Today there are people who have a great choice
About what to do with those with a ‘not-so-heard’ voice.
These people, they may come from hither, or they may come from yon,
But whatever they seek is it there or is it gone?
And today our leaders, from left and from right,
Bumble and stumble lacking any insight.
Stowaway, rowaway, they come to the borders,
They face men with guns who are following orders.
Tall, small, at night and with fright,
They dare to dream of a new future that’s bright.
Of justice, of peace, of chance they do search,
For the land that they come from left them in a lurch.
The dream that they dream and they hope will come true,
is a white picket fence and a sky of bright blue.
A family of four, a house with a door,
A shiny new car and trappings galore.
This, my friend, is the promise, the Dream,
But it may not turn out to be what it seems.
Hurdles and yerdles stand in the way
Keeping the Dream out of reach and at bay.
Huddled and swaddled, tired and poor,
Looking for the lamp she lifts at the door.
Are we able to make another spot at the table?
For wasn’t this the story of our own great, great Aunt Mable?
Fleeing from famine, persecution and poverty
She boarded a boat and sailed west toward sovereignty.
Dogged and tenacious, she scratched out a life,
Working hard, also becoming a mother and wife.
Born to this land, her children were blessed
With papers declaring that they’d passed the test!
Her children learned to read and to write
And took with them forward a sense of delight.
Here she did move ‘cross country to Cali,
Where her kids grew up fast and rallied at Paly.
Doctors and lawyers, and techie nerds, too
They sang and danced for the Dream had come true.
Today, we are us, and they are now them,
But knowing the history, how dare we condemn!
Not so long ago, by truth or by lie,
We all were in search of a piece of the pie.
Some went to war, some led a good life,
Others worked hard through sickness and strife.
But freedom’s not free, for it comes at a price,
But the hope of a chance is enough to suffice.
So, is the Dream true, or is it all a big fraud,
With no real hope for our people at home or from abroad?
I say it’s true, and our country is great,
And through a joint effort, we can shoulder the weight.
For the ticket is learning, and opportunity, too,
So for all who dream it, the Dream can come true.
Let’s forge on ahead, and leave none behind,
For this is the dream of all mankind.
With special thanks from,
Will Jeffries is 16 years old and a junior at Palo Alto High School (Paly) in Northern California. He wrote this poem for an English assignment about The American Dream. Will was inspired by the immigration debate, Dr. Seuss, Jon Stewart, NPR, various YouTube videos, the South Park guys and news accounts of the unaccompanied Central American children crossing the Mexican/American border. He is a huge history buff, cares deeply about social justice issues, and likes smart people who make him laugh.
–Art by Jan Rockar
–Art by Plamen Stoev
–Art by Joel Hohner