An Ode on the Death of Sen. Eugene McCarthy
Sen. Gene McCarthy - Interview in 1988
Why did we think it was easy?
Perhaps, everything always had been,
All America was pregnant in the Fifties
A generation of terrible infants was born.
A science was made of our feedings,
Our bowels were of national interest
New schools were built, new teachers trained
Se we should want nothing
So we could be everything.
The Phonics and New Math we mastered
Let us sneer at our ignorant parents
Those yokels! Only Youth could be virtuous,
Only the Youngest, the Best and the Brightest.
Our Messiah, the President, lasted three years
Hearts aflame, we vowed service, purest belief.
Teenagers, we knew we’d change everything.
The world had only been waiting
For the Terrible Infants to come.
A Revolution was held, so everybody came
When we learned that the races weren’t equal.
Such well-fed rebels, so shocked and self-righteous
Guilty parents had done this, our soft hands were clean.
We scorned all possessions, except perhaps stereos
Our Prophets and Poets wrote lyrics to live up to
Intricate lyrics of love, peace and power.
Music opened our souls
As drugs opened our minds.
Too young to vote, we took on all politics.
Go Clean for Gene – our civics text hero!
Chicago taught brutally that virtue could lose.
VietNam made us choose between honor and drugs.
When we couldn’t serve both, our songs turned to lies.
St. Jack bid us serve, but had he meant Asia?
We wanted to heal and not kill other nations.
Soldier and Hippie both fought VietNam
Both lost as ideals died in the War.
Bitter, we turned shrewd and cynical quickly.
Let the world save itself as we grabbed what we could.
Satan once tempted Faustus with Knowledge and Beauty
Now She carries a briefcase and talks money markets.
We are practical now, and want government services.
Maturity, we call it, but we flinch to remember
The promises we Terrible Infants once made.
We still should want nothing.
We still could be everything.