The Ballad of the Corncob and the Lie, Archibald MacLeish circa 1960

Will Faulkner, Will Faulkner,
You are to blame my friend
Telling of a maiden
Brought to no good end,
Raped but with a corn-cob,
Raped but with a lie:
They’ve learned to rape the country
With a corn-cob and a lie.

They’ve learned to rape the country
Though rape is past their power,
They’ve learned to have her virtue
Though feeble to deflower:
To soil her lovely thinking,
The freedom of her mind —
They’ve learned to do it winking
With a corn-cob from behind.

Will Faulkner, Will Faulkner,
They’ve learned those lying arts:
They’ve had her in her freedom
And Oh, it breaks our hearts!
The impotent that could not —
That leered with letching eye,
They’ve learned to rape the country
With a corn-cob and a lie.

[For five years MacLeish was Librarian of Congress, a post he accepted at the urging of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[2] From 1949 to 1962, MacLeish was Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University. MacLeish was awarded three Pulitzer Prizes for his work.]

As nearly as I can find, this poem has never found its way to the Internet.   So, since I’m an admirer of MacLeish poetry, and since I’ve posted a number of his other [better] poems here, I add this to the mix.

 

 

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