Frank Maguire
The ship of state
By Frank Maguire
June 10, 2010

"The East Wind, an interloper in the dominion of Westerly Weather, is an impassive-faced tyrant with a sharp poniard held behind his back for a treacherous stab."
Joseph Conrad, "The Mirror of the Sea" (1906)

"America! America! God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law"

America the Beautiful

In this twisting sphere, this mortal coil,
The home of the human race,
The winds blow strong and the waters roil,
And all creatures struggle to keep apace.

In this satellite filled with wanting and sate,
Many caught 'twixt corruption and greed,
Strive to keep afloat, in their Ship of State,
And provide for their God-ordained need.

Each passenger who sails in some Bwana's control
Hopes for safety in endless trek,
Suff'ring the seas and tumultuous roll,
They pray that State's Ship will not wreck.

Each confides their Director has wisdom and skill —
But historical reasons to doubt —
When faced with destruction, their "captain" will see
The dangers, and turn about.

But some captains believe, e'en on destruction's brink,
They'll arrive at some un-mapped, safe portal;
And like Ahab they sail, sure that their Ship won't sink,
For they see themselves greater than mortal.

They defy the East Winds and inexorable waves
In their search for Utopian lands,
With not sight to envision abyssal graves —
That the Ship could go down with all hands.

But, there is one Ship called "Columbia,"
Where the people of city and town
Have been Graced with the right to mutiny
Before their Ship goes down.

America, America, God shed His Grace on thee.
No East Wind Assassin's the right to scuttle
Our State Ship of Liberty.

© Frank Maguire


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.


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