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Life and Liberty in America 2022 AD, a Poem by Melissa Brander

Dulce et decorum est

pro patria mori.

But there is nothing

right or seemly

that those we have

asked to die





All for the sake

of a piece of paper

we treat as if


instead of written by men

who couldn’t imagine

how different our now

would be from their then.

Do you know it took

a month

(a little more)

for the king to learn of tea

dumped on Boston’s shore?

Yet in an instant

(a little more)

I can learn

of children gunned down

one thousand,

three hundred


miles from me.

And I just have to wonder -

is this what it means to be free?

Those schoolchildren had


and fingernails

and hopes


and futures.

And it is not enough

to continue to ignore

the fact that

we could choose to do

so much more . . .

There’s a reason that

life comes first

because without life

there is no liberty.

Without life there is no you -

there is no me.

I dream of a day

where we will together say

life matters more

than these weapons of war.

Until then

Lady Liberty stands

her lamp before the door.

And we’re still all yearning

to truly be free

in America -

the land of guns

and liberty.


Melissa Brander is a Wisconsin-based poet who often combines her love of writing with her desire to see change in the world. In addition to writing poetry, she also seeks to instill a love of reading and writing in young people, including her two sons.


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