I Like Americans…

April 19th, 2011

On a recent Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert interviewed Caroline Kennedy about the recent collection of poetry she just edited entitled She Walks in Beauty.  At the end of the interview, they recited the following poem together and I found myself getting a little choked up.  Thought I’d share it with you…

I Like Americans by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I like Americans.

You may say what you will, they are the nicest people in the world.

They sleep with their windows open.

Their bathtubs are never dry.

They are not grown up yet.

They still believe in Santa Claus.

They are terribly in earnest. But they laugh at everything…

I like Americans.

They give the matches free…

I like Americans. They are the only men in the world, the sight of whom in their shirt-sleeves is not rumpled, embryonic and agonizing…

I like Americans. They carry such pretty umbrellas. The Avenue de l’Opera on a rainy day is just an avenue on a rainy day. But Fifth Avenue on a rainy day is an old-fashioned garden under a shower…

They are always rocking the boat.

I like Americans. They either shoot the whole nickel, or give up the bones.

You may say what you will, they are the nicest people in the world.

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While I was searching for the poem online, I also found Hemingway’s version of  I Like Americans.

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I Like Americans

by Ernest Hemingway

I like Americans.
They are so unlike Canadians.
They do not take their policemen seriously.
They come to Montreal to drink. Not to criticize.
They claim they won the war. But they know at heart that they didn’t.
They have such respect for Englishmen.
They like to live abroad.
They do not brag about how they take baths. But they take them.
Their teeth are so good. And they wear B.V.D.’s all the year round. I wish they didn’t brag about it.
They have the second best navy in the world. But they never mention it.
They would like to have Henry Ford for president. But they will not elect him.
They saw through Bill Bryan. They have gotten tired of Billy Sunday.
Their men have such funny hair cuts.
They are hard to suck in on Europe. They have been there once.
They produced Barney Google, Mutt and Jeff. And Jiggs.
They do not hang lady murderers. They put them in vaudeville.
They read the Saturday Evening Post And believe in Santa Claus.
When they make money They make a lot of money.
They are fine people.
originally signed “By a Foreigner” when published in the Toronto Star Weekly in 1923.