For even life in not as bad
as life alone in one's own country.
The World of Yesterday
Stefan Zweig

Two-ton eagle above the stairs,
soldiers cradling M16s,
flags everywhere,
the Consul’s Why?,
the oath I swear
to absolutely and entirely
renounce my…nationality,
murmur Traitor, as I stand,
cancelled blue passport in hand,
a grey haired alien on foreign land.

Forty years doubts brewed in me
about Yankee Doodle verities
poured into us as kids.
Loyalty corroded to hostility,
and left no choice but quit
the homeland I never fit.

I feel no remorse,
but wonder, nonetheless,
how Dreyfus felt, braced
on the square at l’Ecole Militaire,
sword snapped, disgraced,
reviled for what he did not do,
though faith, not fury, stood him askew.

(Traitor was published in Commonweal Magazine on 11 August, 2016)


© All poems remain the copyright of Dan Burt and are reproduced with his permission