America Is a Gun: A Poet Weighs In on America's Gun Violence Crisis by Ann Marie Patitucci

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2 years ago

America Is a Gun: A Poet Weighs In on America's Gun Violence Crisis

British poet Brian Bilston first posted his poem “America is a Gun” in February of 2016, but it seems to garner renewed interest with every mass shooting that occurs in the U.S. It is making the rounds on social media yet again, following the school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas

In the poem, Bilston uses objects to symbolize countries. While the items are stereotypical in nature, they’re relatable and logical. For instance, the average reader can understand why he’s selected a cup of tea for England and a kangaroo for Australia. For America, however, he hasn’t selected a baseball or our flag, objects we Americans might consider symbols of our country. Instead, Bilston has chosen a gun. In a poem about countries and their symbols, a poet has selected a GUN to symbolize America:

America Is a Gun

England is a cup of tea.
France, a wheel of ripened brie.
Greece, a short, squat olive tree.
America is a gun.

Brazil is a football on the sand.
Argentina, Maradona’s hand.
Germany, an oompah band.
America is a gun.

Holland is a wooden shoe.
Hungary, a goulash stew.
Australia, a kangaroo.
America is a gun.

Japan is a thermal spring.
Scotland is a highland fling.
Oh, better to be anything
than America as a gun.

Art, including poetry, is about freedom of expression and is meant to encourage dialogue. Moreover, art reflects society, and at times even affects society. Is it fair, then, to say that a gun is a symbolic reflection of American society? 

In light of recent mass shootings and U.S. gun murder stat's compared to those in other wealthy nations, what do YOU think?

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What a sad state of affairs when your country is symbolized by a gun.
Elisa Schmitz
Absolutely tragic. Amazing how poetry can convey so much truth and emotion. Thank you for sharing, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead .

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