Genevieve Taggard on US Immigration Policy

Like many people, I've been appalled by the rise of nativist racism in the US in the last couple of years & in particular in the current presidential campaigns. I've wanted to write something & have twice sat down to attempt some kind of statement, if not an analysis, of the phenomenon, but both times I just wound up sputtering helplessly & inarticulately. This morning, though, I was working on the syllabus for my Modern American Poetry class next semester, when I came across "Ode in Time of Crisis" by Genevieve Taggard in Cary Nelson's anthology [follow link for complete text]. Taggard, writing during the Second World War, eloquently expresses my own feelings. Here are the first two stanzas:
Now in the fright of change when bombed towns vanish In fountains of debris We say to the stranger coming across the sea Not here, not here, go elsewhere! Here we keep Bars up. Wall out the danger, tightly seal The ports, the intake from the alien world we fear. It is a time of many errors now. And this the error of children when they feel But cannot say their terror. To shut off the stream In which we moved and still move, if we move. The alien is the nation, nothing more nor less. How set ourselves at variance to prove The alien is not the nation. And so end the dream. Forbid our deep resource from whence we came, And the very seed of greatness.
_________________________________ Note: The companion website for Nelson's Modern American Poetry is well worth looking at, providing commentary & background information on the poets in the anthology itself.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

3 thoughts on “Genevieve Taggard on US Immigration Policy”

  1. PERISHING REPUBLICS DRINK A BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE WHEN HEARTLEAPS AND DEEP HOPES
    OF PEACE SINK INTO WARTIMES

    Here a bearable past is choked used perceptions.
    Glowing bars cooled down.
    Emotions, squads of geese.
    It’s a strange world as all old poets know
    and bouncing off of older poets show.
    Dreams are a barren barn.
    We all now live midway on the block
    on the railroad side where the moron
    bleats and clarion blasts clutch
    at self-contempt warbling and jugging
    in the dust masquerading as common sense.
    Absence of proof doesn’t mean an opposite.
    Dogs delight to bark and bite, but
    little children, no, Ruth Mycue warned.
    Now she and my others dead, I tell it you.
    Listen, children, as you drink your beer
    we have much to fear: a republic is ending.

    EDWARD MYCUE

  2. and, joseph, may i add another of my poems from the http://www.poetsagainstthe war.org. if so, i hope this will attach. ed
    em Title Poem Date
    mycue, edward PERISHING REPUBLICS DRINK A BLOOD-DIMMED TIDE WHEN HEARTLEAPS AND DEEP DREAMS OF PEACE SINK 12/22/2005
    mycue, edward BLOOD IN THE SNOW 12/26/2005

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