I – hudson’s shortcut

our outcome was that you were in the way
we sailed to that conclusion on a dream
dreamt by a fool: our captain hudson claimed
that he could find a shortcut to the east

go straight and keep the north pole on your left
then you can slip down quickly to the indies
and we believed the guy and followed him
yes, even when he said: “or maybe west . . . ?”

henry hudson had been dismissed before
and when he swore on the shore of a foreign bay
that all we had to do to reach the orient
was set a course straight through america
we’d wisely lowered sail – already wedged
from stem to stern in this new continent


II – new amsterdam

the waiting bay lay like an outstretched finger
at the end of an invisible dutch arm
we went exploring, stamping round we found
our way in a deserted fertile backwater

perhaps no other body but ours, which never
managed to win one god, one people for itself
which rose from drifting, loose minorities
could lay the seed for such a babelopolis

who taught you how to use the melting pot?
who said, be equal, be diverse and free
your trade, who told you, dreams can spread like shares?
the true world champions of immigration
we were, a distant spark of liberty
america, the netherlands writ small


III – new netherland

oh font of humanism, oh shining beacon
oh cradle of exemplary citizenship
who listens to us now? we have our leaders
they blare their christian values round the place
and mount the moralistic foghorn high
but in america their frightened faces
all gleam with drooling pride, it’s not prime time
but still we steal a slot in the cool white house

what kind of model country toes this line?
we bob along behind the big boss boat
impressive, don’t you think? a fifty-state fleet
with an inspiring airbed at the back
WANTED URGENTLY: foolish fools with vision
who dare to dream and make the cold sea crack