God Bless America

By John Fuller b. 1937 John Fuller
When they confess that they have lost the penial bone and outer space is
Once again a numinous void, when they’re kept out of Other Places,   
And Dr Fieser falls asleep at last and dreams of unburnt faces,   
When gold medals are won by the ton for forgetting about the different races,
God Bless America.

When in the Latin shanties the scented priesthood suffers metempsychosis
And with an organ entry tutti copula the dollar uncrosses   
Itself and abdicates, when the Pax Americana cuts its losses
And a Pinkville memorial’s built in furious shame by Saigon’s puppet bosses,
God Bless America.

When they can be happy without noise, without knowing where on earth they’ve been,
When they cease to be intellectual tourists and stop wanting to be clean,
When they send their children to bed at the proper time and say just what they mean,
And no longer trust the Quarterly Symposium and the Vicarious Screen,
God Bless America.

When they feel thoroughly desolated by the short-haired Christ they pray to,
When they weep over their plunder of Europe stone by stone, releasing Plato
And other Freshman Great Books, when they switch off their Hoover and unplug Nato,
Pulling the chain on the CIA and awarding Time a rotten potato,
God Bless America.

When qua-birds, quickhatches and quinnets agree at last to admit the quail,
When Captain Queeg is seen descending from the bridge as small and pale
As everyone else, and is helped with sympathetic murmurs to the rail,
When the few true defenders of love and justice survive to tell the tale,
Then, perhaps then, God Bless America.

John Fuller, “God Bless America” from Collected Poems, published by Chatto & Windus. Used by permission of The Random House Group Limited, http://www.randomhouse.co.uk.

Source: Collected Poems (1996)

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Poet John Fuller b. 1937


Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Refrain

 John  Fuller


A prolific poet, novelist, children’s writer, critic, and editor, John Fuller has written or edited nearly 50 books, including more than a dozen collections of poetry. Fuller was born in Kent, England, and his father was the poet Roy Fuller. John Fuller was mentored by W.H. Auden and also influenced by Eliot, Graves, and Stevens. His poetry displays a virtuosic ease within the constraints of formal, metered verse; it is a poetry . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics


Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Refrain

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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