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Taking a Stand on Iraq

And a vast paranoia sweeps across the land

And America turns the attack on its Twin Towers

Into the beginning of the Third World War

The war with the Third World

And the terrorists in Washington

Are drafting all the young men

And no one speaks

And they are rousting out

All the ones with turbans

And they are flushing out

All the strange immigrants

And they are shipping all the young men

To the killing fields again

And no one speaks

And when they come to round up

All the great writers and poets and painters

The National Endowment of the Arts of Complacency

Will not speak

While all the young men

Will be killing all the young men

In the killing fields again

So now is the time for you to speak

All you lovers of liberty

All you lovers of the pursuit of happiness

All you lovers and sleepers

Deep in your private dreams

Now is the time for you to speak

O silent majority

Before they come for you

LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI is San Francisco’s first poet laureate (1998) and the owner and founder of City Lights Bookstore. This poem first appeared on the City Lights Web site

 

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