For even life in exile…is not as bad

         as life alone in one’s own country.

                           The World Of Yesterday

                                     Stefan Zweig



Two-ton eagle above the stairs,

soldiers cradling M16s,

flags everywhere,

the Consul’s Why?,

the oath I swear

to absolutely and entirely  

renounce my…nationality,

murmur Traitor, as I stand,

cancelled blue passport in hand,

a grey haired alien on foreign land.


Forty years doubts brewed in me

about Yankee Doodle verities

poured into us as kids.

Loyalty corroded to hostility,

and left no choice but quit

the homeland I never fit.


I feel no remorse,

but wonder, nonetheless,

how Dreyfus felt, braced

on the square at l’Ecole Militaire,

sword snapped, disgraced,

reviled for what he did not do,

though faith, not fury, stood him askew.


[Read James Hannan's interview with Dan Burt at Commonweal.]

Dan Burt is a writer whose poetry and prose have appeared in PN Review, the TLS, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, among others. He lives and writes in London, Maine, and St. John's College, Cambridge, of which he is an Honorary Fellow.

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Published in the October 21, 2016 issue: View Contents
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