I. Rejoicing City That Dwelt Carelessly
There are flags on all the flagpoles up Fifth Avenue. In the shrill wind of history the great flags flap and tug at their lashings on the creaking goldknobbed poles up Fifth Avenue. The stars jiggle sedately against the slate sky, the red and white stripes writhe against the clouds.
In the gale of brassbands and trampling horses and rumbling clatter of cannon, shadows like the shadows of claws grasp at the taut flags, the flags are hungry tongues licking twisting curling.
Oh it's a long way to Tipperary . . . Over there! Over there!
The harbor is packed with zebrastriped skunk-striped piebald steamboats, the Narrows are choked with bullion, they're piling gold sovereigns up to the ceilings in the Subtreasury. Dollars whine on the radio, all the cables tap out dollars.
There's a long long trail awinding . . . Over there! Over there!
In the subway their eyes pop as they spell out Apocalypse, typhus, cholera, shrapnel, insurrection, death in fire, death in water, death in hunger, death in mud.
Oh it's a long way to Madymosell from Armenteers, over there! The Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming. Down Fifth Avenue the bands blare for the Liberty Loan drive, for the Red Cross drive. Hospital ships sneak up the harbor and unload furtively at night in old docks in Jersey. Up Fifth Avenue the flags of the seventeen nations are flaring curling in the shrill hungry wind.
O the oak and the ash and the weeping willow tree
And green grows the grass in God's country.
The great flags flap and tug at their lashings on the creaking goldknobbed poles up Fifth Avenue.