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America, America! Analysis

Author: poem of Delmore Schwartz Type: poem Views: 8

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I am a poet of the Hudson River and the heights above it,

            the lights, the stars, and the bridges

I am also by self-appointment the laureate of the Atlantic

            -of the peoples' hearts, crossing it

                         to new America.

I am burdened with the truck and chimera, hope,

            acquired in the sweating sick-excited passage

                         in steerage, strange and estranged

Hence I must descry and describe the kingdom of emotion.

For I am a poet of the kindergarten (in the city)

            and the cemetery (in the city)

And rapture and ragtime and also the secret city in the

  heart and mind

This is the song of the natural city self in the 20th century.

It is true but only partly true that a city is a "tyranny of


(This is the chant of the urban metropolitan and

  metaphysical self

After the first two World Wars of the 20th century)

--- This is the city self, looking from window to lighted


When the squares and checks of faintly yellow light

Shine at night, upon a huge dim board and slab-like tombs,

Hiding many lives. It is the city consciousness

Which sees and says: more: more and more: always more.


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