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Poem by Arthur Guiterman


Heritage


THIS is the land that we love; here our fathers found refuge,
Here are the grooves of their plows and the mounds of their graves;
These are the hills that they knew and the forests and water,
Glorious rivers and seas of rejuvenant waves.

This is our heritage, this that our fathers bequeathed us,
Ours in our time, but in trust for the ages to be;
Wasting or husbanding, building, destroying, or shielding,
Faithful or faithless Ч possessors and stewards are we.

What of our stewardship? What do we leave to our children?
Crystalline, health-giving fountains, or gutters of shame?
Fields that are fertile, or barrens exhausted of vigor?
Burgeoning woodlands, or solitudes blasted by flame?

Madly we squander the bounty and beauty around us
Wrecking, not using, the treasure and splendor of earth;
Only is grief unavailing for glory departed Ч
Only in want do we count what the glory is worth. 



Arthur Guiterman


Arthur Guiterman's other poems:
  1. Pershing at the Front
  2. The Great Tyrannosaurus
  3. Hills
  4. Nocturne
  5. The Chip on the Shoulder


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Claude McKay Heritage ("Now the dead past seems vividly alive")
  • Countee Cullen Heritage ("What is Africa to me:")

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