There is a country that has a dream. The dream has no walls and has no gates. It has no roof and it has no floor. The dream stretches wide From sea to shining sea, From craggy peaks to sculptured valleys, From fecund farmland to bustling cities, And from scorched salt flats To moon, sun, and far beyond. The dream is made of dreams Of every woman, man, and child, Not a single dream one tells around a star-strewn fire But a glorious cacophony of every voice Of every dreamer who ever dreamed a better life Than the one he left behind, for we are all immigrants, Even those who crossed the icy straits. There will always be some who came before And some who’ll came after As long as the dream is big enough For dreamers to dream.
January 31, 2020
We came from England, Scotland, Ireland Starving, sick and dying, Swimming or floating unconscious like flotsam On the thunderous seas Picked up, dried and warmed By red-skinned heathens Who welcomed us to their meager meals. We would walk tall, heads held high, Breathing the mountain-fresh air of freedom And tilling the new promised land of equality For anyone willing to work for it. We came from Germany, France, and Italy With our trunks and valises, sacks And handkerchiefs tied on a stick. Friends and relatives from the new world Sent us letters about the mountain-fresh air of freedom, Promises of new lands for tilling Enough for anyone with a strong back And a will to work. We came from China and Japan, Jews from Russia and Poland With their ragged overcoats and sad eyes, Many turned away at Ellis Island Back to pogroms from which they thought to escape To America the beautiful, The land of the free and the brave With a statue welcoming the tired and the poor Yearning to be free. Some were allowed to enter the promised land, The not-so-tired and not-so-poor With enough money to be free. We came from Mexico, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, We came from Lebanon, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Iraq, From Sudan, from Ethiopia, and from New Guinea, To escape the murders, the drugs, the poverty, The criminals, the police, and dictators To pick the grapes, to harvest the crops, To send back home whatever dollars we could, So maybe our children could have a small piece of the dream, The dream of a better life than the one we left. We came from England, Scotland, Ireland, We came from Germany, France, and Italy, We came from China and Japan, Jews from Russia and Poland, We came from Mexico, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, We came from Lebanon, Algeria, Syria, Iran, Iraq, From Sudan, from Ethiopia, and from New Guinea, We would walk tall, heads held high, Breathing the mountain-fresh air of freedom And tilling the new promised land of equality For anyone willing to work for it. To America the beautiful, The land of the free and the brave With a statue welcoming the tired and the poor Yearning to be free. So maybe our children could have a small piece of the dream, The dream of a better life than the one we left.
February 3, 2020
What Have They Done to You?
What have they done to you, my lovely, my brave? What have they done? What have they done? They’ve shot you, they’ve hung you, They’ve burned you, they’ve flung you Back into the drowning seas And heartless deserts. They’ve poked out your eyes, They’ve poured lead in your ears, So you can’t see or hear The difference ‘tween wrong and right. What have they done to you, my lovely brave country? What have they done? What have they done? They’ve turned their backs on hope And outlawed extending a helping hand, Dividing us against each other, Turning neighbors against neighbors. They’ve told us the opinions of fools Are as good as those of wise men. The criminals lord over us, Passing unjust laws and voiding rightful ones. What have they done to you, my lovely brave world? What have they done? What have they done? They’ve told us the earth is so big We can take what we want without giving any back. They’ve poisoned our oceans, rivers, and lakes, They’ve cut down the trees we need to breathe To make superhighways to death, They’ve killed all the flowers and bees, The fish in the seas, They’ve suffocated the skies with Satan’s breath. What have they done to you, What have they done?
February 8, 2020
Mike Stone was born in Columbus Ohio, USA, in 1947. He lived in San Diego and Chicago. Mike played clarinet and saxophone in his high school marching band, dance band, and concert band. He also composed music. He started out with a Fine Arts major but then graduated from Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology. He served in both the US Army (stationed in Germany) and the Israeli Defense Forces. Mike has traveled throughout Europe and to several Arab countries.
Mike has been writing poetry since he was a student at OSU. He has published four books of poetry (The Uncollected Works, Yet another Book of Poetry, Bemused, and Call of the Whippoorwill), a book of essays, and four science fiction novels (The Tin Man, The Rats and the Saps, Whirlpool, and Out of Time). Mike is currently working on his fifth book of poetry (The Hoopoe’s Call) and a fifth science fiction novel (H4N5-2080). He supported his writing habit by working as a computer programmer, specializing in information security.
Mike speaks English and Hebrew, as well as a smattering of Spanish, German, Russian, and a bit of Arabic. He also speaks several computer languages fluently. Now he is retired. Mike moved to Israel in 1978 and lives in Raanana. He is married and has three sons and seven precious grandchildren.
Check out his blog. You can read his latest poetry, short stories, and essays, while they are works in progress. Mike also has an Amazon author’s page.
One thought on “Dreaming—Poems from Mike Stone”
Such beautiful laments. Your words ring true, and I hope that more people see them and take them to heart. Beneath all of the ugliness, the true spirit of the country still lives, the heart of America still beats. There are still many who want to save our amazing land. There is hope – it’s just currently being drowned out by a loud minority. Thank you for sharing such caring words. They resonate.