The voice of America from 1908 – 2004
Outside the Methodist Youth club
I listened to your forays into American life and psyche
Politics was your forte, personalities too.
Decades before I realised that you were a son
Of Edwardian Manchester
You scurried far across the broad Atlantic to
A sort of fame and fortune. Alfred Cooke changed his name
To Alistair in 1930, two years before he arrived
In the USA where this chameleon character swore the Oath of Allegiance
To the United States on 1 December 1941. Six days
Before the attack upon Pearl Harbour forced the USA
Into the war. Letter from America ran for 58 years, the longest-running speech
Radio show in the world. He died at midnight on 30 March 2004.
I wonder if he thought of Hanky Park - where the poor of Salford were immortalised
In Walter Greenwood's wonderfully sad novel 'Love on the Dole'.
In a gothic addendum to his life his bones were stolen for bone grafts.
His death certificate was altered to hide the fact that the cancer he had died of
Had spread to his bones.
It seems that even after his own death, Alistair Cooke continued
To expose the rapacity and immorality of uncensored American capitalism.