May 25: Thomas Jefferson, Man of Liberty

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”
~Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, Man of Liberty

1752: Beginnings
At nine, I studied Latin, Greek and French,
And Homer, Tacitus, the law, John Locke,
And always carried my Greek grammar text.
I studied fifteen hours a day–hard work.

I studied architecture and designed
And built Monticello, where I could read
And write and drink my silky, soft, smooth wine
My agent shipped me from Marseille with speed.

The Revolution
What can men do when taxes are too high?
Buckle like cowards or put up a fight?
Bright men, strong nerves, each risked his life
For a people’s government and for our rights.

1776: The Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,”
The words I wrote with my favorite quill pen,
Rights from the Creator of women and men,
“Unalienable” – there! I’ve said it again.

I wrote that England’s king had made a mess,
That life and liberty and the pursuit
Of happiness were rights which God had blessed
All men with, which the king sought to uproot.

1777: The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
I drafted the Virginia Statute for
Religious Freedom, which begins “Whereas,
Almighty God hath created the mind free”

And states “our civil rights have no dependence”
On our opinions of religion any
More than our physics and geometry
Opinions, and that “Truth is great, and will

Prevail” if left alone, therefore law
No longer will compel a man to aid
A certain ministry but that all men
Shall have the freedom to profess, and by

Argument to maintain, their own opinions
In matters of Religion, and their views
Shall in no way diminish, augment or
Affect their civil scope and power, and

Th’Assembly did declare these rights to be
Natural rights of mankind, so that
If this Act were repealed, it would infringe
On those same natural rights; when drafters came

To Philadelphia and looked for guides
To write the Constitution, they esteemed
This Act so much that they embodied it
With a clause: “but no religious test

Shall ever be required” to qualify
To any office or a public trust
In the United States–which pleased me well.
For on these questions, men are fallible.

Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781–83
Can a land’s liberties be thought secure
When we have taken their sole sound foundation:
Conviction in the people’s minds, assured
These are God’s gifts and that to violate

The Lord’s benevolence and breach his trust
Would anger him, like Pharaoh and the Red Sea?
Now when I contemplate that God is just,
From what I’ve seen, I tremble for my country.

1787
The blood of tyrants and oppressors, so dear,
Must from time to time refresh the Freedom Tree
What country can preserve its liberties
If people don’t preserve the rebel spirit?

The Bill of Rights
That Constitution has some good parts,
Mr. Madison, you’ve made a fine start,
To raise it to the level of fine art,
Give it a Bill of Rights, give it a heart

For individuals, so government
Can’t overbear and take God-given rights:
Free speech, no searches with no warrant,
Freedom to worship Divinity’s light,

Right to bear arms, to congregate
As to what the government has done or may
Do, right to counsel, not to incriminate
Themselves, let law’s due process go its way.

And Mr. Madison took my advice
So that the rights were written and precise.

1803: Louisiana Purchase
Nap’s offer was too great for us to say
No, for it doubled the U.S.’s size
At three cents for an acre, yes, we’ll pay:
Good deal, no matter how it’s scrutinized.

“For our whole lives, this is our noblest work,
The U.S. now is among the power of the first rank,”
Said Livingston, the Minister to France,
“We did it with help from an English bank.”

1803–1806: Lewis and Clark
What’s in the West? The maps were dark
I commissioned two men, Lewis and Clark
Get me samples of wildlife, plants, bark.
Tell me of eagles, hawks, river birds and larks,

Is there a waterway to the western coast?
That is what I want to know the most.
Bring plants and seeds of which the region boasts;
Make this an expedition that we can toast.

Sally Hemings
Sally and I aren’t items in the news
We keep it private, actions that we do,
No one has forced her–it is what she chooses
To do, let us be or I’ll question you.

1801–1805: The Barbary Pirates
The pirates boarded, daggers in both hands
And between the teeth, and sailors, scared,
Gave up the ships, gave up command,
Were sold as slaves; I, President, declared

I’d end their ransom scam, white slavery
In the Islamic realms had to desist;
The cost in lives and merchandise was dear
Too much was flowing to Islamic fists.

For the nation’s budget one-fifth goes
To ransom, mil. a year, is much too grave
To pay the tribute pirates have imposed.
These pirates turn our sailors into slaves

Hard labor hell for so-called infidels–
We’ll send Marines to clean, so lives are saved
Decatur sailed with frigates full
Of fighters who took the pirates to their graves.

He stormed a ship and overpowered foes,
The age’s boldest and most daring act,
And the Marines took Derna, which was close
To Tripoli, which we would have attacked,

So Yusuf Karamanli had to sign
A treaty to conclude hostilities
And free enslaved Americans to dine
In the United States as they might please.

1817: University of Virginia
A university on an extensive
And liberal scale I had conceived while I
Served as third President, one that would give
Students the knowledge cup, with no requirement

To know a catechism. They could read
Ancient or modern languages, or law,
Medicine, mathematics, chemistry,
Or in philosophy. The tragic flaw

In other universities, I said:
They were religious schools, and I was firm
That higher education not be wed
To a religious doctrine any term.

1826: Life’s End
God gave us liberty when he gave life
(Time wastes too fast, our precious passing lives),
John Adams lives this Fourth of July,
And Independence thrives . . . now I can die.

Epitaph
And on his epitaph, which he designed:
Nothing about his Presidency; instead
The Declaration, which he wrote and signed,
Virginia’s University (he led

With how he had conceived curriculum)
And Statute for Religious Freedom of
Virginia, law designed to overcome
Prejudice for beliefs–labors of love.

~Day Williams
*

“California Cove”

California Cove

                you kings, be wise;

Be warned, you earthly rulers.

~Psalm 2:10

I.
From New York, Texas, and D.C.
The weaving spiders come
To heap up fame and wealth and might
And pluck the precious plums.

They spend some hours with employees
They pull the boys’ pants down
The Manly Coven thrills to cooks
Who profit from the clowns

And Doctor Octopus plays chess
In evening’s afterglow
As Thomas Paine stands in sun’s light
Outside California Cove

II.
The Wicked Witch, her dreams are sleazy
“Bring my hammer and my toy,”
She joins her girlfriend in a basement
Where she keeps her golden boys

A jet brings Wild Bill Hickok
With coke from railroad tracks:
“These women are my property
The rest of you, go back”

And the lawyers from the swamp
Have bought a porn star’s trove;
Foundations skim donations
At California Cove

III.

Throughout the day the finches stay
And sing in leafy trees
While men come near, their conscience seared,
And party in the breeze

No self-control, no righteous goals,
No trust in God at all
They trust in flesh from birth to death,
Ignoring heaven’s call.

They revel in the stink and sin
For two weeks on the go
Where spiders weave and men deceive
At California Cove

IV.

Underground rooms are busy
Prince Charming spurns his bride
The Madames travel from North Beach

To view the homicides

Miss Fuddy Duddy, she knows too much
Time for her to go
They’ll cover the hit with a plane crash
Nobody will ever know

Monk Rasputin, who romps with maids,
Ruined Chicago’s homes
He’ll lead the rituals
At California Cove

V.
Powermongers give talks
Beside a tree-lined lake
And they pretend that they don’t care
What titles they may take

Their eyes transfixed by symbols
From ancient Babylon
They phrase their buzz words expertly
Nodding to the Ku Klux Klan

But their disguises aren’t so good
Down at the bordello
Where videos are made and stored
At California Cove

VI.
Freddy Krueger scared the limo
That drove along Elm Street
Beside a grassy knoll
Where nightmares took their seats

And Caesar, guard on his right side,
Shot the peace candidate
Who would have stopped a foreign war
Where profits come from hate

Weaving spiders fondly recall
Cave Men from long ago
Who fixed and tricked the sleeping giant
At California Cove

VII.
Jason  Bourne, self-assigned his task,
Arranges knives and guns,
No matter why, the bullet flies,
He’ll notch another one.

Director Jay, on public pay,
Dislikes a journalist,
He calls a pal and pays his way,
“That meddler won’t  be missed.”

Twisted men meet and scratch their rears
They fight their vertigo
By acting like they have no fears
At California Cove.

VIII.
Down trails, by trees, up forest tracks
Cave men hunt dangerous game
No deputy can find the bodies
And no one is to blame

Hog farmers come to clean the mess
The Cave Men leave behind
They’ll never tell the coppers
On what the pigs have dined

And by Washington’s Monument
The narcissists run moles
Who spy on Paine and Jefferson
At California Cove

IX.
Now Cassius, looking long and lean,
Phoned his bookie for a bet
A high-placed man would die that night,
A hardship he won’t regret

He forges 302s for Brutus
Persuading him to join
The pool of high-stakes players
With shiny Power Points

He wears fine suits and flashes smiles
As in a puppet show
You wouldn’t know his savage weeks
At California Cove

X.
Now by the guarded entrance gate
Protesters carry signs,
A fat head sticks out from a limo
And in a high voice whines,

Nurse Ratched will repair your head,
You nonconformist freaks,
She’ll shock your brain ‘til you comply
And you can’t even squeak”

The limo speeds inside the place
As though a racer drove
For fun and games and care in flames
At California Cove

XI.

“We’ll rule the world,” the Prince intones
“Peasants will bow and scrape,
And that is sweet, for we’re elite
And they descend from apes.

We’ll poison food and medicine,
Their air not fit to breathe,
Reduce their numbers from thick to thin,
Take fillings from their teeth

We’ll have more room to roam and hunt
We’ll make our own Utopia”
To loud applause from makers of laws
At California Cove.

XII.
A songbird formed his whole career
By turning on his land
He sided with the enemies,

Gave them his helping hand

The songbird plans his funeral
As though he will soon die
But Grandpa knows he lied again
He’ll fake his death and fly

An orb or planet deep in space,
An isle off Mexico,
Nowhere to hide when he’s allied
With California Cove

XIII.
In strides the smiling oil man
And he conducts a dance
He rests inside an ivy coffin
And takes the kids for romance

He stores his conscience in a vault
Buried in an ocean trench
He tramps across the forest camp
To a girl he calls his wench

And Dr. Szell says open wide
He’ll probe for what you know
And if it hurts, why, tell the men
At California Cove

XIV.
Rick Blaine rides to the airport in fog
With Ilsa as time goes by
He makes a heart-break tarmac deal
A patriot would buy

And Rocky’s ready for a fight
With clowns who harm his kids
And he will pound Count Dracula
‘Til his jawbone falls to bits

In subterfuge and trickery
The hungry ply their trade
The prostitutes have more morals
Than Cave Men who make AIDS.

XV.
Before the panic and debris
Lucky Larry nibbled toast
He checked fine print on policies
Assured to claim the most

Put options placed for profits max
In their overflowing cups
Godfathers took a front-row seat
To watch the nukes blow up

Goldfinger envies them so much
He will attend the Owl Show
To participate in sacrifice
At California Cove.

XVI.
As innocents are shot to death
Sheriff Hoyt says stand down
He takes his orders from half-high,
From Wendy and the clowns.

His handler, hideous harridan,
Runs spies in her domain
Wendy sells her country for a kiss
And tries to blackmail Tom Paine

A body on a beach tells tales
About the lawns she mows
Don’t double-cross that horrid boss
At California Cove

XVII.
Dr. Downer creates diseases
So he can sell the cure
And puts the profits through a laundry
While he goes on a tour

Harry Lime promotes disorders
And bigger DSM’s
He will sell you pills through your doc
So he can buy more gems

He claims they’ll solve your problems
And keep you status quo
If you will buy his merchandise
At California Cove

XVIII.
Cleopatra has sailed her barge
Downriver to the sea
While Antony professes love
He’s down on his knees

She smiles and checks computer files
That tell her all she needs
She’ll scare him with the dirt she has
And satisfy her greed

Her bank accounts are empty
Funds disappeared in holes
But she’ll replenish them with work
From California Cove.

XIX.
Too bad a minion in the crew
Has had enough of this
He hands the queen some poisoned wine
And seals it with a kiss

And she bestows her shameless smirk
And downs the wine with flair
And says, “I’ll never be arrested–
Nobody would dare!”

And as she chokes and gasps
Her terror and panic grow:
“I should have told the truth
About California Cove.”

XX.
The pirate-profiteers hoist flags
Along the river bank:
“We’re only here for gold, you louts,
When tough, we’ll break ranks.”

Some ask them for their balance sheet
They plunge into a funk:
“If you invade our privacy
We’ll put you in a trunk.”

The Cave Men greet confusing men
Who play their puppet shows
And keep Tom Paine in heavy chains
At California Cove

XXI.
Darth Vader types the false flag scripts
His lackies carry out
And he eliminates the fools
Who harbor righteous doubts

Storm troopers come in force to drag
Off those who have switched sides
“You must remain in Darth’s plantation
Or we will tan your hide.”

The humble people in their fog
Don’t know which way to go
So Cave Men sneer and keep control
At California Cove.

XXII.
Bonnie and Clyde’s machine guns
Have rusted in a heap
While they formed a foundation
To pillage sleeping sheep

“Honor? Integrity?
Those are for little folks.
We’re masters of the world,”
A Naked Cave man spoke.

Funny how planes smoke and crash
When people get too close
Funny about the accidents
From California Cove.

XXIII.
Hannibal Lector  has escaped

To grab a tasty bite
At Jimmy’s pizzeria
Where news anchors alight

Gordon Gekko works the phones
He’s shorted casino stock
Travis Bickle, wearing suit and tie,
Works with him round the clock

The Joker says he’ll bomb a building
To punish those in the know
And Dr. Downer joins him
At California Cove.

XXIV.
Norman Bates runs in the shower stall
A butcher knife in hand
And Ellen Ripley slams his groin
Up through his thyroid gland

And Atticus is standing up,
A prosecutor now,
With his unsealed indictments
He’ll drive the justice plow

The Power Boys, like cornered rats,
Will bite to overthrow
The people’s choice and champ
At California Cove

XXV.
Benedict Arnold in crosshairs
Behaves like he’s on meth
In the sewers, swamps, and cesspools
The songbird fakes his death

Potter the banker owns the town
Foreclosing on each one
Robin Hood shoots him with arrows
Because he owns no gun

The Cave Men party through the night
The Robber Barons gloat
Rape victims have nowhere to go
At California Cove

XXVI.
Tom Paine has started a storm
Ben Franklin flies a kite
The villagers wake up, clear-eyed,
The dawning of the light

And Harry Callahan has chased
The crooks from pole to pole
And when he cocks his forty-four
He knows they’ve sold their souls.

The moon is blood, the stars go out,
Hawaiian lava flows
And not a soul has worshiped God
At California Cove

XXVII.

And Pilate in his power place
Questions the renegade:
“Why are you here? You aren’t King Lear,
You would not share your name”

“I am the Light,” the man replied,
And Pilate’s face turned white,
“I will not leave those who believe,
But your heart isn’t right”

And Pilate said, “You’re innocent”

Washes his hands in a bowl
“Your pain begins for mankind’s sins
At California Cove.”

 

XXVIII.

The billionaire without a care
Gave up his playboy style
To serve a land he understands
In a time of shadow trials

He set in place many an ace
To trump the kings and queens
Who undermine the green felt lines
With their card-count machine

With God the lead, he will indeed
Incarcerate the foes
Whose whines and cries won’t save their lives
At California Cove

~Day Williams

Poet, lawyer, social and political commentator

S.D.G.

Wait until someone puts these words to music and sings them.

***

Grateful Dead, Desolation Row 

Hebrews 9:14:

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

He will come again

Messiah came and took the blame
For sins of other men;
One average day, as children play,
He will come again.

~Day