By, Donna M. Monnig
There’s a lot I could say about this poem, but I’ll refrain from engaging in a lengthy commentary debating the pros and cons, the comparisons and ideology, and let this unknown poet’s work speak for itself.
The word America in this poem could be replaced with the name of nearly any country in the world and still have the same meaning. The sad truth is that the modern world has become complacent and indifferent. We see the homeless in some litter covered, graffiti lined alley way, digging through a dumpster overflowing with contaminated by products of an affluent society, while shivering and shrugging deeper into their tattered rag of a coat, trying unsuccessfully to escape the chill seeping into their bones from the bitter breeze and drizzling rain – and we think how terrible poverty is. We feel sorry for the poor unfortunate soul forced to live in such squalor, then we walk on by all the while thinking about how someone should do something about it as we head to the next appointment on our much too busy schedule. Oh, we’ll think about that person from time to time, wondering what ever became of them, wondering why someone doesn’t help people like that, we’ll mention how terrible it is to our friends over dinner or while playing a game of cards, never realizing that the primary difference between us and the downtrodden soul living on the fringe of society is that they were simply dealt a less fortunate hand of cards than us.
Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do unto the least of your brethren, you do unto me.” If that doesn’t put this poem into perspective than I don’t know what will.
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”