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A REFUGE FOR POETS WHO WRITE IN THE LYRIC TRADITION,
WITH RHYME AND METER, WITH OR WITHOUT MUSIC
A government is best which governs least, or not at all;
When we are ready, we may have just that some day.
It is people who till land, educate, and keep us free;
The government sometimes gets in our way.
Once the people hold the power, the majority may rule;
Not that they’re likely to be right, but they are strong.
Our only obligation as persons, not as subjects,
Is to do what we think right, and not what’s wrong.
All men recognize the right of revolution and rebellion
If a country be unjustly overrun;
And though the urgency be greater if we are the invader,
Men know not what course to take, and so take none.
They hesitate and they regret, and sometimes they petition,
But do not a thing in earnest, with effect.
They will wait, well disposed, for someone else to cure the evil,
That they may no longer have it to regret.
If you think you ought not to transgress an unjust law
Till the majority’s persuaded by your pen,
Ask yourself if you should be another agent of injustice.
Do not lend yourself to wrongs which you condemn.
The few have little power while conforming to the many,
But their weight can clog the state in its endeavors.
It matters not how small the beginning seems to be;
What is once done well is done forever.
Loving, New Mexico, 1985
(apologies to Henry David Thoreau)
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