Poem Hunter
America, The Good Neighbour
(04 October 1943 / Germany)

America, The Good Neighbour

Poem By Herbert Nehrlich

It is time that I speak up for what they call America
for a people not appreciated much,
they are generous to all and help the needy near and far
millions gladly felt the good old Yankee touch.

There is Germany and Britain, and Japan and Italy
they were showered with those dollars and forgiven
many debts were cancelled all to end their self-caused misery
new investments, new economies were driven.

While some debts remained in place and should be honoured as of right
it is clear that not one country pays a dime,
you would think that just the interest would be given without fight
but the world does not regard this as a crime.

It was nineteen-fifty-six and Vive La France was near collapse
guess who came to prop her up in those dark days?
Yes it was the helpful Yankees, while De Gaulle was taking naps
but the money disappeared into the haze.

Look at earthquakes in those regions where the people are so poor
who will hurry to the places and assist,
yet tornadoes flatten cities in the homeland every year
any helpers must have faded in the mist.

When the Marshall Plan pumped billions into countries destitute
there were smiles of gratitude on every face
yet today their papers write about the decadent dispute
and are calling them the warring tyrant race.

Look at planes that fly those people in convenient and safe trips
to the places where the world looks not like home
should you hear the names of Boeing, DC-Ten on foreign lips
on the way to a now free and prosperous Rome?

When the railways broke in Germany, in France and India
they were rebuilt by Americans, my word,
when they did collapse at home, in Pennsylvania
and New York no single miracle occurred.
No one lend them even one lousy caboose.

I can name five thousand times when old America would act
while the rest of our great world were in a snooze.
Take an earthquake on the coast, and with little left intact
who of all the mentioned countries would be seen?

I could go and tell you more but maybe all will get the gist
that Americans have always been too keen
to be nurse and, yes policeman while the envious souls get pissed
so America, you ought to stand up tall.

No one stands with you in times when there is need for a strong shoulder
that could help you and prevent that some might fall
I have seen you go alone and with your goodness move the boulder
while the sneering and the whistling could be heard.

And today, courageous people, you are faced with a new foe
that will plant your precious boys deep in the dirt
once again the world is watching and enjoying their own show
screaming insults, throwing rocks at simple folks.

It is not the Ma's and Pa's or all their offspring that is bad
and there really is no room for your poor jokes.
It is George and Donald and some others who've gone mad
as the devil of Big Greed has grabbed their hand.
Uncle Sam and his mean henchmen need to go inside a cell
so the people can get back their promised land.

And I pray for my America, Get Well.

Note: This was inspired by the radio address of Gordon Sinclair,
a Canadian, in the seventies. I kept the title as well

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Comments (12)

Thank you so much for this, Herbert. I heard a copy of the Gordon Sinclair speech and it has been around on the internet many times since. When I grew up, patriotism was rampant. Where on earth did it go? And what happened that the very people we have helped over the years are so glad to turn against us? It is wonderful to be reminded of America's good deeds and to hear someone other than an American say these things. Well done, my friend. Raynette
I wrote a long and heartfelt response to this, which has disappeared and I can't bear to recreate it right now. It started by saying that I don't know a single person who has travelled to the US and not come back a bigger person, stunned by the hospitality and generosity, with new energy and a new can-do mentality and a more open mind...it finished by saying thank you Herbert, and hoping that PoHo's (was it?) great poem about America might appear in our PH anthology...
You really ar being too generous...but Herbert there will always be somone that does not like what you write. Look at what happened with my poem America the not so Beautiful.....If you take this off then you are doing exactly what they want. It is a truly heartfelt poem.
You are being far too kind to America, Haines, Jr....but I don't see the controversy that you said others are bitching about! If someone is complaining - then you've made an impact...and that is always a good thing. An artist with a punch to his poetry...is as it should be.
It is not a matter of getting over myself. It is rather a matter of how to dispose of the likes of you. HJ