Tom Disch


Color in American History: An Essay

Did they enjoy this, those honorary ancestors
Of ours, whom we may not speak of as Indians now,
But, rather, as Native Americans? Did they, that is,
Have the opportunity to take in such views?
For there were no roads then, slicing through
The hills, opening vistas like this. Astonishing!
Unless, perhaps, they were upon the Delaware,
A kind of road itself. But, otherwise, would not
The land itself have been an inconvenience,
The changing leaves an oracle of cruelties
To come and not, as for the tourists on a bus,