Monday, August 19, 2013

Jack Kennedy, in sixty-one

Jack Kennedy, in sixty-one
Told Congress, "There's a race to run;
Let's reach the moon, let's jump the gun!."

"The times were changin', Dylan sang,
From Liverpool, the Beatles sprang,
And through our land, new music rang.

The good times only roll so far,
Bad things can happen, and they mar
The luster of the brightest star.

That November twenty-three,
The nation sang a threnody
For murdered John F. Kennedy.

Next year, the Civil Rights Act passed,
A law to right some wrongs at last,
Although the work ahead was vast.

Great riots roared, and cities burned
All through the sixties, unrest churned,
A grim response of people spurned.

Soon women learned of their mystique,
As Friedan's book provoked the meek,
And feminists began to speak.

In sixty-eight, new gunshots ring,
When James Earl Ray kills Dr. King,
Providing one more dirge to sing.

Than Jack's brother ran for president
That June, his foul murder sent
Good reason for a third lament.

In Vietnam we suffered more,
And thousands died in pointless war;
As politicians kept the score.

The nation wept beneath its load,
The war drums beat as fury strode,
And marched with death down killing's road.

A generation wanted change,
The flower children pushed exchange
Of war for peace, within their range.

When Mary Jane informed the crew,
"Turn on, drop out," the message flew,
"Make love, not war, that's what we do!"

At college, near and far away,
The students ragged on LBJ;
"How many kids'd you kill today?

Their anger toppled his regime,
With opposition so extreme,
He quit the race, ran out of steam.

The protesting was all about
A senseless war, death's heavy clout,
With "Time for peace!"its constant shout.

What did they want, those kids, now old?
A chance to watch the years unfold,
With normal lives, their stories told.

In sixty-nine, we reached the moon,
The mission done, so opportune;
Jack's promise kept, and mankind's boon.

Let;s sum it up, here's what we got;
War crushed the dreams of Camelot,
And mocked improvements that we wrought.

The decade left a bitter taste,
But still, it wasn't all a waste,
Some good was done, some gains embraced.

Some progress came, for all to see,
More civil rights, more liberty,
But at what cost, what misery?

We yearned for peace; instead, war came,
We saw the bombs and bullets maim
The innocent, their world in flame.

Good will and peace remain the goal,
Although ill deeds still take their toll,
And try the patience of the soul.

Yet men can be both brave and good,
They try for better, and they should,
To build a world in brotherhood,
A dream that's still not understood.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the bright side of mankind continues to try. But does it have to be so hard?