He's Taken Out His Papers (1921)
Edgar Guest (1881-1959)
He's taken out his papers, an' he's just like you an' me.
He's sworn to love the Stars and Stripes an' die for it, says he.
An' he's done with dukes an' princes, an' he's done with kings an' queens,
An' he's pledged himself to freedom, for he knows what freedom means.
He's bought himself a bit of ground, an', Lord, he's proud an' glad!
For in the land he came from that is what he never had.
Now his kids can beat his writin', an' they're readin' books, says he,
That the children in his country never get a chance to see.
He's taken out his papers, an' he's prouder than a king:
"It means a lot to me," says he, "just like the breath o' spring,
For a new life lies before us; we've got hope an' faith an' cheer;
We can face the future bravely, an' our kids don't need to fear."
He's taken out his papers, an' his step is light to-day,
For a load is off his shoulders an' he treads an easier way;
An' he'll tell you, if you ask him, so that you can understand,
Just what freedom means to people who have known some other land.
Note: This poem may be semi-autobiographical. Edgar Guest was born in England, in 1881, and became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1902.