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“I WANT THE WIDE AMERICAN EARTH”

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Before the brave, before the proud builders and workers,
I say I want the wide American earth,
Its beautiful rivers and long valleys and fertile plains,
Its numberless hamlets and expanding towns and towering cities,
Its limitless frontiers, its probing intelligence,
For all the free.

Free men everywhere in my land –
This wide American earth – do not wander homeless,
And are not alone; friendship is our bread, love our air;
And we call each other comrade, each growing with the other,
Each a neighbor to the other, boundless in freedom.

I say I want the wide American earth. . .
I say to you defenders of freedom, builders of peace,
I say to you democratic brothers, comrades of love:
Their judges lynch us; their police hunt us;
Their armies and navies and airmen terrorize us;
Their thugs and stoolies and murderers kill us;
They take away bread from our children;
They ravage our women;
They deny life to our elders.
But I say we have the truth
On our side, we have the future with us;
We have history in our hands, our belligerent hands.
We are millions everywhere,
On seas and oceans and lands;
In air;
On water and all over this very earth.
We are millions working together.
We are building, creating, molding life.
We are shaping the shining structures of love..
We are everywhere, we are everywhere.
We are there when they sentence us to prison for telling the truth;
We are there when they conscript us to fight their wars
We are there when they throw us in concentration camps;
We are there when they come at dawn with their guns.
We are there, we are there,
and we say to them:.

“You cannot frighten us with your bombs and deaths;
You cannot drive us away from our land with your hate and disease;
You cannot command us with your nothing,
Because you are nothing but nothing;
You cannot put us all in your padded jails;
You cannot snatch the dawn of life from us!”

And we say to them:

“Remember, remember.
We shall no longer wear rags, eat stale bread, live in darkness;
We shall no longer kneel on our knees to your false gods;
We shall no longer beg you for a share of life:
Remember, remember
O remember in the deepest midnight of your fear.
We shall emulate the wonder of our women,
The ringing laughter of our children,
The strength and manhood of our men
With a true and honest and powerful love!”

And we say to them:

“We are the creators of a flowering race!”
I say I want the wide American earth.
I say to you too, sharer of my delights and thoughts,
I say this deathless truth,
And more –

For look, watch, listen:
With a stroke of my hand I open the dawn of a new world,
Lift up the beautiful horizon of a new life;
All for you, comrade and my love.
See:
The magnificent tower of our future is afire with truth,
And growing with the fuel of the heart of my heart,
And unfolding and unfolding, and flowering and flowering
In the bright new sun of our world;
All for you, comrade and my wife.
And see:
I cry, I weep with joy,
And the tears are the tears of my people. . .

Before the brave, before the proud builders and workers,
I say I want the wide American earth
For all the free.
I want the wide American earth for my people,
I want my beautiful land.
I want it with my rippling strength and tenderness
Of love and light and truth
For all the free —

Carlos Bulosan

source
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On July 6th, 2017 05:24 am (UTC), zyzyly commented:
That is a powerful poem. It led me to read a bit about Carlos Bulosan. Kind of a sad story.
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On July 7th, 2017 01:58 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Yeah. America is in the Heart was a very depressing read.
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On July 7th, 2017 03:59 am (UTC), zyzyly replied:
My first wife had a cousin down in Delano. We went down to visit once and an old Filipino guy told me a little about the Filipino migrants workers back then. I had known about the Mexican farmworkers and the eventual rise of the Farmworker's Union, but knew nothing of the Filipino experience.

I was going to explain something about California, but then I re-read your profile, because I thought I remembered you had Filipino ancestry. So I saw that you grew up in California too, so no need to explain. I also read your article about becoming a Mormon, which I found quite surprising.
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On July 8th, 2017 12:31 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I remember as a kid we visited Salinas once and talked to an old lady who had known my paternal grandfather when he was a worker in that same period.

I'm not a good missionary when it comes to Mormondom. :/
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