Fayette Jones-Ziegler

c 2009
written in 1986

I. The Great American Desert

Out beyond where once was forest,
passed the mighty river's bank,
stretched the broad expanse of plainsland,
reaching out until it flanked
on the west the great mountains,
on the north the arctic white,
reaching out to the horizon,
broad and endless in its flight. 8

An ambiance of open spaces --
wide open spaces of the west;
here it was they sought their refuge,
so that they, unlike the rest,
need not bow beneath the white man,
feel the crushing of his weight,
break against his endless hunger --
thus, could they escape such fate. 16

Here was land no white man wanted,
called it desert in his books,
dry and yellow, useless to him,
escaping all his envious looks.
When they came, they kept on going,
as a Great Desert it was known,
teeming with great and wild bison
who by the millions made this home. 24

Where were those would live as brothers,
Pilgrims Squanto lent his hand,
those who joined hands to crush
the Pequot and their murderous band,
they who like Franklin sought
to forge one nation of us all?
Now the plan was but Renewal,
'savage' was their fork-tongued call. 32

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