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(29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936 / London, England)

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Americanisation

Britannia needs no Boulevards,
No spaces wide and gay:
Her march was through the crooked streets
Along the narrow way.
Nor looks she where, New York's seduction,
The Broadway leadeth to destruction.

Britannia needs no Cafes:
If Coffee needs must be,
Its place should be the Coffee-house
Where Johnson growled for Tea;
But who can hear that human mountain
Growl for an ice-cream soda-fountain?

She needs no Russian Theatrey
Mere Father strangles Mother,
In scenes where all the characters
And colours kill each other--
Her boast is freedom had by halves,
And Britons never shall be Slavs.

But if not hers the Dance of Death,
Great Dostoievsky's dance,
And if the things most finely French
Are better done in France--
Might not Americanisation
Be best applied to its own nation?

Ere every shop shall be a store
And every Trade a Trust . . .
Lo, many men in many lands
Know when their cause is just.
There will be quite a large attendance
When we Declare our Independence.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004


Read poems about / on: dance, freedom, trust, father, house, mother, death, shopping

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Comments about this poem (Americanisation by Gilbert Keith Chesterton )

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  • Chris Mendros (3/21/2007 5:19:00 PM)

    i second the notion, as a proud yank.

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  • Edward Evans (12/29/2006 11:48:00 AM)

    truly great poem, speaking as a patriotic brit

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