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Video: Lawrence Ferlinghetti reads “Pity the Nation” (text included)


Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (born 1919) is an American poet, painter, liberal activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. Author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration, he is best known for A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), a collection of poems that has been translated into nine languages, with sales of more than one million copies


Pity The Nation

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
and whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
except to praise conquerers and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world by force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee sweet land of liberty!

Email subscribers may click on the title of this post to watch the video.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti

5 comments on “Video: Lawrence Ferlinghetti reads “Pity the Nation” (text included)

  1. John Samuel Tieman
    July 16, 2020

    A prophetic voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cole Brecheen
    August 5, 2017

    Interesting that this video was uploaded to YouTube on January 11, 2013. Somehow it feels like it is more true now than it was then.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. triciaknoll
    August 2, 2017

    And Emma Lazarus… The Trump person who says her poem is no longer relevant because it was put on the Statue of Liberty after the monument was in place. What would this person think of tombstones?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. P.R.A. Blogs
    July 31, 2017

    Reblogged this on Poetry Matters Project Ltd. and commented:
    I visited City Lights Bookstore this summer and found this poem on a postcard in the store. see it on Instagram.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. anisioluiz2008
    July 30, 2017

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

    Liked by 1 person

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