Print this page

O Say Can’t You See?

Adobe Stock O Say Can’t You See?
Rate this item
(3 votes)

We shout when we should be discussing,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We shoot when we should be disarming,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We claim that the poor are just lazy,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We budget to build bigger prisons,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We blunder in wars that are endless,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We lie and deny that we’re lying,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We bicker like lawyers for peanuts,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We covet the fame of the famous,

and the country in chaos accepts it.

We say without money we’re nothing,

and the country in chaos accepts it.



The country in chaos accepts it

when churches are ruled by accountants.

The country in chaos accepts it

when teachers are mocked if they picket.

The country in chaos accepts it

when oldsters are warehoused to wither.

The country in chaos accepts it

when snipers are honored for murders.

The country in chaos accepts it

when leaders see voters as suckers.

The country in chaos denies it

when phone calls are tapped and recorded.

The country in chaos denies it

when hucksters control the elections.

The country in chaos denies it

when seniors are treated as burdens.

The country in chaos denies it

when what we call learning is training.



When poets are silenced as rebels,

the country in chaos denies it.

When nobody speaks for the needy,

the country in chaos denies it.

When murders are common as muggings,

the country in chaos denies it.

When nothing else matters but winning,

the country in chaos denies it.

When losers are said to deserve it,

the country in chaos denies it.

When tattoos exist for the gawkers,

the country in chaos denies it.

When sex is just something to market,

the country in chaos denies it.

When only the chosen are favored,

the country in chaos denies it.

When a country’s already in chaos,

what good does it do to deny it?


Samuel Hazo

Samuel Hazo is the author of poetry, fiction, essays, various works of translation and four plays. Governor Robert Casey named him Pennsylvania’s first State Poet 1993. He served until 2003. From his first book, through the National Book Award finalist “Once for the Last Bandit,” to his newest poems, he explores themes of mortality and love, passion and art, courage and grace. samuel​ha​zoau​thor​.com

Explore Related Stories: