hear,

I fear.


Sing the mechanics, blithe and wrong,

strong on selling me a valve job

or maybe a pace maker. Or a car! Take her,

she's yours.


The mason singing - soon to be a Shriner

convention denizen and a fat cigar, no trowel,

thrown in the towel long ago.  He'll go far.


Boatman, sing what belongs to you,

your boat, you know it by rote,

and make your payments on time.


Shoemaker, hatter, wood-cutter,

sing no more, their craft off-shored

or roboticized, not a word, not a tune.


Mothers don't sing these days as they

hire another nanny, cancel a meeting

and smoochie say, "I love you," by e-mail.

No plough boys anymore, they work

at the store now, check out the babes

plying their trade, singing their own songs.


Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,

the TV, the game show, lottery, slots,

downsizing, uploading, digitizing songs - a buck a piece.


All singing together, new songs for old,

bold songs, and still melodious,

perhaps even robust and friendly, I hear them.


I hear America singing.


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