I was thrilled to be asked (along with a number of other singers) by my friend and colleague, composer, Leonard Lehrman, to work on a new composition he wrote on May 2, with the words from the poem Pity the Nation, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The poem was written in 2007.
I got started on it right away and sent Leonard a quick recording the next day. He sent me his notes and corrections and I took a few more days to work on it. I recorded it again on May 5.
Leonard told us it could be sung a cappella or with piano accompaniment.
Here is my interpretation of Pity the Nation, with music by Leonard Lehrman and words by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The first track is sung a cappella and the second is with piano accompaniment, played by the composer, Leonard Lehrman.
Voice and Piano
PITY THE NATION by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
(After Khalil Gibran)
Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerors
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!