Then, There Was No Right to Eat

Music: The Art of the Fugue: Contrapuntus 19.
By J.S. Bach. Sequenced by Alessandro Simonetto, at Kunst der Fuge.

Then, there was no right to eat, nor was health
A right, nor freedom for a slave. Native
Peoples were simply dispossessed, and wealth
Accrued to men only. The fierce and furtive
Cries for love, gay or straight, were smothered.
Non-human animals had no rights, nor children
Left to drunken fathers or brutal mothers.
Oh, yes, that government governed least, but no one
Could foresee the brood of rights sprung
From words that rang out across the western world
That summer day, rights now nearly won,
That long lay fearful in predawn silence curled.
The founders were wise, but to be true to them,
We must apply their words to now, not then.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon

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