Dreaming—Poems from Mike Stone

The Dream

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

The Dreamers

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.


Author:

The focus of "The BeZine," a publication of The Bardo Group Beguines, is on sacred space (common ground) as it is expressed through the arts. Our work covers a range of topics: spirituality, life, death, personal experience, culture, current events, history, art, and photography and film. We share work here that is representative of universal human values however differently they might be expressed in our varied religions and cultures. We feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” This is a space where we hope you’ll delight in learning how much you have in common with “other” peoples. We hope that your visits here will help you to love (respect) not fear. For more see our Info/Mission Statement Page.

One thought on “Dreaming—Poems from Mike Stone

  1. 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.

    Like

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