Excerpt, Introduction

O America! how I thirst for you to shine

& swirl in peace

on your tiny globe

out on the arm of a Spiral Galaxy


we call the Milky Way

swathed in a sheath of glowing gas

100,000 light years across!

I am singing you America


I am singing your wilderness

your smoggy cities, your art

& your wild creativity!

I am singing your crazy inventors

I sing the Hula Hoop & the Harley Hog & the oil of Hopper

& I am singing your schisms & controversies

O Nation, Vast & Seething

Day & Night & Dream!


War and secrecy

make writing America

a twistsome thing

and how many thousands of times

have I shook my head with the

ghastly sudden knowledge

of this and that

but how many thousand more


have I smiled at the millions

who have made my nation a marvel.