America Heard Walt Whitman Singing

America heard you singing, Walt,
And stopped to listen. That’s our fault.
Now our “poets” ever since
Have written stuff that makes one wince.

They say you’ve been our nation’s bard;
We should have been more on our guard.
Now our narcissistic screeds
Blight the land like noxious weeds.

Self-absorption is the tool
That makes a poet a goddam fool.
You should be made to pay a fee
For setting such a poor e.g..

Poetry should reach our minds
But your stuff’s just a rant in lines.
You’ve dragged us back. We have no hope
Of catching up with Donne or Pope.

As for your democratic bearing,
I didn’t see you greatly caring
When your Captain’s lust to ravage
Gave the world “collateral damage.”

Even fig leaves teach us something.
But leaves of grass cover nothing.
I wish you were at least a clown,
So we could laugh you out of town.

Dayton, Ohio, 2011