The story of an immigrant to the US

I came to America a long time ago
I came by boat, like many other folks
We all wanted to try our luck
To find a new home and have a new life.
My homeland was Ireland, there was no road back
I was young, my parents were dead
And so I moved, like all the others did
To the land of the best opportunities.

I had to work to earn my money
But I always had some bread and honey
I had a car and I used it a lot
I had a wife, and a nice house.
The dream came true, I got my chance
To live, work and get rich
"Anybody can do it if heís willing to work"
I liked to listen to these nice words.

Ten years ago, how far it seems now,
I lost my job, my wife left me too.
"Take care of yourself," the government said
And so I did, I didnít beg for help
I caught the wind, from state to state
I traveled, worked here and there
All the jobs that come and go
I was happy, I had my freedom.

I saw Niagara, I saw LA
I lived in New York, in Seattle as well
I traveled through deserts, so red in the sun
Most of the time I was on the run:
I ran through  forests, I ran through  towns
But peace of mind I couldn't find
There was something I missed, perhaps my roots
I was on the road, and without any home.

I saw a lot, but there's more I'll never know
Even one more life wouldn't be enough, though
To see all of America's contrasts, all  its  treasures
America is too huge to be seen in one life.
There will come a time I won't be living here
And nobody will care, even I won't care
I will die soon, I know that for sure
I am an old man, and have no place to go.

I think of people I meet on the streets
Each of them is different, each of them has a dream
They rush onwards, towards success
To own, to fight, to be the one who wins...
I behaved like them, but I have changed
All I need is just a few bucks to survive
This much I can earn, or ask people to give me
They call me a bum, and they treat me like one.

Nowhere to go, nowhere to escape
There's nobody here to hear me ask:
"Where are you, America?" I'd like to know
Perhaps I missed you somehow, though
You are supposed to be the best country
Land of plenty, land of money...
No other country is quite like you
But still I miss Ireland, and the times of my childhood.

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© 2000 Viktor Horak. All rights reserved