Yesterday on CNN, “the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services in a new interview revised the iconic American poem on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal to suggest that only immigrants who can “stand on their own two feet” are welcome in the United States.” 

But that’s not the only classic verse getting a 21st century update from the current administration:


Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree –
And only God can help that tree
If it grows on environmentally unprotected land.

I Hear America Singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
But all in English and at least one by A$AP Rocky.

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

He said to his friend,—“If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
Three if by domestic airport.

Mending Wall

He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours,
But nobody builds walls better than me!”

I am the American heartbreak—
Rock on which Freedom
Stumps its toe—
The great mistake
That Jamestown
Made long ago
Although really there were
Very fine people on both sides.

My Life had Stood – A Loaded Gun

My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –
In Corners – till a Day
The Owner passed – identified –
And carried Me away –
Because Gun and Magazine bans
Are a Total Failure

(with apologies to Joyce Kilmer, Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and Emily Dickinson)

Katie Vagnino is a poet, educator, and freelance writer based in Minneapolis. She has published essays and reviews in the Star Tribune, Time Out New York, Role Reboot, and The Establishment, and her poetry has appeared in literary journals, magazines, and on public transit. Katie has an MFA from Emerson College and since 2010, she has taught creative writing to high schoolers, college students, and adults all over the country. Visit her website at Follow her on Twitter account @katievagnino.