Sunday Poem

“Why are we having all these people from sh**hole countries come here?”
—the President of the United States on immigration


Once, one of my students read a book we had.
She was doing history on assignment on
the decline and fall of the Roman Empire
and crying. When I asked her why
she said Because. All those people died.
I said that if you start to cry for the dead
you won't have much time for anything else.
Besides, after all the city people were killed
or died off, because their cultures got too high,
the barbarians kept some peasants alive
for their food value. Some barbarian raped
some peasant woman who produced
a child who ultimately produced you
and me, so there is this family continuity,
so don't cry, it's obvious, look around!
This is the reason why we Americans
are a nation of peasants and barbarians.

Alan Dugan
from New and Selected Poems 1961-1983
Ecco Press, 1983