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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Definition of America

By Stanley Gottheimer, '37

The Magpie, June 1937, v. 21, n. 2., p. 44.

America is a hundred and twenty millions of peoples;
a thousand industries; mountains,
waterways, and prairie.

America is a drum-beat
calling together the farmers
to oust the "redcoats."
America is the ring of an axe,
—death knell of the virgin timber—
in the crisp northern air.
America is a factory whistle
hooting out the night shift,
hooting in the day.

America is a timecard;
a pay envelope;
a five buck raise;
a curt "You're fired!"

America is creditor of the world.
America is a desolate debtor
dazed by dry, dancing dust
—his farm blowing away.

Europe is mellow wine,
well-aged for the epicure;
a fine, moldy, smelly, old cheese.
America is the grape unbrushed,
the milk and cream unchurned
—but beginning to sour.

Mountains, waterways, and prairie,
A thousand industries;
A hundred and twenty millions of people.

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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