The opening stanza starts with a proclamation, invoking a sense of nostalgia for a better version of America that has (supposedly) come and gone. The speaker seems to want America to once again be the kind of place defined by a sense of freedom and opportunity for all, for the country to once again embody the "American Dream" itself.
The first set of lines establishes the speaker's frequent use of anaphora. The repetition of "Let" and "Let it be the" make the poem feel like an invocation of sorts. This is also likely an allusion to the lyric "let freedom ring" from the song "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)," which served as a de facto national anthem until the 1930s. The speaker, then, is using language deeply connected to America and its founding ideals. Indeed, the word "America" itself is used four times within the first five lines.
Additionally, the speaker references the concept of the American Dream directly in the second line. This reference effectively positions the speaker's discussion in relation to this cultural concept and its social, political, and historical implications. The speaker goes on to personify America itself as the "pioneer" seeking freedom in a new land. The figure of the pioneer is emblematic of the American Dream and its promise of newfound freedom and opportunity. By drawing from the American cultural imagination, the speaker initially seems to endorse conventional attitudes about American society.
This perspective, however, is immediately contradicted by the stand-alone line that follows the first stanza:
(America never was America to me.)
The speaker suggests that the American Dream never reached fruition in their own life, indicating that the speaker's perspective is more complex than it appeared to be at first glance. The fact that this phrase is contained within parenthesis and separated from the opening stanza suggests that it is something the broader narrative of America has ignored; the speaker's experience is an inconvenient reality that undermines the idea that America was ever the kind of place it has purported to be.
In terms of form, the opening stanza is a quatrain and with ABAB rhyme scheme. There's the slant rhyme of "again"/"plain" and the full rhyme of "be"/"free." This is a pretty easy, standard pattern for a poem, suggesting a sense of complacency—which is then abruptly broken by the standalone line 5. However, this standalone line also rhymes with the B sound from the quatrain—that is, "me" rhymes with "be" and "free"—suggesting that, though the speaker has been excluded from the American dream, the speaker, too, is still a part of America.