The Symbol of America: The Eagle or Dollar Dollar Bill Y’all?

* Eagle: PicsArt_05-03-01.10.31

The American Eagle

Oh soaring Eagle, flying high

Where have you gone?

Your country needs you.

Come from your nest, where you rest

To help us remember what once we were.

Once you represented freedom, justice, pride—

Soaring on the breeze of revolution,

Representing democracy,

A new nation.

Flying over tyranny—

Guiding this fledgling nation.

But where are you now?

Can we fix what we have broken,

Can we reclaim you, oh beautiful eagle?

Why do you slumber—

Why do you remain high above?

Are you still our symbol?

Perhaps we are no longer worthy.

Slavery exists, in the land of the free

Tyranny goes unchecked in the land of the brave

The eagle sleeps a deep slumber.

America forgets her nest.

Dear Eagle of my Country

Dear Eagle of my country! I found thee

High above in the cliffs,

Where the chains of capitalism have bound thee

You cannot fly for us anymore

Your wings are clipped

So you cannot soar

You no longer fly for us

Weighted down by consumerism

Retire you must.

We have not your beauty, grace, and pride

Have we lost you, oh glory—

Has the precious eagle died?

Dear Eagle of my county! Farewell to thee

As you retire to your mountain top.

Your sheltering wings, we no longer see

Your pride your honor, live in you alone.

And this is something that we cannot own

*The Dollar: PicsArt_05-03-12.54.31.jpg

The American Dollar

What is our symbol?

America, once the land of the free

And the home of the brave.

Now is the land of the consumer,

A capitalist’s amusement park.

The seller the buyer the window shopper.

Money talks.

And it does just about everything else too—

Money is what makes the world go around.

No money,

No power.

America land of the dollar—

The American dream.

Even the little guy can strike it rich,

Scratch the right lotto ticket

And you’re set for life.

Living on easy street—

Live by the dollar

Die without the dollar.

America is money—

The dollar is our symbol.

Dear Dollar of my Country

Dear Dollar of my country!

You are always needed and often missing.

Where are you little dollar—

Our wallet is so empty.

Without you we are hungry,

Without you we are naked,

Without you we are unsheltered.

The dollar symbolizes our great country—

Is this really what we stand for?

Dear Dollar of my Country!

So many things we can do with you

And without you we suffer.

Great dollar of our country

Please fill our wallets.

And fulfill our American dream—

Or better yet, leave us to our silliness

And let us find a better symbol.

Dear Dollar of my Country!

You are a sad symbol.

Who are we?

The consumer, the capitalist.

What happened to freedom—

Or democracy?

Was the American dream ever real?

Money talks,

But we should not let it speak for us.

Response:

Obviously, I took inspiration from the poems, The Irish Harp and Dear Harp of my Country. So I wrote several poems about the symbol of America. I did not worry about following the rhyme schemes of the poems though I parodied the titles. What I was trying to do was channel the idea of a country’s symbol, and I tried to mimic the tone as well (at least in the eagle poems). I focused on the theme of the Irish harp, by doing instead the American Eagle/ Dollar.  I really enjoyed the blog about the Harp of Ireland. I started thinking about what the symbol of the harp meant to Ireland and  what it said about Ireland. Harps are instruments and they promote music and language. This got me thinking about America, and what our symbol might be, and what it would say about our country.

The first thing that came to mind was the eagle. The eagle is a symbol that is on our money and a common brand logo (for example the clothes company American Eagle). So at least at some point, I think that America was represented by the eagle. What does the Eagle represent? Freedom, pride, power, the eagle is a very majestic symbol. Our fledgling nation who was rebelling and breaking free from oppression may have been worthy of the eagle. Now however, in our consumerism obsessed society, I think the dollar bill (or money in general) is the new symbol of our country.

We are a capitalistic society and this is both a good thing and a bad thing. However, money has become so important in this country that a lot of people sacrifice their morals just to make a buck.  We live in a plentiful country and yet people starve. Money makes or breaks you in this country and our symbol is no longer the eagle but the dollar bill. I am afraid this does not say very flattering things about our country.

*(images edited by Katie Oswald)

-Katie Oswald

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