Sweet Lady, Awake! by President John Tyler

Original text of “Sweet Lady, Awake!” by President John Tyler. Library of Congress.

Sweet lady awake, from your slumbers awake,
Weird beings we come o’er hill and through brake
To sing you a song in the stillness of night
Oh, read you our riddle fair lady aright?
We are sent by the one whose found heart is your own,
Who mourns in thy absence and sighs all alone.
Alas, he is distant—but tho’ far, far away,
He thinks of you, Lady, by night and by day.
     Sweet lady awake, sweet lady awake!
His hearth, altho’ lonely, is bright with your fame,
And therefore we breathe not the breath of his name.
For oh! if your dreams have response in your tone,
Long since have you known it as well as your own.
We are things of the sea, of the earth, and the air,
But ere you again to your pillow repair,
Entrust us to say you gave ear to our strain,
And were he the minstrel you would listen again.
     Sweet lady awake, sweet lady awake!


President John Tyler. USA. 19th Century.


President John Tyler was the tenth president of the United States of America. He was born March 29th, 1790 in Charles City County, Virginia, and served as President from 1841 to 1845 after serving as Vice President to President Harrison who passed of typhoid fever / pneumonia only a month into his tenure. President Tyler is credited with the annexation of The Republic of Texas from Mexico, however his legacy is cloaked in controversy as he is the only United States President buried under the Confederate Flag, and not the flag of the United States of America.

From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, I Was Undone by President George Washington

Original text of the sonnet, “From Your Bright Sparkling Eyes, I Was Undone” by President George Washington. Library of Congress.


From your bright sparkling Eyes, I was undone;
Rays, you have, more transparent than the sun,
Amidst its glory in the rising Day,
None can you equal in your bright array;
Constant in your calm and unspotted Mind;
Equal to all, but will to none Prove kind,
So knowing, seldom one so Young, you’l Find
Ah! woe’s me that I should Love and conceal,
Long have I wish’d, but never dare reveal,
Even though severely Loves Pains I feel;
Xerxes that great, was’t free from Cupids Dart,
And all the greatest Heroes, felt the smart.


George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. He was born February 22nd, 1732 and held office from 1789 to 1797.

Poetry and Politics

The political environment in the United States of America, the whole world, is volatile. I don’t think there has been a more contentious election cycle from election campaigning through end of first term that has severed the unity of many people in the nation, and divided everything from men and women, to family structures, to community and friends, and deepened the well of political prejudice. As artists of the written word, there is no doubt that these societal issues may come out in the work of poet and other artists. Activist poetry, more prevalent today on both sides of the political aisle in America, and scattered through every polarized spectrum of politics worldwide, overtly addresses these ideas and philosophies and in some cases become its call to arms, its pool of inspiration. This political schism has also shown the hand of propagandists, and has shown how the general public does not care for the celebrity and affluent-type dictating political opinions and instructions. Along with separation of church and state, the separation of state and entertainment is requested. While an artist like Dolly Parton may find this obvious and easy to do, it may be hopeless for a poet. A trick of the trades is to be able to balance the artistic creative with real-world conditions and the necessities thereof, like the necessity of money to live comfortably and validly. But to be able to have an artistic career and a political opinion may be no easy task; a delicate balance. Poets and artists like myself, however, whom seem to be overt in their opinions in some public domains, will not intermingle their political opinion into certain aspects of their creativity. So, readers will never see posts on The Root of Many Returns dot com promoting any political party, though members of my personal Twitter stream may be privy to some pretty heavy expressions of political opinion and secularism, readers may experience art that expresses political view. The most obvious that comes to mind is my poem, End the Fed, published in December 2019 on this website.

There is no room for poetry in politics, but the same cannot be said about the opposite. While I have not come across any legislation or political speech that was overtly poetic, unless you think Truman and Kennedy were merely full of symbolism, and MLK allegory and metaphor, I have found certain American presidents turned to poetry for release and expression in various tones and topics. There, too, is also the poets presented at presidential inaugurations, poets of the American Revolution like Emerson and Longfellow, and even peculiar musings like “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr., and made popular by singer/songwriter Al Wilson (included at the aft of this entry) that have been injected into the American political scene by figures like President Trump who used it as a metaphor for illegal immigration. For the pleasure of the readers, and for historical pertinence, The Root of Many Returns is proud to present a brief series: Presidential Poems, poetry by American presidents, to be followed by a series of patriotic poems, industrial and post-industrial revolution poetry that honors and reveres the United States of America.

 


The Snake
by Oscar Brown Jr.

On her way to work one mornin’
Down the path alongside the lake
A tender-hearted woman saw a poor half-frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
“Oh well,” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
“Take me in oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
She wrapped him up all cozy in a curvature of silk
And then laid him by the fireside with some honey and some milk
Now she hurried home from work that night as soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she’d taken in had been revived
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful,” she cried
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite
“Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,” sighed the snake
“I saved you,” cried that woman
“And you’ve bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
”Take me in, oh tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in oh tender woman,“ sighed the snake.

President Trump read “The Snake” by Oscar Brown Jr. on the campaign trail during the 2016 Presidential Election cycle. He read the poem as a metaphor for illegal immigration. What else could this poem represent in political context?

 

 

From Q


 

The entire world is watching.
Patriots from around the world
are praying for AMERICA.
We are all bound by a feeling
deep inside, a feeling that cannot
be publicly expressed for fear
of ridicule, a feeling that challenges
the mainstream (narrative),
against that which we are told
to accept and dare not question;
put simply, that people are being
abused by those in power and
times is running out.
Remember the battles
of Lexington and Concord:

“Give Me Liberty
or Give Me Death!”

For far too long
we have been silent
and allowed our bands
of strength we once formed
to defend FREEDOM and LIBERTY
to deteriorate.
We became divided.
We became weak.
We elected TRAITORS
to govern us.
We allowed EVIL
to prey on us.
Those who claimed
to represent us
gave us false hope,
made false promises.
The evil and corruption
only grew.

This is more than party politics.
This is about restoring OLD GLORY.
This is about saving our land
and our people from those
who wish us harm.
This is about preserving our REPUBLIC.
This is about preserving our SAFETY.
This is about restoring our STRENGTH.
This is about LIFE, LIBERTY, and
the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
This is about PROTECTING our children.
THIS IS ABOUT SAVING AMERICA.
We are all God’s children.
We are FATHERS.
We are MOTHERS.
We are DAUGHTERS.
We are SONS.
We are BROTHERS.
We are SISTERS.
We do not look at race.
We do not look at skin color.
We are UNITED in these STATES OF AMERICA.
We are, and will always be, PATRIOTS.
WE MUST RISE AGAIN.
WE MUST UNITE AGAIN.
WE MUST FIGHT AGAIN.
FOR GOD & COUNTRY.
GOD BLESS AMERICA.
WWG1WGA!!!

 

“From Q” is apoem written by Q. All rights reserved. 

 

First Thought

Widen our paths of
enlightenment, great poet.
Unveil our eyes from
the smokescreen
the world lays before us.
Show us the stars
and the heavens
mechanic clock
so we may hear
the ticking tock
of time eternal.
Reveal to us,
masterful artisan,
the grandeur of god
and the incarnates
that surround him;
reveal to us death
and show us the fears
that we push away.
Only you can do this
with your shaman quill,
only you can expose us
to a higher truth
we would deign to see
if given the choice.
Even now as you spiral dance
and burn and build new paths,
show us the light of the sun
as it shares the sky with the moon.
Show us the dark of the night
as it greets the sunny day. Dance.
The eternal trance of thought
weighing not on our minds;
strip away the corporeal pleasures
of society; rid our words of everyday
life and mediocrity; take us above
the boundaries of reality, above
ephemeral solidarity; leave these
words barren of what we know
of this world; leave them full of
promise so that as the shadows
set permanent in our eyes, with
divine light shall we see.

 

 

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“First Thought” is a poem written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. “First Thought” is forthcoming in Michael’s new collection of poetry, The Vanishing Poet. Out April 21, 2020 from Virgogray Press.

 

Dissociative Drip Drops of Unwanted Musings

Sitting in the cordial mythic
reality paved as actuality,
a venue synthesized by the
conmen of history, the sun
rises behind the eyes. It breaches
the bubble, pops the protective
layer of lies cocooned over us.
The world tick-tocks in double time
dreams and schemes overlapping,
we pull the intravenous matrix rich
soup we’ve been given to drown
our illusion in delusions of ardent
life, compromising congregations,
concessions  and conditions for the
corruption made law by the influence
of greedy bankers and the businesses,
the bureaucracies, and the governments
they own. The corporate life condones
it; prefers the snake to eat itself; prefers
imposed symbiosis, a parasite sick
needing to live on the hollow bones
of angel wings, the molted feathers of
infirmed black and white doves. It
identifies as a mite, a diseased flea,
a lethal bacteria, a viruses virus, a
cancer.

Fault
is the loss of path,
the removal of self
from the sovereign
being, the sovereign
entity, the sovereign
source, the multi-
dimensional, dark
matter, quanta-logical
unknown embryonic
galvanizing energy
given awareness,
then gifted free will;
now, we can no longer
judge ourselves or
hold ourselves
responsible for the life
we are living. Now,
we pass the torch,
and pass the torch
on any opportunity
given by divine
sanction: the call
to open our eyes,
to open our minds,
to remember; and
to finally decide a
path to take, to be a
conduit to ascension,
to exist as one believes,
to fade into non-existence,
to continuously learn and refine,
to be a cog in the wheel; to sigh
and groan, or step back, look inside
breathe deep, and appreciate.

 

“Dissociative Drip Drops of Unwanted Musings” is a poem written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

 

St. Cristobal

A new dawn arises.
One in which the sun of old
has red shifted away, has collapsed
and expanded, has swollen and reddened
and burst with every electron and molecule
its life blood, its soul energy, and it has buckled
into a distant, miniscule star white as the grave’s
effervescent tomb.

A new dawn arises.
One in which the dew of old
is not frozen as before; one where pedal
and plant awake to the fresh drops of the sky
sliding to their stems. Dewy dew drops drop catching
the sunlight in their eyes, reflecting the dreams
of old when love and mercy were in unison,
together, living for the stars.

 

“St, Cristobal” is a poem written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. “St. Cristobal” was published as an “Epilogue” in the epic poem, The Winter King, published in 2010 by Shadow Archer Press. The Winter King is out of print with no current plans for reprint. 

Triple Leaf

She’s
playing the lotto
again, puffing on
that pipe like peace
is going out of
style.

Indian tribes,
ladies and hippies before
receding hairlines turned
them to businessmen,
knew a thing or two about
connecting the soul,
the spirit energy,
with everything
through
the power
of love.

Standing before the arch
of acceptance, light rays beaming
between sympathy and empathy,
dance around the fire of forgiveness,
discern if it is for herself or others,
she bows her feathered brow
with respect and not a crooked
bone in her body.

Crying as if this state of mind
could never be achieved,
she can’t stop now.
She won’t turn away
or surrender at the next
checkpoint. She’ll roll the
dice and play the game
until they call her number.

 

 

“Triple Leaf” is a poem written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

Why 1979?

Four years before I was born I saw you;
you were recalling something about a broken leg.
We were at a zoo. I saw us a on T.V. screen,
running through a stone maze,
me behind you and you waving your arms, both
of us in a hurry, saying something silly, though the truth
is we were afraid the lions would get us. A strange zoo
with the dens of giant cats perched above the embankment
of stone walls, no barrier to keep them away, at their prey
they hurtled down the rock hill and crag.

And then I was lying next to you,
my arm around you like we used to sleep
half kissing, half biting your smiling cheek,
your grin pinching the flesh of your eye
between the brow. And it was 1979,
four years before I was born and then it was
2001 and I had only just met you,
and terrified, I failed to defend
you when mugged on the streets.
Shattered black space, and a fizzle of stars,
I don’t remember the pain my broken nose
brought, I didn’t know the blood was gushing,
but a mad eye on the punk, clenched teeth at the thug,
serpent skin fleshed in crackling feigned anger.
I missed his fist as it went for your face,
cracked your teeth, crooked your jaw.

Now it’s 2010 and my arm is wrapped around air
as morning stirs awake. No blanket, no pillow, just your ghost
solid in my mind and I embrace, warm and close, present
like a fact of history, laying like lovers discovered in each other’s
arms. A warm memory resonant, a sunbeam curtailed
and furloughed like a warm spoon against my body,
fetal hearth, emanating like a bed of coals shimmers
with glistening embers dancing in the haze. My
heart sinks into the magma, burns magenta
to neon carnation, electrifies plasma,
swells light, muffles blood hues to open eyes
and lulls them to sleep, lulls in the comfort
of dismemberment, in gradual change,
in separation anxiety  that brings me back.
1979 was the last time I saw you.
We were young then, as we are now,
trying to finish what we’d begun,
but everything’s fucked up
this time around.

 

“Why 1979?” is a poem written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.

Coming Soon 
by Michael Aaron Casares

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The Vanishing Poet a new collection of poetry by Michael Aaron Casares.