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« "L'Shana Tova" [by David Lehman] | Main | Last night at KGB Bar. . . »

September 30, 2008


Hi, LO, and thank you for this post. I've long been interested in the national anthems of various countries. Most improbable: "Waltzing Matilda" (Australia). Bloodiest: "La Marseillaise" (France). "Impure blood" flows in the street in the latter. What percentage of the populace, I wonder, believes that Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" is our national anthem?

Interestingly, Woody Guthrie wrote "This Land is Your Land" in part as a response to "God Bless America," which he disliked as a song and as a sentiment.


I hesitate to comment too much on your analysis (being a Canadian). But I tend to agree that America the Beautiful is superior as a national hymn to The Star-Spangled Banner. A lot more politics than spiritual insight likely goes into the selection of such songs for official recognition.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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