Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

John Samuel Tieman: By the Rivers of Babylon

in the days of Trump

we played a little jazz

and the fascists


thought they were cool

so they asked us to play

something old school


but how do we sing 

the old songs

if we forget the poetry


the newspapers

the protests in which we cried

this is what democracy looks like


if we forget these freedoms

let our tongues and lips wither

let our lyrics turn to twitter rants


but the fascists asked

for a song

so here’s some old school blues


happy is he who treats Trump

as Trump treated the immigrant

happy is he who builds 


the wall

that leaves Trump

on the side with the desert

Psalm 137 King James Version (KJV)

137 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.


And my favorite version of Psalm 137 —

Immigrants crossing Rio Grande River

Poem and compilation copyright 2019 John Samuel Tieman

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