Archive for October 8th, 2017

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The American by Roy Addison Helton

I have no race, nor ancient wrongs:
I do not even know
How many of my sires came
From countries far too far to name:
I am a mongrel with no shame
For what is in my blood.

I dare not boast a single line,
Nor show one chance heroic strain;
I cannot feel myself the seed
Of some far patriot’s stirring deed —
It does not seem to be a need
Among my friends.

For of my fathers, some were rude,
Some old and sick for solitude;
A few were mad for blood and gold,
And others merely poor and cold
And kind.

And some sought food and some sought wine;
Some were for lust and some for land —
Now all their gathered griefs are mine,
And all their hopes are in my hand:

Some sought the stars of other skies,
And some new worlds to win and sway;
Some wanted freedom for their eyes
And some had need to think and say;

Some craved the gift to He alone
With labor done and heart at ease,
To heed the pausing monotone
Of laughing winds among the trees;

Some were for women, some for sleep;
Some craved salt kisses of the sea;
And some were fools that sin and weep —
Now all their strains are fleshed in me.

From: Helton, Roy, Outcasts in Beulah Land, and Other Poems, 1918, Henry Holt and Company: New York, pp. 74-75.
(https://archive.org/details/outcastsinbeulah00heltrich)

Date: 1918

By: Roy Addison Helton (1886-1977)