The Gift Outright
The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
Note: Read by the New England Poet at John F. Kennedy's Inauguration, January 20, 1961. JFK was the 35th President of these United States of America. The elegant lady who was to become my wife attended the Inauguration as well as the Inaugural Ball, dancing with both John (the better dancer) and Bobby Kennedy who was the brother she most respected. Evelyn was also invited several times to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannisport, on Cape Cod, for family gatherings.