Stephen Vincent Benet

American Names

I have fallen in love with American names, 
The sharp names that never get fat, 
The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims, 
The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat, 
Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat. 

Seine and Piave are silver spoons, 
But the spoonbowl-metal is thin and worn, 
There are English counties like hunting-tunes 
Played on the keys of a postboy's horn, 
But I will remember where I was born. 

I will remember Carquinez Straits, 
Little French Lick and Lundy's Lane, 
The Yankee ships and the Yankee dates 
And the bullet-towns of Calamity Jane. 
I will remember Skunktown Plain. 

I will fall in love with a Salem tree 
And a rawhide quirt from Santa Cruz, 
I will get me a bottle of Boston sea 
And a blue-gum nigger to sing me blues. 
I am tired of loving a foreign muse. 

Rue des Martyrs and Bleeding-Heart-Yard, 
Senlis, Pisa, and Blindman's Oast, 
It is a magic ghost you guard 
But I am sick for a newer ghost, 
Harrisburg, Spartanburg, Painted Post. 

Henry and John were never so 
And Henry and John were always right? 
Granted, but when it was time to go 
And the tea and the laurels had stood all night, 
Did they never watch for Nantucket Light?
I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse. 
I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea. 
You may bury my body in Sussex grass, 
You may bury my tongue at Champmedy. 
I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass. 
Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.