Semantics are a peculiar
thing. Words and phrases
change in meaning
over time,
morphing into quite
the opposite
of the original intent.

America has long
been called the land
of the free. This referred
to its people — strong,
brave, adventurous,
industrious, unafraid
of hardship or work —

now it has come to mean
the fine art of getting
something for nothing.

The ‘Dream” was to have
the ability to earn, support
a family, buy a house
and be proud of the fruits
of our own labor.

Times have changed.

Free housing, free food,
wages for not working,
free medical treatment,
free medicine, free

They call it government
assistance, or benefits,
income redistribution.

There will come a time
when Atlas really will
shrug off his burden
and there will be none left
to take from, nothing
to give to those expecting
it all for free.

Only then will we look back
at this land of lost opportunity,
on a time when we were a free
people, sigh, and explain
to our grandchildren that, sadly,
all good things must come to an

Atlas sculpture, New York City, by sculptor Le...


Filed under Poetry, Poetry - Prompts

16 responses to “Free

  1. ND Mitchell

    Wonderfully put. You’ve given the phrase “Land of the Free” a whole new meaning for me here. Sadly, I recognise the same misguided sense of entitlement in my country too.

  2. sl

    If only your deluded vision of entitlement by the poor were really true. Then I would celebrate our freedom because everyone would have true economic and social equality. In truth the rich are the entitled greedy minority who own the government and suck off its teats. Government was made to empower the working class, the poor, the voiceless against those who use their raw power and wealth rather than genius or hard work to only help themselves rather than their communities. Good luck in your search for truth – if you see a man in trouble do you help him or take his shoes because he obviously failed – is it wrong of him to knife you first as you lean down to do either – is this the kind of society we want in America?

    • While I do not obviously agree with you on most points, I do admire your passion and respect your views enough to make them visible here. I will also respond briefly to a couple of your points even though I do not feel this is necessarily the forum for debate.
      First, while I disagree with some of your premise as to why government exist, i will agree that its current form is loaded with corruption. I do not, however, agree that business and the wealthy have any more influence than do the unions, AARP, environmentalist or social organizations such as the NAACP.
      Second, I still believe that anyone that is willing to put in the work can succeed in this country. But it takes work and overcoming obstacles, always has.
      Third, yes, I do help that man down on his luck. I do it through donations, charitable giving and through the efforts of the church I support. However, this should be a voluntary act, not one forced on me at the end of a gun. And the smaller my check gets due to higher taxation, the less I am able to give freely.
      Thank you reading and commenting.

  3. A nice twist in the prompt ~ Sadly it is also happening in Canada. People need to realize that nothing is really “free” ~

  4. true…and sadly they will…if they have not already…i dont know that i would blame it all on govt assistance though…there are plenty in the 1% that have never worked a day in their life for the money they got…

    • I agree that there is not a single place to lay blame, it can be spread around pretty liberally. We have been working towards this since the 30’s. And I agree that there is a portion of the 1% that possibly have not earned it, but I do believe it is smaller than portrayed. And someone did work for it to be able to leave for their heirs.
      Thanks Brian!

  5. I, too, do not agree with your premise here, but I do find this use of the theme to be very interesting.

  6. Come to Australia and REALLY meet the people who say ‘
    What’s in it for me?”

  7. You right well, but I’m not sure of it’s sentiment.
    It works well as a poem – as a warning of sorts – it’s just that the warning is about ‘caring too much’, the call is for a little more selfishness.
    Political poetry is very difficult because one immediately runs up against a point of view, and the poem itself – being political – must hold it’s own point of view.
    Here, the poem clashes with my own.
    Courageous though, and I like the simplicity of flow.

    • Thank you very much for reading and commenting and for your respectful disagreement. I agree, political poetry is difficult. Especially for me. I tend to the opposite end of the political spectrum from most in the creative arts. I tend to avoid the subject, but this prompt just led itself to this path. My only argument with your comment, and this is probably due to me not getting my point across very well, is that I am not calling for more selfishness, I am just against forced government intervention and redistribution. Whether I have a little or a lot, I should be the one to choose where my money goes, not some corrupt bureaucrat. And by them taking more and more, I have less opportunity to give personally, therefore increasing the reliance on government and perpetuating the problem.
      Thank you again for your comments.

      • I’m sorry that your experience of America is that it is of government taking more and more away from you and thereby taking away the freedom you feel, you have yourself, to chose when and who you want to help.

        I guess it’s that you’re poem is very clear that this is a threat to an America you know, and that perhaps this America will no longer be available to your Grandchildren.

        I think poetry must express it’s point of view and this poem does so directly.

        I thank you for you comments…and I pray that you find some way to see, that actually, in many way, America has gotten better, and that the period you are in right now – with a Black President – is actually a period that, in fulfilling The Declaration, and The things you hold self-evident, is a period in which great, new American potential, is being incubated for the future.

        My peace to you.

  8. There has to be a balance in these type of matters and the way it stand today it is way out of whack, in my honest opinion. The rich are way too stinkin’ rich and the poor are way too freakin’ poor…middle class is becoming more and more obsolete. Money has become meaningless in a nation that is trillions (?) of dollars in debt. How can this money be good for anything. In my opinion…we need to regress, in this way: Living off the land that we work with our own hands…bartering and trading with the goods that we create for ourselves. We need to get back to our roots, the good ones with quality values and morals. Maybe off-topic…but I don’t think so and maybe a bit naive of a plan but it settles well in my conscience. The problem with this though is that there are way too many lazy people who aren’t willing to work….well that’s one of the problems. Just adding some thought to your’s, Mark. I enjoy the honesty of your poem here today. Even if I don’t really dig political poems…it’s hard to remain unaffected by all of the government bull that goes on outside of one’s poetic bubble! :)’s to you!

    • Thanks for reading Hannah. I agree there is a lack of balance that needs to be addressed but I refuse to believe, and the abhor the idea, that government is the answer. Especially more of it. I am in strong agreement with your assertion that more self-reliance should be the goal. I know there are those that need assistance and have no real choices, but I do not think they are they majority, or even a large percentage, of those that receive it. I firmly believe that anyone with drive and ambition and a willingness to work can succeed. Thanks again, I think i shall be retiring my soapbox for a while.

      • I really appreciate your thoughts, Mark, it’s nice to see that we agree on points here but even if we didn’t that would be okay too. I agree though, more government is a “no-go.” Have a wonderful Father’s Day, Mark you deserve it!!! Smiles!

  9. For me some insight about a land about which I do wonder if I will ever visit..thanks..


Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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