American Flag Poetry

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Flag Discussion' started by YCHistorian, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. YCHistorian

    YCHistorian New Member

    As a relative newcomer to this forum, I'd like to start a thread to post some poems that have been written through the years about Old Glory. Many of these patriotic poems come from a a simpler time, however their words still ring true today. Here's one of my favorites, by Edgar Guest titled "Lines For A Flag Raising". We used this poem at a flagpole dedication for our office several years ago.

    Lines For a Flag Raising Ceremony

    Full many a flag the breeze has kissed;
    Through ages long the morning sun
    Has risen over the early mist
    The flags of men to look upon.

    And some were red against the sky,
    And some with colors true were gay,
    And some in shame were born to die,
    For Flags of hate must pass away.

    Such symbols fall as men depart,
    Brief is the reign of arrant might;
    The vicious and the vile at heart
    Give way in time before the right.

    A flag is nothing in itself;
    It but reflects the lives of men;
    And they who lived and toiled for pelf
    Went out as vipers in a den.

    God cleans the sky from time to time
    Of every tyrant flag that flies,
    And every brazen badge of crime
    Falls to the ground and swiftly dies.

    Proud kings are mouldering in the dust;
    Proud flags of ages past are gone;
    Only the symbols of the just
    Have lived and shall keep living on.

    So long as we shall serve the truth,
    So long as honor stamps us fair,
    Each age shall pass unto its youth
    Old Glory proudly flying there!

    But if we fail our splendid past,
    If we prove faithless, weak and base,
    That age shall be our banner's last;
    A fairer flag shall take its place.

    This flag we fling unto the skies
    Is but an emblem of our hearts,
    And when our love of freedom dies,
    Our banner with our race departs.

    Full many a flag the breezes kiss,
    Full many a flag the sun has known,
    But none so bright and fair as this;
    None quite so splendid as our own!

    This tells the world that we are men
    Who cling to manhood's ways and truth;
    It is our soul's great voice and pen,
    The strength of age, the guide of youth,

    And it shall ever hold the sky
    So long as we shall keep our trust;
    But if our love of right shall die
    Our Flag shall sink into the dust.

    -Edgar Guest
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  2. YCHistorian

    YCHistorian New Member

    Here's another favorite of mine, by none other than Oliver Wendell Homes.

    God Save the Flag

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Washed in the blood of the brave and the blooming,
    Snatched from the altars of insolent foes,
    Burning with star-fires, but never consuming,
    Flash its broad ribbons of lily and rose.

    Vainly the prophets of Baal would rend it,
    Vainly his worshippers pray for its fall;
    Thousands have died for it, millions defend it,
    Emblem of justice and mercy to all;

    Justice that reddens the sky with her terrors,
    Mercy that comes with her white-handed train,
    Soothing all passions, redeeming all errors,
    Sheathing the sabre and breaking the chain.

    Borne on the deluge of all usurpations,
    Drifted our Ark o'er the desolate seas,
    Bearing the rainbow of hope to the nations,
    Torn from the storm-cloud and flung to the breeze!

    God bless the Flag and its loyal defenders,
    While its broad folds o'er the battle-field wave,
    Till the dim star-wreath rekindle its splendors,
    Washed from its stains in the blood of the brave!

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008

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