Let’s remind ourselves who we are. In case we aren’t sure,
or have forgotten, here’s Langston Hughes spelling it out…

—Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!


the last of march has skitted away
like a jackrabbit, the vestige of grey swept
clean by rains to uncover the cerulean;
but the tree still dons its winter look—
black etchings against a tincture of blue,
some blossoms fallen, carried away
by the wind into small pools of puffy tufts,
ready to be cradled into garbage trucks
with bristles and brown, and woody twigs
crowned by clusters of snowy bracts,
that look down to watch the pink wash,
slowly filter through and stain
the alligator hide, until it turns
a stunning autumnal red—
a telling
bark of the dogwood.


April 2017—National Poetry Month

To celebrate April—National Poetry Month,
I started posting one Haiku a day on Twitter
and Facebook. I didn’t get started right away
because of other commitments. I’ve reposted
them here, since some of my friends are not
on Social Media. Feel free to comment.


April, come she will…
When streams are ripe
and swelled with rain…

A burst of poppies reappear—
a splash of gold and green
yellow cups of sunshine
palms upturned offering
petals of peace and poems
for our troubled world…

Celebrating National Poetry Month, April 2017

walking a thin line
between what’s big and BIG—note:
the word BIG is small


leaps past the clock into night
I’ve lost my morning

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.41.45 PM

I hear the clock tick
louder in the silent room—
I quieten my heart

clock sm

haikus are lines with
seventeen syllables—bent-
back measuring sticks

ruler sm

morning starts alone—
days feel like old luggage, now x
too heavy to drag


words falling like spit
on hot concrete, dissipate—
like nothing was said


grass shoots up—as high
as weed. I inhale—Ah! Sweet,
the smell of drizzle.


birds on high wire
tweet on air, sharing posts—they’re
birds of a feather

birds sm

tired eyes pop like
Slinkys—their helical springs
unfurl rods and cones


the evening glow spreads thick,
like marmalade on toast—
bittersweet memories



taxiing through taxes
plowing through the pile—toiling
roiling, plowed under


haikus—like bells, are
sweet little chimes that tinkle
and linger awhile


posting little notes—
like offering votive lights
to appease the night



if yeast is yeast, and
Best is Best—never will egg
‘n’ mayo be rice


yet a dance, though no
movement, rhythmic heartbeat
vibrations abound


trying to write at night
I’ve lost more pens, than ideas
in folds of the quilt


music from the flute
as it trips and meanders
through large empty caves


money is not love. love
is what I thought I had. now,
money’s all I want

how very sleek is
the emerging Monarch now,
then ah! the brilliance!

life has a way of
putting us in tight corners . . .
helps expand our minds


for years his book graced
my shelf—chanced to read last week
he died yesterday

ink blots and shadows
have one thing in common—they
throw you for a loop

garbage trucks rumble
sirens claw their way through traffic
ah,Thursday morning!

dreams that wake you up,
only remind you’re asleep,
not dead—your first pass

unlike these chalk marks
carved in stone, your words with me
I have paraphrased

last cup of tea as
bedtime nears, something’s afloat—
tip of a teabag


Folks wait in lines to
treat mom to lunch—if mom cooked
they’d be done by now


.Happy Memorial

MEMORIAL DAY is coming to an end in another few hours . . . I’ve been listening to folks talking on the radio about what this day means to them. I found a poem I’d written a while back, and I think to me, it seems appropriate for this day . . .


First there were the storms
we could not control—being informed,
didn’t make a difference—they still

came and swept away years of life—
the living, storing, saving—cautions
thrown to the wind, and what remained

was stagnant hope. Then courage,
to keep moving forward until
the sorrows were behind and smiles

lit up the porches, and songs found
their words, stories remembered,
shared, recorded in the hearts of those

who braved the hard times
and pulled through.
But what of the wars that came after?

Countless bodies we didn’t see—
the debris was what remained
of lives that were flown in to reboot,

to start anew. Tears unshed,
dreams driven to nightmares, walking
enigmas, stories untold, hearts heavy

with eyes of despair, wives heavy
with child—fatherless, mothers longing,
for lost sons and daughters, empty of words.

For what returned home in spirit, for some,
made no difference from bodies that came rolled
in the flag. Graveyards lined with red,

white and blue—stars and stripes
awarded posthumously. Families torn
wondering if the sons and daughters

they raised with care, were just badges
they proudly wore, while their ashes
morphed, consecrating foreign soil.

And while we groom our children
for their future, we have learned
nothing. We are still talking about war.


With the holidays approaching, there’s always something to look forward to. For me, mostly, it’s a time to think about what the next twelve months will likely bring. Sometimes, just waiting and wondering can be either inspiring or cathartic, or a mix of both. For me, that’s exactly what it is: a mix of both. Reading palms or tea leaves has never been my thing. Just pushing forward with new zest and vigor, and a bunch of hope and hard work. Just plugging on and pushing forward. Time to sow new ideas and new resolutions right about now, so we can nurture them to take fruition as January appears. Be ready, and not just patiently wait for goodies . . . .




Jennifer The current Poet Laureate of Cupertino, Jennifer Swanton Brown will illuminate you on air at KKUP 95.1 FM, on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. She will also read some of her poems on air. David Stafford of KKUP’s Friday Folk Off has generously allowed 30 minutes for Swanton, along with yours truly (Pushpa MacFarlane), who has created this gig. So stay tuned in for pertinent information, as well as, some awesome poetry coming your way.

Do not miss listening to KKUP 95.1 FM today, June 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. because here is where we are taking the opportunity to publicize the upcoming selection of Cupertino’s next Poet Laureate. And people, those of you eligible to apply for this honorable position, this is your last chance! All entries are due no later than July 10, 2015, 5 p.m. Final interviews will be held prior to July 30, 2015. So do tune in to KKUP 95.1 FM, on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. so you can find out how and where to apply before the deadline.

Invited participant David Denny, Emeritus Poet Laureate of Cupertino’s, unfortunately, could not make it to KKUP 95.1. Instead, he will be wearing his Professorial hat at De Anza College.