Chosen by Dr Oliver Tearle
Previously, we’ve offered some of the best very short poems by American poets, and in this post we turn our thoughts to poems about America, which we feel are especially appropriate for the Fourth of July. Here are some of the most fervently patriotic poems about the United States for Independence Day.
Francis Scott Key, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
This is something of a misnomer, since the name of the patriotic hymn and national anthem for the United States comes from a poem with a different official title, ‘Defence of Fort M’Henry’, which was written on September 14, 1814 by Francis Scott Key (distant cousin of his namesake, F. Scott Fitzgerald) after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore (part of the War of 1812). Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes (i.e. the Star-Spangled Banner), which was flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory. Follow the link above to read all of this patriotic American poem/hymn and learn more about it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘A Nation’s Strength’.
What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?
It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock…
What makes a nation great, and what factors or qualities contributed towards making the United States the envy of the world? In this patriotic American poem, Emerson – a key figure in the American Transcendentalist movement – asks if gold, the sword, or pride make a nation powerful, before concluding that the most important thing is the men – ‘Brave men who work while others sleep’.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ‘Paul Revere’s Ride’.
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year…
One of the most famous poems about the American Revolution (or War of Independence), Longfellow’s narrative poem details the journey made by the American patriot Paul Revere on 18 April 1775, with a good side-helping of poetic licence thrown in. Revere awaits the signal telling him how and where the British will attack American troops, and when he hears they are attacking by sea, the devout patriot rides full pelt across Massachusetts to warn his fellow Americans. Longfellow’s poem did much to create the modern ‘myth’ of Paul Revere, whose celebrated night-time ride wasn’t mentioned in obituaries reporting his death in 1818.
Walt Whitman, ‘I Hear America Singing’.
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work…
Although Whitman (1819-92) was a pioneer of free verse and often wrote long, expansive poems, ‘I Hear America Singing’ is just eleven lines long, though Whitman crams a lot into those eleven lines. What better way to continue our brief introduction to America’s best poets than with a poem by one of American poetry’s pioneers, praising the many different people in his nation and the various songs they sing?
Julia Ward Howe, ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’.
Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage
Where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning
Of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on…
Although this poem had its origins in another American war – the US Civil War rather than the American War of Independence – it has become one of the most famous patriotic American hymns. Howe later recalled the circumstances of the poem’s composition (which was conceived as some new lyrics to an old tune, ‘John Brown’s Body’): ‘I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, “I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.” So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.’
Julia Ann Moore, ‘Fourth of July’. ‘Fourth of July, how sweet it sounds, / As every year it rolls around. / It brings active joy to boy and man, / This glorious day throughout our land.’ Although Moore has a reputation for being ‘the female William McGonagall’, her poetry wasn’t always as bad as that sobriquet might imply. Here, she offers a rousing paean to the American holiday of Independence Day.
Emma Lazarus, ‘The New Colossus’.
‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’
Emma Lazarus (1848-87) is most famous for writing this one poem, a sonnet which adorns the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Written in 1883, the poem helped to shape the popular idea of the Statue of Liberty as a welcoming mother, and of America as the great nation of immigrants. This view was helped by the fact that the Statue was the first great US landmark that immigrants arriving in the United States would see. See the link above to read the full poem and learn about its history.
E. E. Cummings, ‘next to of course god america i’. This poem is one of Cummings’ takes on the sonnet form, although as we’d expect from a technical innovator like Cummings, he plays around with the rhyme scheme (rhyming his poem ababccdefgfeg), spacing (‘deafanddumb’), and line endings (‘beaut- / iful’ spans two lines). The poem summons a number of earlier patriotic poems about the United States, such as Key’s ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and, perhaps, Felicia Dorothea Hemans’ poem about the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers. Is the poem patriotic or critical of blind American patriotism? It appears to be both, suggesting that if one loves one’s country, one should hold it up for rebuke when it does something reprehensible (such as getting involved in foreign wars: Cummings was, famously, a pacifist).
Rita Dove, ‘Banneker’. What better poem to round off this pick of the best poems about America for the Fourth of July? Dove, a contemporary African American poet, wrote ‘Banneker’ about Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806), the black American polymath who published a series of popular almanacs and helped to survey the area that became the nation’s capital, Washington D. C.
The author of this article, Dr Oliver Tearle, is a literary critic and lecturer in English at Loughborough University. He is the author of, among others, The Secret Library: A Book-Lovers’ Journey Through Curiosities of History and The Great War, The Waste Land and the Modernist Long Poem.
On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America's national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort M'Henry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812.
It's green forest operating prosperity let's work hard for it for city beyond god for city beyond
The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Patriotic Poems, by Walt Whitman.
Patriotic Poems for Kids
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. My Country 'Tis of Thee by Samuel Francis Smith. A Nation's Strength by Ralph Waldo Emerson. When Our Land Was New by Annette Wynne.
You can add others, but the American symbols suggested to focus on are: the U.S. flag, the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle, the Liberty Bell, Mount Rushmore, and the Pledge of Allegiance.
The rhyming words used in the poem are: Way, Sway, Day Mad, Had Bells, Repels, Else Cries, Skies Sun, Undone, Run Keep, Reap Now, Allow, Trow Set, Yet Needs, Bleeds, Misdeeds Behind, Mind Go, Owe, So Dead, Instead 4.2.
- Present yourself well and be attentive. Use good posture. Be confident and make a direct connection with the audience.
- Nervous gestures and lack of confidence will detract from your score.
- Relax and be natural. Enjoy your poem—the judges will notice.
Answer: The Patriot is majorly based on the theme of rising and fall of fortune. The narrator, the patriot is welcomed with feverish joy and paths of roses in the first two stanzas by the townspeople. But, by the end of the poem we see that those same people have humiliated and executed him, within a year.
USPS Stamp to Honor Walt Whitman, 'Father of Modern American Poetry'
The Patriot himself is the speaker in the poem.
Definition of patriotism
: love for or devotion to one's country Although poles apart ideologically, they are both unashamed of their patriotism.—
"One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, one nation evermore!" "I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit." "Duty, honor, country.
Initially described as obscene for its overt sexuality, Leaves of Grass was with time recognized as one of the central works of American poetry. Walt Whitman is, without a doubt, one of the most influential poets in history and many regard him as the greatest American poet ever.
Law 34 of 1949 declares the Symbols of the Nation to be the Flag, the National Anthem, and the Coat of Arms. It was reformed by Law 2 of 2012. The Patriotic Symbols represent our history, culture and heritage at the national and international level.
Buffalo. The buffalo or bison is an Earthly representation of bravery, freedom, kindness, strength, and respect.
Strelitzia is seen as the flower of freedom, and also represents immortality.
On November 20, 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared the rose the National Flower of the USA in a special ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. The proclamation reads, in part: More often than any other flower, we hold the rose dear as the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity…
This folder contains materials maintained by President John F. Kennedy's personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, prior to and during his presidency, and consists of the President's favorite poem, "Ulysses," by Alfred Tennyson.
“The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.” Whitman's claim stemmed from a belief that both poetry and democracy derive their power from their ability to create a unified whole out of disparate parts—a notion that is especially relevant at a time when America feels bitterly divided.
The patriot's path was strewn with fragrant roses which is a symbol of love. It was people's way of showing their love and appreciation to the patriot who had came after a grand victory thus people welcomed him with great zeal and enthusiasm.
He regrets that misdeeds of a year have wiped all of his good deeds from their memories. So in the final stanza, he is struggling to collect some optimism in such a painful, state. He says he has served his purpose, so now it is his time to leave.
The poem "The Patriot" revolves around the story of the life of a patriot or a noble person who had done a great deed. The title is hence justified. The patriot was once welcomed by the people of having done a great deed. Next the people suddenly changed their mind and they betrayed the patriot.
Your name, where you're from, something appreciative (but not obsequious) about the venue or the audience or the poet who preceded you. If you can connect your poem to something said by anyone who came before you on stage, by all means, do it. It shows you came to listen.
In poetry, an end-stop refers to a pause at the end of a poetic line. An end-stop can be marked by a period (full stop), comma, semicolon, or other punctuation denoting the end of a complete phrase or cause, or it can simply be the logical end of a complete thought.
- Read through the poem carefully and slowly and out loud. ...
- Copy the poem over in your own handwriting, writing on every other line. ...
- Read the poem out loud again.
- Using an index card or a piece of paper, cover up all of the poem except the first line.
The poem, 'The Patriot' by Robert Browning is primarily based on the theme of rising and the fall of fortune. A patriot can be acclaimed one day but can be degraded the very next day. In the poem, the narrator, who happens to be the patriot is initially welcomed with joy and paths of roses by the people around him.
In Browning's poem, the speaker, a patriot is reminded of his past. This is because his condition has has changed to exact opposite of what he had gone through just one year ago. At that time he enjoyed people's trust and admiration which is now gone and he has now been adjudged a traitor and is sentenced to death.
Myrtle symbolizes peace, purity and innocence, mirroring the nature of the Patriot.
Ever since the end of the 14th century, Chaucer has been known as the "father of English poetry," a model of writing to be imitated by English poets. “He was one of the first poets of his day to write exclusively in English (his contemporary John Gower, for example, wrote in Latin, French, and English).
The poem's speaker (who can be read as McKay himself) confesses his “love” for America despite the country's oppressive “hate” towards people like him.
'America' by Claude McKay balances ideas of loving and hating the United States. McKay explores the good parts of the country, the strength and vigor it contains as well as the bad. Yet, he also comments on the 'bitterness', violence, and corruption the country is known for.
Answer: The Patriot is a dramatic monologue written by the renowned English poet and playwright Robert Browning. The speaker of the poem is a patriot. The poem is a monologue of this 'patriot speaker' who narrates his tale to us as he has been taken to the scaffold to be executed publicly for his 'misdeeds'.
Themes. In 'The Patriot' Browning explores themes that include duty, happiness, and sorrow. The extremely fickle opinions of the citizens of this area change the Patriot's life form one of celebration to one of sorrow. The man is welcomed with adoring and an obsessively reverential celebration but soon things change.
Answer: Yes, the people were ready to sacrifice anything for the patriot. This is mentioned in the last line where the people ask him if he want them to get anything else for him. Everybody wanted to honour him and at that time whatever he wished was of the utmost importance for the people.
Nathanson (1997) claims that patriotism consist of 4 main components which are, a special affection towards one's country; defining himself or herself through his or her country; being interested in country's welfare; and sacrificing for the sake of country's welfare.
Honorable Principal, Fellow Colleagues, and Dear Students! Today we gathered here to pay homage to the ones who gave away their lives to safeguard ours. As all of you know, we have gathered here today, to commemorate our freedom fighters, their victories, and their sacrifices in the freedom struggle.
Six U.S. symbols are depicted in this primary source set: the Liberty Bell, the U.S. flag, the bald eagle, the national anthem, Uncle Sam, and the Statue of Liberty.
The bald eagle first appeared as an American symbol on a Massachusetts copper cent coined in 1776. Since then it has appeared on the reverse side of many U.S. coins, notably the silver dollar, halfdollar and quarter, as well as the gold coins which were christened the eagle, half eagle, quarter eagle, and double eagle.
Anne Bradstreet was the first woman to be recognized as an accomplished New World Poet. Her volume of poetry The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America ... received considerable favorable attention when it was first published in London in 1650.
|What prominent member of Continental Congress helped frame the Declaration of Independence?||Benjamin Franklin|
|What journalist was the author of Common Sense?||Thomas Paine|
|What former slave wrote poems and plays supporting American independence?||Phillis Wheatley|
The House of Representatives voted today to make the rose America's national flower. The Senate passed the rose resolution a year ago, and it now goes to President Reagan, who is expected to sign the bill.
The Statue of Liberty stands in Upper New York Bay, a universal symbol of freedom. Originally conceived as an emblem of the friendship between the people of France and the U.S. and a sign of their mutual desire for liberty, over the years the Statue has become much more.
The Liberty Bell is a well-known symbol of freedom in the United States. The bell was first made in 1752 for the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall.
Well known for its history, its film industry, its music industry and its dozens of unique and historic monuments, the United States is one of the greatest cultural, political and economic powers in the world. Some key information about the US : Capital : Washington. Population : 330 252 859 millions.
The symbol of America has not always been the American Bald Eagle. Long before we used the eagle to symbolize our strength and liberty, it was in fact the American rattlesnake that held the esteemed title as the first symbol of America – the symbol of Liberty. It was December 1775.
“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.” “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." “If ever two were one, then surely we. I prize thy love more than whole mines of Gold.
Unending Love - Rabindranath Tagore (Audrey Hepburn's favourite poem) | Tagore quotes, Poems, Love poems.
Themes. The role of women is a common subject found in Bradstreet's poems. Living in a Puritan society, Bradstreet did not approve of the stereotypical idea that women were inferior to men during the 1600s.
USPS Stamp to Honor Walt Whitman, 'Father of Modern American Poetry'
|Born||Sarojini Chattopadhyay13 February 1879 Hyderabad, Hyderabad State, British India|
|Died||2 March 1949 (aged 70) Lucknow, United Provinces, Dominion of India|
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Spouse||Govindarajulu Naidu (1898–1949)|
Thomas Jefferson is considered the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, although Jefferson's draft went through a process of revision by his fellow committee members and the Second Continental Congress.