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!
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