Summer Reading

Bring me men to match my mountains,
Bring me men to match my plains.
Men with empires in their purpose,
And new eras in their brains.

Willard Romney likes poetry, especially if it’s short and if it connects him to a person whose respect he craves. That’s why, as the Washington Post reports, he’s been reciting the four lines he learned from William Koch, brother of Charles and David, whom the presumptive Republican nominee is, no doubt, keen to emulate — to acquire some gilt by association, don’t you know.

Mitt Romney and Bill Koch
Candidate Mitt Romney (far right, at least right now) and
oligarch patron Bill Koch (even further right) (Gage Skidmore)

Referring to William Koch as a homeowner is a bit precious. But, here’s Willard’s story:

At a town hall meeting in Exeter, N.H., last August, Romney brought up the Stone book his parents read to him.

“I was telling that story a week ago Sunday, and in the home of the fellow where I was telling that story, the homeowner got up and he said, ‘I’ll bet you don’t know where the title for that book came from,’” Romney said. “And I said, ‘You’re right, I don’t know where the title came from.’ He said, ‘It came from this poem.’ And then he recited a poem, which I have since learned — it’s only four lines. I can learn four lines.”

Except, as usual, Willard didn’t do his homework. If he had, he’d know that the poem by Sam Walter Foss, born in Candia, N.H. is considerably longer than four lines. Indeed, if the Air Force Academy is to be believed, there are two versions of The Coming American:

Bring me men to match my mountains;
Bring me men to match my plains, —
Men with empires in their purpose,
And new eras in their brains.
Bring me men to match my praries,
Men to match my inland seas,
Men whose thought shall pave a highway
Up to ampler destinies;
Pioneers to clear Thought’s marshlands,
And to cleanse old Error’s fen;
Bring me men to match my mountains —
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my forests,
Strong to fight the storm and blast,
Branching toward the skyey future,
Rooted in the fertile past.
Bring me men to match my valleys,
Tolerant of sun and snow,
Men within whose fruitful purpose
Time’s consummate blooms shall grow.
Men to tame the tigerish instincts
Of the lair and cave and den,
Cleans the dragon slime of Nature —
Bring me men!

Bring me men to match my rivers,
Continent cleavers, flowing free,
Drawn by the eternal madness
To be mingled with the sea;
Men of oceanic impulse,
Men whose moral currents sweep
Toward the wide-enfolding ocean
Of an undiscovered deep;
Men who feel the strong pulsation
Of the Central Sea, and then
Time their currents to its earth throb —
Bring me men!

And this version, also in the Air Academy journal:

Bring me men to match my mountains,
Bring me men to match my plains;
Men to chart a starry empire,
Men to make celestial claims.

Bring me men to match my prairies,
Men to match my inland seas;
Men to sail beyond my oceans,
Reaching for the galaxies.

These are men to build a nation,
Join the mountains to the sky;
Men of faith and inspiration,
Bring me men, bring me men, bring me men!

Bring me men to match my forests,
Bring me men to match my shore;
Men to guard the mighty ramparts,
Men to stand at freedom’s door.

Bring me men to match my mountains,
Men to match their majesty,
Men to climb beyond their summits,
Searching for their destiny.

These are men to build a nation,
Join the mountains to the sky,
Men of faith and inspiration,
Bring me men, bring me men, bring me men!

While the empires being in their purpose obviously appeals to Willard, the Air Force seems to have thought better of the whole thing and had the inscription removed from the Academy campus in 2003. Perhaps it was just too chauvinistic.

Foss is a relatively common name in New Hampshire and the University in Durham has a major nature preserve by that name, East Foss Farm.
VIDEO”>

###
Editor's Note: This story was also published in Hannah's diary at DailyKos.com. Image credit: Caricature of Mitt Romney and Bill Koch by Gage Skidmore from his DonkeyHotey flickr photostream and used under creative commons license.

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."