In the mode of Hugh MacDiarmid’s reply to A E Housman’s
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries; taking The Gift Outright
as its subject, with apology to Robert Frost.

No Gift Outright

The land was not yours before you arrived,
It was her own for thousands of years.
She already had her people – they were hers:
in the forests, on the coasts, and the plains,
while you were still Europe’s complainants;
desiring what you were to be undesired by.

Something you were supposing made you weak,
and you never found it was your own conceit.
Proud as you where you gave yourselves outright,
when your deeds of gift became deeds of war.
Then across the land – Westward you poured,
forever seeking on, beyond what you saw.

And every dead Huron, Navajo, and Sioux,
has now came back – as an answer to you;
while the African you enslaved and balked,
Is alive here now – in the way you walk.
So, make no mistake you cannot escape,
your complicity in Manifest Destiny.

© D G Moody 2023

Poetry by D G Moody The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 38 times
Written on 2023-10-22 at 17:22

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The ending couplet is chilling. And man, I wish Frost was alive to read this.

Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
Well said, and perhaps more broadly applicable.