The songs America once sang,
paeans to prosperity,
were only briefly interrupted
by dirges of depression,
rapidly forgotten
when the ailing economy
pleased us with recovery.

We still had hopes for tomorrow.

As the factories grow silent
unemployment lines expand,
job opportunities decline,
the service sector beckons
the liberal arts majors
who thrived in sheltered campuses,
now cast adrift on harsher streets.

We do not sing the fraying dream.

And as anticipation fades
the bitter herb of failure
pervades our damaged systems
suffering from rejections,
driving some of us to strike out
at wives, lovers, children, schools,
self-destructive blood baths.

So we lose the gift of song.

• “Anthem” is from Gary’s just released book of poetry entitled Perceptions

Gary Beck spent his life as a theater director/playwright. He has had 21 poetry books, 7 novels, 3 short story collections and 1 book of essays published. Gary’s original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off-Broadway in New York City, where he resides. Read other articles by Gary.