THE THEFT OUTRIGHT*
by Eugene Mahon. Click to play the arr. Otto-Werner Mueller: Star-Spangled Banner
How to take back a stolen country, yes,
That’s the oath of every citizen, the vow.
When truth is slain can men and women still bless
The dawn, the sweep of light across the brow
Of hope, that old faith in the land that was ours
Before the theft outright, that alternate truth,
Reality, combed over, spawns when courage cowers
And nature itself loses its claw and tooth?
Yes we can still bear us like the rivers,
Yes we can still cherish the mountain springs,
The deserts, the forests, the prairies, those wild givers
Of earth’s resilience, that throat of the land that sings.
The gift outright is ours forever. No thief
Can steal a birthright: such tenure will be brief.
– Eugene Mahon
- Eugene Mahon M.D., is a Training and Supervising psychoanalyst at Columbia Psychoanalytic. His articles have been published widely in major psychoanalytic journals. His books include A Psychoanalytic Odyssey: Painted Guinea Pigs, Dreams, and Other Realities (Karnac, 2014), Rensel the Redbit: A Psychoanalytic Fairy Tale (Karnac,2015) and a volume of poetry, Bone Shop of the Heart (IPBooks, 2017). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Otto-Werner Mueller (1926-2016). Professor of conducting at the Curtis Institute of Music, Julliard School of Music, and Yale School of Music. Music director of the Yale Philharmonic.
- Eugene Mahon was born in Ireland and emigrated to the US in 1964. Otto-Werner Mueller was born in Germany and emigrated, by way of Canada, to the US in 1967.
- *The title is a bitterly ironic allusion to Robert Frost’s great poem The Gift Outright, which the aged poet read at the Inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1960.
- Photo by Annie Spratt.
- Also read: The President Tweets like a Bird
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