Poetry response #4

The Coming American

by: Sam Walter Foss

Bring me men to match my mountains;
Bring me men to match my plains, –
Men with empires in their purpose,
And new eras in their brains.
Bring me men to match my praries,
Men to match my inland seas,
Men whose thought shall pave a highway
Up to ampler destinies;
Pioneers to clear Thought’s marshlands,
And to cleanse old Error’s fen;
Bring me men to match my mountains –
Bring me men!
Bring me men to match my forests,
Strong to fight the storm and blast,
Branching toward the skyey future,
Rooted in the fertile past.
Bring me men to match my valleys,
Tolerant of sun and snow,
Men within whose fruitful purpose
Time’s consummate blooms shall grow.
Men to tame the tigerish instincts
Of the lair and cave and den,
Cleans the dragon slime of Nature –
Bring me men!
Bring me men to match my rivers,
Continent cleavers, flowing free,
Drawn by the eternal madness
To be mingled with the sea;
Men of oceanic impulse,
Men whose moral currents sweep
Toward the wide-enfolding ocean
Of an undiscovered deep;
Men who feel the strong pulsation
Of the Central Sea, and then
Time their currents to its earth throb –
Bring me men!

Date of reading: October 23rd

Source: http://www.thesocialleader.com/2011/11/sunday-poem-coming-american-sam-walter-foss/

Main Theme: strength and power

My response: When I first read the title, I thought the poem would be of a single man (an American man) and talking about his ways; I was surprised to find that the poem was about strong men, being compared to the strong land. The author repeats “bring me men” throughout the poem, giving the impression that the narrator is a leader or someone in power that wants more men for his army, or simply to populate his land. He compares characteristics of the land to the men that he wants, saying they should match his prairies and his mountains and his strength. This suggests that he wants men perhaps to work his soil and land – or perhaps he is just really proud of his land and thinks it is strong and healthy, just like men should be. I think the title, if it is an important part of the poem, would serve the purpose of having readers induct by reasoning that the men or the land is american – and that in context, America has very strong men that are needed. My best guess is that this is about some historical events where the american army was coming to fight another country; and this is from the persepctive of the opposition, which is saying they need strong men to fight their land.

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