The Presidential Inauguration is less than three weeks away.  Soon, a bigoted sociopath sporting a fake tan and bad toupee (not to mention, the most feckless cabinet in history) will be running our country.  How have we strayed so hopelessly off course, so far from our forefathers’ vision?  I mourn the America of my childhood, to which I pledged my allegiance with my hand over my heart – a land of hope that promised liberty and justice for ALL.  The piece below is an ELEGY, a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, usually a funeral song or a lament for the dead.  To ramp up the difficulty factor and kill two poetic forms with one stone, it also meets the exacting criteria of a VILLANELLE.



America, what has become of thee?
One man, one vote our motto, yet we mock it
where money silences democracy

Test scores measure kids’ proficiency
while teaching them to think not on the docket
America, what has become of thee?

In fear, we forfeit civil liberties,
abide elected hands in corporate pockets
and money silences democracy

A wall, our immigration policy
Just slam the door on foreigners and lock it!
America, what has become of thee?

The war machine rolls on eternally,
its Big Wheels churning suffering into profit,
the money silencing democracy

Yet, mired in patriotic fantasy,
we raise our fists to any who would knock it
America, what has become of thee?
where money silences democracy

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24 thoughts on “TOO LATE TO BE GREAT AGAIN?

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 10:11 am

      I fear our nation is being slowly brainwashed. Kids are not taught to think for themselves. Money is making the world go round. Adults feel disenfranchised and powerless, so we crawl further into our shells rather than unite, mobilize, fight back. The whole thing is a recipe for disaster. People need to WAKE UP.

      Liked by 3 people

      • pranabaxom January 1, 2017 / 11:41 am

        In a democracy where one person, one vote is not sacrosanct, it is going to be an uphill battle. Nothing is impossible.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. circumstance227 January 1, 2017 / 4:20 am

    This is a terrific poem. The elegy is the perfect form to express the sense of loss and mourning so many of us feel. It is like the IDEA of America has died and cynicism won.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Thanks, 227. It’s a hybrid, a Villan-elegy. Sweet, sad refrains mourning America as I once knew it, cemented together with rhyme. I wanted the poem to end differently, but it steered itself to a truer place–that we are a mess of ignorance and corruption and paradoxically still believe we are the greatest country on earth.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 10:24 am

      Seems no hero on a white horse is going to ride in and save the day, so off to Hell in a Handbasket we go…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. chevvy8 January 1, 2017 / 9:06 am

    Yes, the new year brings us back to reality. I guess we all have to have faith that we shall overcome whatever the consequences of our choices and actions. I’m enjoying your adventures into new poetic structures. Would be great to try one of these.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 10:40 am

      I found my list of the Poet’s Billow challenges from last April (all the ones you met with such aplomb!) and a chapter in my Poet’s Market guide regarding various forms and their rules. I don’t usually say “I’m going to write a Villanelle this week.” I study the forms and tuck them into my poetic toolbox for later. When an idea strikes, I just write whatever words come out and slide them into whatever form they are crying out to be.
      A fav quote: “It will be OK in the end… if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.” Here’s to hope. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • chevvy8 January 1, 2017 / 11:45 am

        That Poet’s Billow challenge will always connect us. I’ve been following another blogger’s 31 day challenge and have really enjoyed her poetry. Here is a link if you would like to read.
        I think that is a great quote to keep!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 12:00 pm

        Right you are, Chevvy. The tunnel is long and the light is small, but I woke up in a warm bed today, then found that my amazing orchid had bloomed again (third time this year!!!) Thanks for the link to Random’s challenge, I will check it out–more tools for the toolbox! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Just Joan January 3, 2017 / 10:43 am

        Hey Chev, I had a chance to check out your friend’s poetry challenge–the prompts weren’t as hard as Poet’s Billow, but the poetry she wrote in response to them was great, very thought-provoking. The whole exercise is quite telling about the writer and her life and what’s important to her, just as yours was. Maybe more of the person comes out when they don’t have time to filter, second-guess, revise a piece to death. I’m convincing myself to try it, though I’m not certain when, or if, I will post the results. Anyway, thanks for sharing that. It just reinforces what I already thought to be true, that writing poetry is a great way to get to know yourself. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • chevvy8 January 3, 2017 / 12:29 pm

        Hello Joan. I’m glad you enjoyed her poetry. I was looking at one of these stream of consciousness prompts and testing myself on them yesterday. It is amazing how personal those get and you wonder where all the words and emotions came from.
        I do still think the poetry challenge was quite taxing since some things needed a bit of research. You recall the one we both did after listening to that Czechoslovakian piece? I was amazed at how we tackled it😀

        I am feeling a bit restless so a prompt or challenge would help. I may have to wait though due to other priorities.
        On your point about whether you post it or not, do what you are comfortable with because it can leave you feeling vulnerable.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. T. Wayne January 1, 2017 / 9:07 am

    Truly conveys the sense of disillusionment many of us are feeling with our government, and the people chosen to lead.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 10:46 am

      We give up everything in the name of security, not realizing the worst of the perpetrators are right under our noses. Anyone who thinks Trump and his cronies will save us, or make us great again, is in for a rude shock. But maybe we need a rude shock to wake us up, to clear that patriotic fog in our brains. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 1:40 pm

      A favorite quote: “It will be OK in the end… if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.” Here’s to hope.


  4. Joyce Robinson January 1, 2017 / 1:22 pm

    Very good Joan brought a tear to my eye.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 1:42 pm

      Thanks, Joyce. Glad the poem connected with you, a summation of our very real and very sad situation. 😦


  5. L. T. Garvin, Author January 1, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Most excellent, Joan. I think you and I are missing the same America. I’m glad you introduced me to a Villainelegy 😉 I live in a red as a beet state, and I’m always amazed when I hear these ignorant people say we are the greatest country on earth when we have not been making the greatest decisions. I truly hope we can make it through 4 years of possible horror.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just Joan January 1, 2017 / 3:51 pm

      Thanks, Lana. Your deeming the poem “excellent” is music to my ears 🙂 You know poetry; I know you do by the way you write it. I live in a so-called “swing state,” in a small Blue Zone surrounded by a vast expanse of Red. I don’t know what these people are thinking… but when somebody’s little fingers push the NUKE button and we all vaporize into a huge mushroom cloud, I’m sure it will be the GREATEST mushroom cloud ever. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but it seems everyone’s trigger fingers grow itchier by the day. Prayer has moved up a few notches on my 2017 To-Do List. 🙂


      • L. T. Garvin, Author January 1, 2017 / 5:55 pm

        Joan, thank you so much for the compliment, but I feel that I learn more and more everyday by reading the talented writers on WordPress. This includes your lovely verses. I am greatly impressed at all the poetic forms that you tackle. You know that beyond a doubt, whatever happens in the next four years will be the greatest anything, lol. Praying is at the top of my list, I think maybe even the agnostics will be praying as well, ha ha.

        Liked by 2 people

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