95 Inspiring Poems about America You Must Read

America has inspired countless poets to capture its essence, from its rich history and diverse culture to its identity and patriotic spirit.

Through poetry, we gain insight into the complexities of this nation and its people.

In this collection of inspiring poems about America, we explore the many facets of this great country, from its founding ideals to its present realities.

These poems challenge us to reflect on America’s past, present, and future, and to consider the role we each play in shaping its destiny.

Whether you’re a lover of poetry, a student of history, or simply someone who cares deeply about this country, these American poems offer a unique perspective on America and its place in the world.

Famous Poems about America

In this category, we showcase poems that have become synonymous with American literature and have shaped our understanding of the nation’s identity.

1. Crossing Nation

       by Allen Ginsberg

Under silver wing
San Francisco’s towers sprouting
thru thin gas clouds,
Tamalpais black-breasted above Pacific azure
Berkeley hills pine-covered below-
Dr Leary in his brown house scribing Independence
typewriter at window
silver panorama in natural eyeball-

Sacramento valley rivercourse’s Chinese
dragonflames licking green flats north-hazed
State Capitol metallic rubble, dry checkered fields
to Sierras- past Reno, Pyramid Lake’s
blue Altar, pure water in Nevada sands’
brown wasteland scratched by tires

Jerry Rubin arrested! Beaten, jailed,
coccyx broken-
Leary out of action- ‘a public menace…
persons of tender years…immature
judgement…pyschiatric examination…’
i.e. Shut up or Else Loonybin or Slam

Leroi on bum gun rap, $7,000
lawyer fees, years’ negotiations-
Spock Guilty headlined temporary, Joan Baez’
paramour husband Dave Harris to Gaol
Dylan silent on politics, & safe-
having a baby, a man-
Cleaver shot at, jail’d, maddened, parole revoked,

Vietnam War flesh-heap grows higher,
blood splashing down the mountains of bodies
on to Cholon’s sidewalks-
Blond boys in airplane seats fed technicolor
Murderers advance w/ Death-chords
Earplugs in, steak on plastic
served- Eyes up to the Image-

What do I have to lose if America falls?
my body? my neck? my personality?

2. The Star of Liberty

       by Lucretia Maria Davidson

There shone a gem on England’s crown,
Bright as yon star;
Oppression marked it with a frown,
He sent his darkest spirit down,
To quench the light that round it shone,
Blazing afar.
But Independence met the foe,
And laid the swift-winged demon low.
A second messenger was sent,
Dark as the night;
On his dire errand swift he went,
But Valour’s bow was truly bent,
Justice her keenest arrow lent,
And sped its flight;
Then fell the impious wretch, and Death
Approached, to take his withering breath.
Valour then took, with hasty hand,
The gem of light;
He flew to seek some other land,
He flew to’scape oppression’s hand,
He knew there was some other strand,
More bright;
And as he swept the fields of air,
He found a country, rich and fair.
Upon its breast the star he placed,
The star of liberty;
Bright, and more bright the meteor blazed,
The lesser planets stood amazed,
Astonished mortals, wondering, gazed,
Looking on fearfully.
That star shines brightly to this day,
On thy calm breast, America!

3. Song of the American Eagle

       by Anonymous

I build my nest on the mountain’s crest,
Where the wild winds rock my eaglets to rest,
Where the lightnings flash, and the thunders crash,
And the roaring torrents foam and dash;
For my spirit free henceforth shall be
A type of the sons of Liberty.
Aloft I fly from my aërie high,
Through the vaulted dome of the azure sky;
On a sunbeam bright take my airy flight,
And float in a flood of liquid light;
For I love to play in the noontide ray,
And bask in a blaze from the throne of day.
Away I spring with a tireless wing,
On a feathery cloud I poise and swing;
I dart down the steep where the lightnings leap,
And the clear blue canopy swiftly sweep;
For, dear to me is the revelry
Of a free and fearless Liberty.
I love the land where the mountains stand,
Like the watch-towers high of a Patriot band;
For I may not bide in my glory and pride,
Though the land be never so fair and wide,
Where Luxury reigns o’er voluptuous plains,
And fetters the free-born soul in chains.
Then give to me in my flights to see
The land of the pilgrims ever free!
And I never will rove from the haunts I love
But watch, from my sentinel-track above,
Your banner free, o’er land and sea,
And exult in your glorious Liberty.
O, guard ye well the land where I dwell,
Lest to future times the tale I tell,
When slow expires in smoldering fires
The goodly heritage of your sires,
How Freedom’s light rose clear and bright
O’er fair Columbia’s beacon-hight,
Till ye quenched the flame in a starless night.
Then will I tear from your pennon fair
The stars ye have set in triumph there;
My olive-branch on the blast I’ll launch,
The fluttering stripes from the flagstaff wrench,
And away I’ll flee; for I scorn to see
A craven race in the land of the free!

4. The People’s Prayer

       by Anonymous

God bless our dear United States,
Preserve the land from evil fates,
Lift high her banner fair and free,
And guard her bounds from sea to sea.
From foe without and foe within,
From open shame and hidden sin,
From boastful pride and greedy store.
God keep our nation evermore.
Forever may her friendly hands
Receive the poor of other lands
In kindliness of sisterhood,
And fill their arms with ample good.
Assailed by battle hosts of wrong,
God help our country to be strong.
Assailed by falsehood’s crafty crew,
God help our country to be true.
God hold the nation’s aim sincere,
God save her heart from coward fear,
God prosper her in true success,
And crown her head with worthiness.
God bless our dear United States,
Preserve the land from evil fates,
Lift high her banner fair and tree,
And ever guard her liberty.

5. Great, Strong, Free, and True

       by Amos Russel Wells

Great, my country, great in gold,
Great in riches manifold,
Great in store of vital grain,
Great in trade’s benign domain,
Ever great in kindly deed,
All your wealth for all that need.
Strong, my country, armed in might,
Bold in battle for the right,
Ready for the testing hour,
Knowing not to faint or cower,
And your valor all possessed
For the weaker and oppressed.
Free, my country, nobly free,
Gracious land of liberty,
Free in word and free in thought,
Freedom’s fabric freely wrought,
Free to break the chains that bind
Wretched millions of mankind.
True, my country, grandly true
To the task that calls for you,
True in peril’s dire despite
To the challenge of the right,
To the far ideal plan,
Ever true to God and man.

6. O Ship of State

       by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State!
Sail on, O UNION, strong and great!
Humanity with all its fears,
With all the hopes of future years,
Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
We know what Master laid thy keel,
What Workmen wrought thy ribs of steel,
Who made each mast, and sail, and rope,
What anvils rang, what hammers beat,
In what a forge and what a heat
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
’T is of the wave and not the rock;
’T is but the flapping of the sail,
And not a rent made by the gale!
In spite of rock and tempest’s roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o’er our fears,
Are all with thee,—are all with thee!

7. What Constitutes a State

       by Sir William Jones

What constitutes a state?
Not high-raised battlement or labored mound,
Thick wall or moated gate;
Not cities proud with spires and turrets crowned;
Not bays and broad-armed ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride;
Not starred and spangled courts,
Where low-browed baseness wafts perfume to pride.
No:—men, high-minded men,
With powers as far above dull brutes endued
In forest, brake, or den,
As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude,—
Men who their duties know,
But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain,
Prevent the long-aimed blow,
And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain:
These constitute a state;
And sovereign Law, that state’s collected will,
O’er thrones and globes elate,
Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill.

8. It Ain’t What You Do, It’s What It Does to You

       by Simon Armitage

I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi’s and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.

I have not padded through the Taj Mahal,
barefoot, listening to the space between
each footfall picking up and putting down
its print against the marble floor. But I

skimmed flat stones across Black Moss on a day
so still I could hear each set of ripples
as they crossed. I felt each stone’s inertia
spend itself against the water; then sink.

I have not toyed with a parachute cord
while perched on the lip of a light-aircraft;
but I held the wobbly head of a boy
at the day centre, and stroked his fat hands.

And I guess that the tightness in the throat
and the tiny cascading sensation
somewhere inside us are both part of that
sense of something else. That feeling, I mean.

9. America for Me

       by enry Van Dyke

‘Tis fine to see the Old World and travel up and down
Among the famous palaces and cities of renown,
To admire the crumblyh castles and the statues and kings
But now I think I’ve had enough of antiquated things.

So it’s home again, and home again, America for me!
My heart is turning home again and there I long to be,
In the land of youth and freedom, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

Oh, London is a man’s town, there’s power in the air;
And Paris is a woman’s town, with flowers in her hair;
And it’s sweet to dream in Venice, and it’s great to study Rome;
But when it comes to living there is no place like home.

I like the German fir-woods in green battalions drilled;
I like the gardens of Versailles with flashing foutains filled;
But, oh, to take you had, my dear, and ramble for a day
In the friendly western woodland where Nature has her sway!

I know that Europe’s wonderful, yet something seems to lack!
The Past is too much with her, and the people looking back.
But the glory of the Present is to make the Future free-
We love our land for what she is and what she is to be.

Oh, it’s home again, and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that’s westward bound to plough the rolling sea,
To the blessed Land of Room Enough, beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars.

10. My American Flag

       by Brandy Slicker

You’re the thing that represents what we believe in.
You tell us we’re all next of kin.
That’s only because we’re Americans and we’re the best,
If anyone doesn’t believe that you-say put it to the test!

You’re the thing that reminds us each and every day who we are,
We might be on the home-front or maybe afar.
But the one thing we know is that we’re free.
We won the war because we knew it had to be.

We gained our freedom and our symbol was you.
Our nation was very new.
Other countries didn’t think we would last but you stood tall.
You proved that we’re the best to all.

You mean the world to me for all that you stand for.
You will never fall on my watch,
That’s because I’m proud to say that you’re my American Flag!

11. A Banner Waving in the Wind

       by Shannon Spengler

That banner waving in the wind
So careless and so free,
Once was just a common sight,
Not so unusual to me.
But now I can understand
The lives lost just for her.
The men whose blood makes up those red stripes;
The toil and sweat those folds incur.

That flag, it stands for freedom,
And everything just and true.
That flag, it stands for honor,
The Red, White, and the Blue.
That flag it stands for tragedy,
And yet it stands for hope.
It means that we can live in peace,
That somehow we can cope.

That banner is anything but ordinary;
Anything but bland,
It symbolizes freedom,
And the brave throughout our4 land.
It waves proudly day in, day out,
Silently our flag can shout,
“America the brave the true!”
“America how we love you!”

Patriotic Poems about America

The patriotic spirit of America has been a source of inspiration for poets throughout its history. These best poems about America celebrate the nation’s ideals, freedoms, and sacrifices of its people in defense of those values.

1. The New Colossus

       by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“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!”

2. Country, My Country

       by Amos Russel Wells

Fair with the beauty of heaven on earth,
Noble with honor’s immutable worth,—
Other lands also are noble and fair,
Slaughter and ruin are ravaging there;
Country, my country, give ear to the call,
Guarding the beauty and honor of all.
Rich with the store of a bountiful soil,
Laden with fruit of invincible toil,—
Wealth of the world is in peril to day,
Riches of ages are lost in the fray;
Country, my country, obeying the call,
Lavish your wealth in the service of all.
Strong with a young and exhilarant power,
Brave in the dark of a desperate hour,—
Other lands also heroic and strong
Pour out their blood in the battle with wrong;
Country, my country, where myriads fall,
Venture your life for the lives of them all.
Free with a liberty blessedly bold
Born of the struggles of centuries old,—
Justice and liberty, law and the right,
All are at stake in the resolute fight;
Country, my country, let nothing appall,
Dare to be free for the freedom of all.

3. Red, White, and Blue So True

       by Melissa

Those colors wave so gallantly and true.
The colors of freedom; red, white, and blue.
Those 13 stripes dance so bright.
Those 50 stars what meaningful sight.
All for one and one for all
That American Flag stands so tall
I stand so proud as tears fall from my eyes
And watch as my nation begins to rise.
The star spangled banner flows through my ears
My eyes fill up with big, blurred tears
I can see my freedom wave in the air
As all gather round from here and there
Red, white, and blue for all to see
For the home of the brave and the land of the free.

4. The Star Spangled Banner

       by Francis Scott Key

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?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave

5. Country of Freedom

       by Amos Russel Wells

Country of freedom, be free in thy heart:
Free from the shackles of prisoning pride,
Free from the liar’s contemptible art,
Free from allurements that tempt thee aside,
Free from the crafty and treacherous guide,
Free from the ravening greed of the mart,
Free from the snares that in opulence hide,—
Country of freedom be free in thy heart!

Country of freedom, find freedom for all:
Freedom for thinkers’ adventurous quest,
Freedom for greatness to spring from the small,
Freedom for better to grow to the best,
Freedom for justice’s rigorous test,
Freedom for progress in hut and in hall,
Freedom for labor’s unwearying zest,—
Country of freedom, be free for them all!

Country of freedom, be free for the earth:
Over the bloody and desperate main,
Far in the regions of darkness and dearth,
Challenge the tyrant’s unmerciful reign,
Pierce to the heart of his evil domain,
Win for thy brothers the lands of their birth,
Shatter the prison and sever the chain,—
Country of freedom, be free for the earth!

6. My Country ‘Tis of Thee (America)

       by Samuel Francis Smith

My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

7. American Spirit

       by Arthur Cleveland Coxe

Oh, who has not heard of the Northmen of yore,
How flew, like the sea-bird, their sails from the shore;
How, westward, they stayed not till, breasting the brine,
They hailed Narragansett, the land of the vine!
Then the war-songs of Rollo, his pennon and glaive,
Were heard as they danced by the moon-lighted wave,
And their golden-haired wives bore them sons of the soil,
While raged with the redskins their feud and turmoil.
And who has not seen, ‘mid the summer’s gay crowd,
That old pillared tower of their fortalice proud,
How it stands solid proof of the sea chieftains’ reign
Ere came with Columbus those galleys of Spain!
‘Twas a claim for their kindred: an earnest of sway,
By the stout-hearted Cabot made good in its day;
Of the Cross of St. George, on the Chesapeake’s tide,
Where lovely Virginia arose like a bride.
Came the Pilgrims with Winthrop; and, saint of the West,
Came Robert of Jamestown, the brave and the blest;
Came Smith, the bold rover, and Rolfe—with his ring,
To wed sweet Matoaka, child of a king.
Undaunted they came, every peril to dare,
Of tribes fiercer far than the wolf in his lair;
Of the wild irksome woods, where in ambush they lay;
Of their terror by night and their arrow by day.
And so where our capes cleave the ice of the poles,
Where groves of the orange scent sea-coast and shoals,
Where the troward Atlantic uplifts its last crest,
Where the sun, when he sets, seeks the East from the West;
The clime that from ocean to ocean expands,
The fields to the snow-drifts that stretch from the sands,
The wilds they have conquered of mountain and plain,
Those Pilgrims have made them fair Freedom’s domain.
And the bread of dependence if proudly they spurned,
‘Twas the soul of their fathers that kindled and burned,
‘Twas the blood of the Saxon within them that ran;
They held—to be free is the birthright of man.
So oft the old lion, majestic of mane,
Sees cubs of his cave breaking loose from his reign;
Unmeet to be his if they braved not his eye,
He gave them the spirit his own to defy.

8. A Song of Our Nation

       by Anonymous

Crowding the eastern gates,
Crowding the western gates,
To these United States
From all the earth,
Here may they ever find
Welcome and solace kind,
Freedom of heart and mind,
Fortune and worth.
Here may we be as one,
Here may the right be done,
Here let our purpose run
True evermore;
Here in fair brotherhood
Seeking the common good,
Stand as our fathers stood,
Bear as they bore.
God of our liberty,
Keep us securely free,
Grant us on land and sea
Blessings of peace;
But for the stricken right
May we be firm to fight.
And may our honest might
Ever increase.

9. To My Country

       by Marguerite Wilkinson

Beams from your forest built my little home,
And stones from your deep quarries flagged my hearth;
Your streams have rippled swiftly in my blood,
Your fertile acres made my flesh for me,
And your clean-blowing winds have been my breath.
Your prophets saw the visions of my youth,
The dreams you gave have been my dearest dreams,
And you have been the mother of my soul.
Therefore, my country, take again at need
Your excellent gifts, home, hearth, and flesh and blood,
Young dreams and all the good I am or have,
That all your later children may have peace
In little homes built of your wood and stone
And warmed and lighted by the love of man!

10. America

       by Deanna C. Dilley

Lady Liberty stands proud and tall
for all of America to see.
Though the bell may be cracked,
it still rings loud and clear in our hearts.
Uncle Sam collects our taxes,
in hopes of a better economy.
Red, white, and blue flags
wave throughout the land.
We as Americans rise from our seats
at the sound of our National Anthem.
We are called a “melting pot,”
for immigrants around the world
have come to experience our wonderful freedom.
As our anthem states,
America truly is the land of the free
and home of the brave.

Modern Poems about America

New poems about America continue to explore different aspects of American life and culture through their work. This category highlights the voices of modern poets who offer fresh perspectives on America and its place in the world.

1. America the Beautiful

       by Samuel A. Ward.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness

America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov’d
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov’d,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

2. I Hear America Singing

       by Walt Whitman

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;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat- the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench- the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter’s song- the ploughboy’s, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother- or of the young wife at work- or of the girl sewing or washing- Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day- At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

3. Columbus

       by Ogden Nash

Once upon a time there was an Italian,
And some people thought he was a rapscallion,
But he wasn’t offended,
Because other people thought he was splendid,
And he said the world was round,
And everybody made an uncomplimentary sound,
But he went and tried to borrow some money from Ferdinand
But Ferdinand said America was a bird in the bush and he’d rather have a berdinand,
But Columbus’ brain was fertile, it wasn’t arid,
And he remembered that Ferdinand was married,
And he thought, there is no wife like a misunderstood one,
Because if her husband thinks something is a terrible idea she is bound to think it a good one,
So he perfumed his handkerchief with bay rum and citronella,
And he went to see Isabella,
And he looked wonderful but he had never felt sillier,
And she said, I can’t place the face but the aroma is familiar,
And Columbus didn’t say a word,
All he said was, I am Columbus, the fifteenth-century Admiral Byrd,
And, just as he thought, her disposition was very malleable,
And she said, Here are my jewels, and she wasn’t penurious like Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi, she wasn’t referring to her children, no, she was referring to her jewels, which were very very valuable,
So Columbus said, Somebody show me the sunset and somebody did and he set sail for it,
And he discovered America and they put him in jail for it,
And the fetters gave him welts,
And they named America after somebody else,
So the sad fate of Columbus ought to be pointed out to every child and every voter,
Because it has a very important moral, which is, Don’t be a discoverer, be a promoter.

4. Smile

       by Sri Chinmoy

Smile, America, my America,
Why do you weep, why do you cry?
The world’s volley of criticism
Need not curse the real in you
It cannot curse the real in you.
Smile, America!
Run and jump!
Achieve and become!
Smile, America, smile!

5. Ode to Maize

       by Pablo Neruda

America, from a grain
of maize you grew
to crown
with spacious lands
the ocean foam.
A grain of maize was your geography.
From the grain
a green lance rose,
was covered with gold,
to grace the heights
of Peru with its yellow tassels.

But, poet, let
history rest in its shroud;
praise with your lyre
the grain in its granaries:
sing to the simple maize in the kitchen.

First, a fine beard
fluttered in the field
above the tender teeth
of the young ear.
Then the husks parted
and fruitfulness burst its veils
of pale papyrus
that grains of laughter
might fall upon the earth.
To the stone,
in your journey,
you returned.
Not to the terrible stone,
the bloody
triangle of Mexican death,
but to the grinding stone,
stone of your kitchens.
There, milk and matter,
strength-giving, nutritious
cornmeal pulp,
you were worked and patted
by the wondrous hands
of dark-skinned women.

Wherever you fall, maize,
whether into the
splendid pot of partridge, or among
country beans, you light up
the meal and lend it
your virginal flavor.

Oh, to bite into
the steaming ear beside the sea
of distant song and deepest waltz.
To boil you
as your aroma
spreads through
blue sierras.

But is there
no end
to your treasure?

In chalky, barren lands
by the sea, along
the rocky Chilean coast,
at times
only your radiance
reaches the empty
table of the miner.

Your light, your cornmeal, your hope
pervades America’s solitudes,
and to hunger
your lances
are enemy legions.

Within your husks,
like gentle kernels,
our sober provincial
children’s hearts were nurtured,
until life began
to shuck us from the ear.

6. Be Angry at the Sun

       by Robinson Jeffers

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante’s feet, but even farther from his dirty
Political hatreds.

Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be duped.
Yours is not theirs.

7. The Fourth of July

       by Loyd C. Taylor

My, what a lovely country,
Americans, we are blessed!
Any direction one turns,
Her great beauty takes your breath.

The tall majestic mountains
With glistening snow crowned heads,
Blue mysterious oceans
Waves of sparkling water spread.

Beautiful grassy meadows
Cool refreshing mountain springs,
The gorgeous golden sunsets,
The wild untamed rolling plains.

Kingly trees with arms reaching
To offer their treasures rare,
Gorgeous flowered decor
Of garden palaces fair.

The symphony of raindrops
Pitter pattering the ground,
Choruses of sweet song birds
Serenading where they’re found.

Musicians of small creatures
From crickets to the jar flies,
Lightening bugs wink at us
Illuminates velvet skies.

Beautiful America,
God has shed His grace on thee;
Beautiful America,
Yes, far as the eye can see.

Beautiful America,
Blessed with strength and liberty,
Beautiful America,
Thank God, you are my country!

8. The Pride That I Have

       by Brandy L. Cinco

The pride that I have comes from people like you,
Doing the things they know they must do,
Dreaming the dreams all Americans do,
Dreams of peace and getting along,
A storybook life that flows like a song,
With a lifetime of mellow memories to share,
With all of the people that yet have to dare,
Ask us, “Just what’s in America to keep you there”,
“No Walls to hold you in , no laws to make you stay”
No it’s the simple pride in the American Way.

9. United We Stand

       by H. Fred Jackson

No matter what may come our way
We are Americans and will not be swayed
Some have tried to do us harm but all they did was sound an alarm

We are Americans and united we will stand
Some have tried to destroy our spirit and divide this free land
But we are Americans brave, courageous and united we will stand

We are Americans who have honor and pride
Some may think that we’ll run and hide
But we will stand united and not be denied

We will mourn and tears will be shed due to the loss of life
And our wills will be tested through all the strife
But we will stand united through the toughest of plights

We are Americans and united we will stand
We are Americans who count it a privilege and honor to be
To live in such an land of freedom and liberty

Short Poems about America

Sometimes, the most profound insights come in small packages. This category features short but powerful poems that capture the essence of America in just a few lines.

1. Song of Our Land

       by Annette Wynne

Mountainland, fountainland, shoreland and sea,
God’s land thou art surely—His gift to the free;
How blest are thy children wherever they roam
To claim thee their country, their hope, and their home.
I love thee, my country, O great be thy fame;
I love thy dear banner—I honor thy name;
I’ll live for thee, die for thee, serve no land but thee—
My country forever, great land of the free!

2. My Country’s Wardrobe

       by Emily Dickinson

My country need not change her gown,
Her triple suit as sweet
As when ‘t was cut at Lexington,
And first pronounced “a fit.”

Great Britain disapproves “the stars;”
Disparagement discreet, —
There’s something in their attitude
That taunts her bayonet.

3. America

       by Walt Whitman

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

4. An American Creed

       by Everard Jack Appleton

Straight thinking,
Straight talking,
Straight doing,
And a firm belief in the might of right.

Patience linked with patriotism,
Justice added to kindliness,
Uncompromising devotion to this country,
And active, not passive, Americanism.

To talk less, to mean more,
To complain less, to accomplish more,
And to so live that every one of us is ready to look
Eternity in the face at any moment, and be unafraid!

5. The Tasseled Corn

       by Edna Dean Proctor

The rose may bloom for England,
The lily for France unfold;
Ireland may honor the shamrock
Scotland her thistle bold;
But the shield of the great republic,
The glory of the West,
Shall bear a stalk of the tasseled corn,
Of all our wealth the best.

6. Marine’s Hymn

       by Anonymous

From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.
Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in ev’ry clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.
Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

7. Hope

       by Sri Chinmo

Hope discovered America.
America has discovered promise.
Promise will discover Fulfilment supreme
In Perfection divine.

8. Forever Our Flag Will Fly

       by Alexandria Moseley

Forever our flag will fly,
Hues red, white, and blue.
The symbol of our nation,
Strong, proud, and true.

Forever our flag will fly,
A united nation we stand.
Helping and loving each other,
Side by side, hand in hand.

Forever our flag will fly.
Freedom and justice it shows.
All fifty stars united together.
This is the America I know.

9. America

       by Ashley Paston

America what a great place to be
America what you can see
Like the poor twin towers
There are also pretty flowers
America is the best place to be!!!

Poems about America by Black Poets

Black poets have long used their craft to give voice to the experiences of Black Americans and to explore their identity in America. This category features poems that speak to the unique struggles and triumphs of Black Americans.

1. I, Too

       by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

2. On Being Brought from Africa to America

       by Phillis Wheatley

Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
‘Their colour is a diabolic die.’
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train

3. Banneker

       by Rita Dove

What did he do except lie
under a pear tree, wrapped in
a great cloak, and meditate
on the heavenly bodies?
Venerable, the good people of Baltimore
whispered, shocked and more than
a little afraid. After all it was said
he took to strong drink.
Why else would he stay out
under the stars all night
and why hadn’t he married?

But who would want him! Neither
Ethiopian nor English, neither
lucky nor crazy, a capacious bird
humming as he penned in his mind
another enflamed letter
to President Jefferson—he imagined
the reply, polite and rhetorical.
Those who had been to Philadelphia
reported the statue
of Benjamin Franklin
before the library

his very size and likeness.
A wife? No, thank you.
At dawn he milked
the cows, then went inside
and put on a pot to stew
while he slept. The clock
he whittled as a boy
still ran. Neighbors
woke him up
with warm bread and quilts.
At nightfall he took out

his rifle—a white-maned
figure stalking the darkened
breast of the Union—and
shot at the stars, and by chance
one went out. Had he killed?
I assure thee, my dear Sir!
Lowering his eyes to fields
sweet with the rot of spring, he could see
a government’s domed city
rising from the morass and spreading
in a spiral of lights….

4. Let America Be America Again

       by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

5. Ballad of Birmingham

       by Dudley Randall

“Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?”

“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren’t good for a little child.”

“But, mother, I won’t be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free.”

“No, baby, no, you may not go,
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children’s choir.”

She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.

The mother smiled to know her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.

For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.

She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
“O, here’s the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?”

Poems about America Today

America is a constantly evolving nation, and these poems reflect the joys and challenges of life in modern-day America. From politics and social issues to personal reflections, these poems offer a glimpse into America as it exists today.

1. Shine, Perishing Republic

       by Robinson Jeffers

While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity,
heavily thickening to empire,
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops
and sighs out, and the mass hardens,

I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make
fruit, the fruit rots to make earth,
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances,
ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother.

You making haste haste on decay; not blameworthy;
life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor; meteors are not needed less than
mountains; shine, perishing republic.

But for my children, I would have them keep their distance
from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the
monster’s feet there are left the mountains.

And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man,
a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is a trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught
— they say — God, when he walked the earth.

2. America Today

       by Anonymous

America is the country
I am living in today,
But is it what it seems to be?
That is hard to say.

When most people think of America
They think that land of the free,
But once I start to realize,
We are not all we can be.

All around there’s hatred
And things are going wrong.
Money’s being wasted
People feel they don’t belong.

We still have many racists
And people always judge.
Everyone is equal,
There’s no need to hold a grudge.

People come to America
To live a better life.
A man wants happiness
For his children and his wife.

Yes, there are many great things
In this country so divine,
But the problems all around us
Are growing like a vine.

We need to stand together
And show others what we are,
Because we cannot be the country
Who failed, once we’ve gone so far.

3. A Hymn of Brotherhood

       by Anonymous

People of peoples, from far o’er the ocean
Gathered in pilgrimage hopeful and free,
Gladly we yield thee a grateful devotion;
Son of all climes, we are loyal to thee.
Deep in the ages thy freedom is rooted.
Liberty groping through desperate years;
Now in America flowered and fruited.
Still it is fed with our blood and our tears.
Not in the languor of ease and contentment,
Not in the pride of a blinded conceit,
Daring thy foes with a manly resentment,
We shall not falter nor fear a defeat.
Land of all peoples, to all is thy duty;
Heir of the ages, how great is thy debt!
Laden with power and riches and beauty,
Those who bestowed it thou shalt not forget.
Now in the power the nations have given,
Country, our country, be brotherly brave.
Strive till the last cursed chain has been riven;
Thou who art ransomed, be eager to save!

4. Many-Faced

       by Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello

It comes up
as thunderhead
ready to break
roiling dark &
comes up as
sunflower or
cornstalk budding
kernels of light
or comes up
earthy & sweet
as soil turned
by backhoe or
perhaps as dog
nosing its way
hard between us
at the hushed crack
& flash of storm
clearing its throat
for the first
fearsome word.

5. Strength

       by Sri Chinmoy

America’s special strength
Lies not in frightening the weak
And challenging the strong,
But in strengthening the weak
Illumining the strong.

6. What It Looks Like to Us and the Words We Use

       by Ada Limón

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use.
You say they look like arks after the sea’s
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.

7. If You’re Tired Then Go Take a Nap

       by Adrian Matejka

I never liked bridges or cops & there
are more of both of them in the suburbs,
lording over possibilities like stumbles

do stairs. Down the blue & white set next
to the small gym after first period, shoelace
caught under a new bully’s foot. He would

have gotten stole on in Carriage House, but
not by me. Gots to chill or it’ll get worse:
in blue Jams & pushed off summer’s slick

ledge, long fall into the private pool broken
into three distinct verses: the flail & giggling
girls, the sun-stroked lifeguard’s exclamation,

& the red-handed water’s backslap rising up,
splitting into two, more chlorinated skies.

Poems about American Dream

The American Dream has long been a source of fascination and inspiration for poets. These American dream poems explore the concept of the American Dream, its possibilities and limitations, and what it means to different people.

1. From the Ledge

       by Kewayne Wadley

A rose bloomed.
A poem written in buds.
It offered its arms, illiterate to what’s written.
It fell asleep. A garden in thought.
Slipping from the ledge it grew.
In REM it whispered.
Wake me when we land.

2. Smiles to the Sky

       by Kelly Page

I saw a cloud today
shaped just like smile

Then I saw it fade
became sad a while

Sitting there in wonder
I Had this Little Dream

About the lips that smiled
on a face I’d never seen

Then I heard a whisper
That I could barely hear

Telling me to smile back
So I did from ear-to-ear

3. Incense

       by Kewayne Wadley

To my nose she was a stick of incense.
Filling me whole, her eyes.
The ashes fell,
Spacing her walk.
With smoke closely trailing.
The sun quickly set.
There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be.
An empty room filled by you.
A hint of spice mixed with something sweet.
The steadiness of warmth no matter day or night.
To relax and fall into deep sleep.
The smoke dancing through my dreams
In wait to be lit again

4. Naked Limbs

       by Iger Rolyat

As twilight approached I felt her loosening embrace
After a night filled with cuddling her shadowy face

My heart beat with passion as I bathed in her charms
Her elusive caress not quite real in my arms

I thought I heard her whisper as I longed for her lips
It was only the wind, another phantom kiss

My pulse begin to quicken as she rose from the bed
The thought of her leaving filled my mind with dread

Naked limbs swayed against the day’s first rays
The tree branch outside my window on full display

Crescent moon and fading stars bowed to dawn…
Against hues, tones, morning.

5. Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dream, Hope and Inspiration

       by Hebert Logerie

Dr. Martin’s dream is a dream for many generations
Past, present and future… Life is about hope, compassion
Love, freedom and justice. It’s not asking for too much
Because human lives are precious and priceless. As such
We were all created in the same manners. No one got
More, no one deserved less. There are three levels in the lot
Birth, live and death. We all must go through the same process
Health is paramount and wealth is secondary or temporary
We all will leave earth one day, soon. Hoping we’re all blessed
To remain on earth for a long time. A dream is a reality
That will or will not come depending on the dedication
On the focus and on the resiliency of the participants
We all dream for a better future for our families, friends
Even for perceived enemies. Hope is in the air, like flying ants
Wishing to land on a fertile sugar cane field. Dr. King, our Hero
Is a man with many names: Dr. Martin, Dr. King, a great fighter
An activist, a superman, a martyr, etc. He was the older brother
That we dream of being with us in time of trouble, at a low
Point of our lives. Dr. King was an amazing inspiration to a world
Filled with backstabbers, hypocrites, racists, maniacs and criminals
Dr. King’s dream is well and alive for many generations. Animals
Will never rule the universe. Human beings cannot be obviously curled
By a bunch of so-called right wing individuals. Common sense will
Always prevail. Love will always win. The racists and the haters ‘will
Shall fail. Positive attitudes will always win. Brother Martin’s dream
Will live forever. All men and women were created to enjoy the ice cream
Equally, to be free to fight against unfairness, selfishness, racism, bigotry
And injustice. Dr. King’s dream and inspiration will live forever, for eternity.

6. When Deferred Dreams Become Blurred Visions

       by Millard Lowe

What happens when rotten strange fruit…
Hanging from trees of auction block wood
Become stinking pieces of black flesh…dried blood
Putrefying in murderous streets…?

When crystallized tears of remorse…Laden and loaded
With explosive grief…flow down weary faces
Wrinkled by time’s trials, tribulations…treacherousness—
And neglect of freedom, justice and equality
All become like inconsequential sunned raisins and festering sores…?

When visions of deferred dreams become blurred realities—
Fogged by the steam of volcanic anger—Pray tell…What happens?
Pray tell…What happens? And then what?—Pray tell!

7. Do You Truly

       by Kewayne Wadley

Do you truly know what it’s like to dream with your eyes open?
To confess that you don’t know why you dream the way you do.
The need to miss as much as you do.
Missing the reality of the things that make most happy.
Catching yourself in the beauty that goes unseen.
Everything that goes unseen.
The light that twinkles in the melanin.
Quiet spheres that guard us from what we fear most.
Legit watching you the way you watch them.
Bowing in your essence while you share in their regal.
The way your shoulders slide into a dress made in their likeness.
The rest of the world goes on

8. Preterition

       by Probir Gupta

Whoever I dreamt about
Certainly it was not she
Though any woman I dream of
It might very likely be she

No I do not say that
She comes only at night
Though it should be very natural
If she avoided eyes of light

No balcony came out from the house
It was white and flat
Though a terrace would have been matching
And a stirring mouse

No the trees were not naked
But with rich foliage…

Poems about American Identity

What does it mean to be an American? These I love America poems grapple with the different dimensions of American identity, exploring issues of race, ethnicity, religion, and national origin.

1. America

       by Aria Aber

America the footsteps of your ghosts are white stones weighting my center

America the old girls’ campus in the heart of Oakland where I teach
Grows quiet as glass marbles rolling between my feet

I pick one up, I say It’s pretty
And my students laugh, cheering Welcome to America

I have no one to look to this summer, I light a candle, burn the proposedly holy wood

And God does not come when summoned

Just the scent of bonfire in my hair
Gold light flooding the bay window sure as a divination

America I divine nothing

In the other country, my parents wear their silence like silk robes each morning, devoted to the terrible sun

Day after day, I weep on the phone, saying  Even the classroom is a prison
And still my father insists But it is good to become an American

And so I cement my semantics
I practice my pronunciations, I learn to say This country
After saying I love

2. White Boy Time Machine: Override

       by Hieu Minh Nguyen

No matter where we go, there’s a history
of white men describing a landscape

so they can claim it. I look out the window
& I don’t see a sunset, I see a man’s

pink tongue razing the horizon.
I once heard a man describe the village

in Vietnam where my family comes from.
It was beautiful

a poem I would gift my mother
but somewhere in the pastoral I am reminded

a child (recently) was blown apart
after stepping on a mine, a bulb, I guess

blooming forty years later—
maybe it was how the poet said dirt

or maybe it was how he used fire
to describe the trees.

3. One Vote

       by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

My parents are from countries
where mangoes grow wild and bold
and eagles cry the sky in arcs and dips.
America loved this bird too and made

it clutch olives and arrows. Some think
if an eaglet falls, the mother will swoop
down to catch it. It won’t. The eagle must fly
on its own accord by first testing the air-slide

over each pinfeather. Even in a letter of wind,
a mother holds so much power. After the pipping
of the egg, after the branching—an eagle is on
its own. Must make the choice on its own

no matter what it’s been taught. Some forget
that pound for pound, eagle feathers are stronger
than an airplane wing. And even one letter, one
vote can make the difference for every bright thing.

4. I Am America

       by Sheena Kennedy

I am the class clown
Everyone said one day I would wear a frown
Well who would have guessed me to wear the big business crown
Though quite a character
I am America

I am the teenage unwed mother
Rather than talk to me, you would talk to all the others
Now ten years later I have a loving husband and my little girl has a baby brother
Though quite a character
I am America

I am a Baptist preacher
Every Sunday I become your life’s teacher
From ants to eagles, I value every living creature
Though quite a character
I am America

I am a rock n roll singer
When life gets tough I solve my problems by ordering a “stinger”
People love my songs but all the tabloids have labeled me a “career drinker”
Though quite a character
I am America

I am the journalist who writes the news you read
“Just tell the story” is my life’s creed
My main goal in life is to help erase all the greed
Though quite a character
I am America

I am the soldier who helped save your lives
I always said I wasn’t afraid to die
But when my Heavenly Father called me home, I had to force myself not to cry
Though quite a character
I am America

I am black, I am white
One is dark, the other light
I come from Italy, France, Japan
My parents sent me here from Afghanistan
I am among the first people to walk this great land
Most of my ancestors have been washed away like the sand
Though quite a group of characters
We are ALL America

5. Even the Rain

       by Agha Shahid Ali

What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief’s lottery, bought even the rain.

“Our glosses / wanting in this world”—“Can you remember?”
Anyone!—“when we thought / the poets taught” even the rain?

After we died—That was it!—God left us in the dark.
And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.

Drought was over. Where was I? Drinks were on the house.
For mixers, my love, you’d poured—what?—even the rain.

Of this pear-shaped orange’s perfumed twist, I will say:
Extract Vermouth from the bergamot, even the rain.

How did the Enemy love you—with earth? air? and fire?
He held just one thing back till he got even: the rain.

This is God’s site for a new house of executions?
You swear by the Bible, Despot, even the rain?

After the bones—those flowers—this was found in the urn:
The lost river, ashes from the ghat, even the rain.

What was I to prophesy if not the end of the world?
A salt pillar for the lonely lot, even the rain.

How the air raged, desperate, streaming the earth with flames—
To help burn down my house, Fire sought even the rain.

He would raze the mountains, he would level the waves;
he would, to smooth his epic plot, even the rain.

New York belongs at daybreak to only me, just me—
To make this claim Memory’s brought even the rain.

They’ve found the knife that killed you, but whose prints are these?
No one has such small hands, Shahid, not even the rain.

6. Build, Now, A Monument

       by Matthew Olzmann

No longer satisfied by the way time slips
through his life’s work, the maker
of hourglasses yearns for a change.
He elects to construct a staircase instead.
Rather than grains of sand,
he’ll manufacture one stair after another
to lament every transient second.

Look at it now! It rockets upward, almost vertical,
beginning in his backyard, puncturing
the cloud cover, and everyone speculates
where it will end. It will end
where all ambitions end: in the ether,
where the body ceases, and a story continues.

But for now, it’s a monument.
For now: a defiance, misoneism.
A bridge between
Earth and what Earth cannot touch.

What does he think as he builds?
Mostly he contemplates the work:
the sawdust, the anger, the hammer.
But sometimes he dreams of cars, highways,
of crashes and sequestered wreckage.
Old pain. He had a friend, out there.
There was a highway, a vehicle overturned.

If his friend was here today,
she’d understand this monument.
She liked the sky, country music and caterpillars.

There are four thousand muscles in a caterpillar.
It uses every one of them
to become something other than itself.
Is the body a cocoon? the man wonders.

From the top of the staircase, the life
he left below is almost unrecognizable.
Look at the beagle, yelping in the neighbor’s yard.
The rooftops of the shrinking houses. Everything
getting smaller as his view of the world

expands. The roads marked by petite yellow lines.
Graceland and Grant’s Tomb and whatever’s left
of the Parthenon. All of it is down there.
Things end. But what he can’t comprehend
is how, around those endings, everything else

7. Little Brown Baby

       by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes,
Come to yo’ pappy an’ set on his knee.
What you been doin’, suh — makin’ san’ pies?
Look at dat bib — you’s es du’ty ez me.
Look at dat mouf — dat’s merlasses, I bet;
Come hyeah, Maria, an’ wipe off his han’s.
Bees gwine to ketch you an’ eat you up yit,
Bein’ so sticky an sweet — goodness lan’s!

Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes,
Who’s pappy’s darlin’ an’ who’s pappy’s chile?
Who is it all de day nevah once tries
Fu’ to be cross, er once loses dat smile?
Whah did you git dem teef? My, you’s a scamp!
Whah did dat dimple come f’om in yo’ chin?
Pappy do’ know you — I b’lieves you’s a tramp;
Mammy, dis hyeah’s some ol’ straggler got in!

Let’s th’ow him outen de do’ in de san’,
We do’ want stragglers a-layin’ ‘roun’ hyeah;
Let’s gin him ‘way to de big buggah-man;
I know he’s hidin’ erroun’ hyeah right neah.
Buggah-man, buggah-man, come in de do’,
Hyeah’s a bad boy you kin have fu’ to eat.
Mammy an’ pappy do’ want him no mo’,
Swaller him down f’om his haid to his feet!

Dah, now, I t’ought dat you’d hug me up close.
Go back, ol’ buggah, you sha’n’t have dis boy.
He ain’t no tramp, ner no straggler, of co’se;
He’s pappy’s pa’dner an’ play-mate an’ joy.
Come to you’ pallet now — go to yo’ res’;
Wisht you could allus know ease an’ cleah skies;
Wisht you could stay jes’ a chile on my breas’—
Little brown baby wif spa’klin’ eyes!

8. Wild Beasts

       by James Tate

In the front all the weapons were
loaded. We sat there in the dark with
not so much as a whisper. We could hear
sounds outside—skirrs, rasps, the occasional
yap, ting. We were alert, perhaps, too
alert. Ready to shoot a fly for just
being a fly. When you don’t sleep you
start to hallucinate and that’s not good.
One night this crazy notion started to
possess me: I said, “Who are our enemies
anyhow? We don’t have any enemies. What
are we doing here? We should be with our
families doing what families do. I’m laying
down this gun and I’m leaving right now.”
I knew there was a chance that one of them
might shoot me. Instead they all laid down
their guns and we walked right out into the moon-
lit night, frightened, now, only of ourselves.

9. Heaved from the Earth

       by Besmilr Brigham

after the tornado, a dead moccasin
nailed to the pole
boards scattered across a pasture

lying fierce crosses
jagged in mud

had flung itself
nail and wood
the square-head animal
hurled also in air

or as it raced in weeds
water flowing, water falling
both the snake and timber

went flying through with wind

coiled, made a coil ( they do
immediately from danger or when hurt
and died in a coil
bit itself
in pain of its own defense the poison

hurled into yard
one with feet tangled gripping
the open wire, a big Jay

struggling from the water
throwing its fanged head

high at the lightning, silent
in all that thunder

to die by its own mouth
pushing the fire thorns in

Poems about American History

From the Revolutionary War to the Civil Rights Movement, America’s history is filled with triumphs and tragedies that have shaped the nation we know today. These poems offer a poetic lens through which to view some of the most significant moments in American history.

1. American History

       by Michael S. Harper

Those four black girls blown up
in that Alabama church
remind me of five hundred
middle passage blacks,
in a net, under water
in Charleston harbor
so redcoats wouldn’t find them.
Can’t find what you can’t see
can you?

2. A Brief History of Hostility

       by Jamaal May

In the beginning
there was the war.

The war said let there be war
and there was war.

The war said let there be peace
and there was war.

The people said music and rain
evaporating against fire in the brush
was a kind of music
and so was the beast.

The beast that roared
or bleated when brought down
was silent when skinned
but loud after the skin
was pulled taut over wood
and the people said music
and the thump thump
thump said drum.
Someone said
war drum. The drum said war
is coming to meet you in the field.
The field said war
tastes like copper,
said give us some more, said look
at the wild flowers our war plants
in a grove and grows
just for us.

Outside sheets are pulling
this way and that.

Fields are smoke,
smoke is air.

We wait for fingers to be bent
knuckle to knuckle,

the porch overrun
with rope and shotgun

but the hounds don’t show.
We beat the drum and sing

like there’s nothing outside
but rust-colored clay and fields

of wild flowers growing
farther than we can walk.

Torches may come like fox paws
to steal away what we plant,

but with our bodies bound
by the skin, my arc to his curve,

we are stalks that will bend
and bend and bend…

fire for heat
fire for light
fire for casting figures on a dungeon wall

fire for teaching shadows to writhe
fire for keeping beasts at bay
fire to give them back to the earth

fire for the siege
fire to singe
fire to roast
fire to fuse rubber soles to collapsed crossbeams
fire for Gehenna

fire for Dante
fire for Fallujah
fire for readied aim

fire in the forge that folds steel like a flag
fire to curl worms like cigarette ash
fire to give them back to the earth

fire for ancient reasons: to call down rain
fire to catch it and turn it into steam
fire for churches
fire for a stockpile of books
fire for a bible-black cloak tied to a stake

fire for smoke signals
fire to shape gun muzzle and magazine
fire to leap from the gut of a furnace
fire for Hephaestus
fire for pyres’ sake
fire licking the toes of a quiet brown man
fire for his home
fire for her flag
fire for this sand, to coax it into glass

fire to cure mirrors
fire to cure leeches
Fire to compose a nocturne of cinders

fire for the trash cans illuminating streets
fire for fuel
fire for fields
fire for the field hand’s fourth death

fire to make a cross visible for several yards
fire from the dragon’s mouth
fire for smoking out tangos
fire to stoke like rage and fill the sky with human remains
fire to give them back to the earth
fire to make twine fall from bound wrists
fire to mark them all and bubble black
any flesh it touches as it frees

They took the light from our eyes. Possessive.
Took the moisture from our throats. My arms,
my lips, my sternum, sucked dry, and
lovers of autumn say, Look, here is beauty.
Tallness only made me an obvious target made of
off-kilter limbs. I’d fall either way. I should get a
to-the-death tattoo or metal ribbon of some sort.
War took our prayers like nothing else can,
left us dumber than remote drones. Make
me a loyal soldier and I’ll make you a
lamenting so thick, metallic, so tank-tread-hard.

Now make tomorrow a gate shaped like a man.
I can’t promise, when it’s time, I won’t hesitate,
cannot say I won’t forget to return in fall and
guess the names of the leaves before they change.

The war said bring us your dead
and we died. The people said music
and bending flower, so we sang ballads

in the aisles of churches and fruit markets.
The requiem was everywhere: a comet’s tail
disappearing into the atmosphere,

the wide mouths of the bereft men that have sung…
On currents of air, seeds were carried
as the processional carried us

through the streets of a forgetting city,
between the cold iron of gates.
The field said soil is rich wherever we fall.

Aren’t graveyards and battlefields
our most efficient gardens?
Journeys begin there too if the flowers are taken

into account, and shouldn’t we always
take the flowers into account? Bring them to us.
We’ll come back to you. Peace will come to you

as a rosewood-colored road paver
in your grandmother’s town, as a trench
scraped into canvas, as a violin bow, a shovel,

an easel, a brushstroke that covers
burial mounds in grass. And love, you say,
is a constant blade, a trowel that plants

and uproots, and tomorrow
will be a tornado, you say. Then war,
a sick wind, will come to part the air,

straighten your suit,
and place fresh flowers
on all our muddy graves.

3. Retroduction to American History

       by Anonymous

Cats walk the floor at midnight; that enemy of fog,
The moon, wraps the bedpost in receding stillness; sleep
Collects all weary nothings and lugs away the towers,
The pinnacles of dust that feed the subway.

What stiff unhappy silence waits on sleep
Struts like an officer; tongues next-door bewitch
Themselves with divination; I like a melancholy oaf
Beg the nightly pillow with impossible loves.
And abnegation folds hands, crossed like the knees
Of the complacent tailor, stitches cloaks of mercy
To the backs of obsessions.

Winter like spring no less
Tolerates the air; the wild pheasant meets innocently
The gun; night flouts illumination with meagre impudence.
In such serenity of equal fates, why has Narcissus
Urged the brook with questions? Merged with the element
Speculation suffuses the meadow with drops to tickle
The cow’s gullet; grasshoppers drink the rain.
Antiquity breached mortality with myths.
Narcissus is vocabulary. Hermes decorates
A cornice on the Third National Bank. Vocabulary
Becomes confusion, decoration a blight; the Parthenon
In ..Tennessee stucco, art for the sake of death. Now
(The bedpost receding in stillness) you brush your teeth
“Hitting on all thirty-two;” scholarship pares
The nails of Catullus, sniffs his sheets, restores
His “passionate underwear;” morality disciplines the other
Person; every son-of-a-bitch is Christ, at least Rousseau;
Prospero serves humanity in steam-heated universities, three
Thousand dollars a year. Simplicity, Flamineo, is obscene;
Sunlight topples indignant from the hill.
In every railroad station everywhere every lover
Waits for his train. He cannot hear. The smoke
Thickens. Ticket in hand, he pumps his body
Toward lower six, for one more terse ineffable trip,
His very eyeballs fixed in disarticulation. The berth
Is clean; no elephants, vultures, mice or spiders
Distract him from nonentity: his metaphors are dead.

More sanitation is enough, enough remains: dreams
Do not end lucidities beyond the stint of thought.
For intellect is a mansion where waste is without drain;
A corpse is your bedfellow, your great-grandfather dines
With you this evening on a cavalry horse. Intellect
Connives with heredity, creates fate as Euclid geometry
By definition:

The sunlit bones in your house
Are immortal in the titmouse,
They trip the feet of grandma
Like an afterthought each day.
These unseen sunlit bones,
They may be in the cat
That startles them in grandma
But look at this or that
They meet you every way.

For Pelops’ and Tantalus’ successions were at once simpler,
If perplexed, and less subtle than you think. Heredity
Proposes love, love exacts language, and we lack
Language. When shall we speak again? When shall
The sparrow dusting the gutter sing? When shall
This drift with silence meet the sun? When shall I wake?

4. The Fading of Our Flag

       by Dr. Wm. Scott Magill

Upon the stalwart cobblestones of history
A glorious symbol, faded but gallant stands.
Faded by those unknowing,
led by those with malice in their hands.

Stars upon a blue, as if a constellation new.
A constellation, by Divine Providence, Divinely driven.
Pales of red and white, in number are thirteen.
Pales of red and white, alike meaning they are given.

Red intends the strength of valor,
By so many sons and daughters bled.
White, unconcealed, our nations purity,
Which in the fading of the flag is first to shed.

5. America

       by Sarah Newton

Freedom has been deprived from our nation, the strongest one known
And has sparked many fears of being alone
No longer can we speak out so freely as before
For we have no clue of what’s in store
No one can heal our wounds until we join as one.
And even then, this tragic process has just begun
I wish I could be with all the families there
and show them just how much we actually care
How would you feel with no daddy to kiss you goodnight?
To reassure you he’s there to scare away all the nighttime fright
Where would you be without that warmth beside you in bed?
The warmth of love, and security, that’s all to be said
America, the land of freedom, what’s our justification for being a target of war?
One united nation attacked so brutally is now broken and tore
I sit here with fears amassing my head
For if I happened to be there I could be dead
I can’t be thinking of these things, no way
I’ll have to cope with this day by day
With our flags hung half low
America is confused on where we’ll actually go
Will we make peace with the terrorists for some sense of security?
Or will we revolt, because of the pride we possess, the American purity
So as Eagles soar in our broken sky
Don’t lose hope because soon you’ll fly
You’ll come to means with how tragedy has struck
But there’s many out there to help, so don’t worry you won’t be stuck
Just always know that were in American the freedom land,
They’ll figure this out, it’ll take time though I’m sure you understand

Poems about American Revolution

The American Revolution was a pivotal moment in the nation’s history, and these poems capture the spirit of the time and the ideals that inspired it.

1. On Independence

       by Jonathan Mitchell Sewall

Come all you brave soldiers, both valiant and free,
It’s for Independence we all now agree;
Let us gird on our swords and prepare to defend
Our liberty, property, ourselves and our friends.
In a cause that’s so righteous, come let us agree,
And from hostile invaders set America free,
The cause is so glorious we need not to fear
But from merciless tyrants we’ll set ourselves clear.
Heaven’s blessing attending us, no tyrant shall say
That Americans e’er to such monsters gave way,
But fighting we’ll die in America’s cause
Before we’ll submit to tyrannical laws.
George the Third, of Great Britain, no more shall he reign,
With unlimited sway o’er these free States again;
Lord North, nor old Bute, nor none of their clan,
Shall ever be honor’d by an American.
May Heaven’s blessing descend on our United States,
And grant that the union may never abate;
May love, peace, and harmony ever be found,
For to go hand in hand America round.
Upon our grand Congress may Heaven bestow
Both wisdom and skill our good to pursue;
On Heaven alone dependent we’ll be.
But from all earthly tyrants we mean to be free.
Unto our brave Generals may Heaven give skill
Our armies to guide, and the sword for to wield,
May their hands taught to war, and their fingers to fight,
Be able to put British armies to flight.
And now, brave Americans, since it is so,
That we are independent, we’ll have them to know
That united we are, and united we’ll be,
And from all British tyrants we’ll try to keep free.
May Heaven smile on us in all our endeavors,
Safe guard our seaports, our towns, and our rivers,
Keep us from invaders by land and by sea,
And from all who’d deprive us of our liberty.

2. A Ballad of the Boston Tea Party

       by Oliver Wendell Holmes

No! never such a draught was poured
Since Hebe served with nectar
The bright Olympians and their Lord,
Her over-kind protector,—
Since Father Noah squeezed the grape
And took to such behaving
As would have shamed our grandsire ape
Before the days of shaving,—
No! ne’er was mingled such a draught
In palace, hall, or arbor,
As freemen brewed and tyrants quaffed
That night in Boston Harbor!
It kept King George so long awake
His brain at last got addled,
It made the nerves of Britain shake,
With sevenscore millions saddled;
Before that bitter cup was drained,
Amid the roar of cannon,
The Western war-cloud’s crimson stained
The Thames, the Clyde, the Shannon;
Full many a six-foot grenadier
The flattened grass had measured,
And many a mother many a year
Her tearful memories treasured;
Fast spread the tempest’s darkening pall,
The mighty realms were troubled,
The storm broke loose, bnt first of all
The Boston teapot bubbled!
An evening party,— only that,
No formal invitation,
No gold-laced coat, no stiff cravat,
No feast in contemplation,
No silk-robed dames, no fiddling band,
No flowers, no songs, no dancing,—
A tribe of red men, axe in hand,—
Behold the guests advancing!
How fast the stragglers join the throng,
From stall and workshop gathered!
The lively barber skips along
And leaves a chin half-lathered;
The smith has flung his hammer down,—
The horseshoe still is glowing;
The truant tapster at the Crown
Has left a beer-cask flowing;
The cooper’s boys have dropped the adze,
And trot behind their master;
Up run the tarry ship-yard lads,—
The crowd is hurrying faster,—
Out from the Millpond’s purlieus gush
The streams of white-faced millers,
And down their slippery alleys rush
The lusty young Fort-Hillers;
The rope walk lends its ‘prentice crew,—
The tories seize the omen:
“Ay, boys, you’ll soon have work to do
For England’s rebel foemen,
‘King Hancock,’ Adams, and their gang,
That fire the mob with treason,—
When these we shoot and those we hang
The town will come to reason.”
On— on to where the tea-ships ride!
And now their ranks are forming,—
A rush, and up the Dartmouth’s side
The Mohawk band is swarming!
See the fierce natives! What a glimpse
Of paint and fur and feather,
As all at once the full-grown imps
Light on the deck together!
A scarf the pigtail’s secret keeps,
A blanket hides the breeches,—
And out the cursèd cargo leaps,
And overboard it pitches!
O woman, at the evening board
So gracious, sweet, and purring,
So happy while the tea is poured,
So blest while spoons are stirring,
What martyr can compare with thee,
The mother, wife, or daughter,
That night, instead of best Bohea,
Condemned to milk and water!
Ah, little dreams the quiet dame
Who plies with rock and spindle
The patient flax, how great a flame
Yon little spark shall kindle!
The lurid morning shall reveal
A fire no king can smother
Where British flint and Boston steel
Have clashed against each other!
Old charters shrivel in its track,
His Worship’s bench has crumbled,
It climbs and clasps the union-jack,
Its blazoned pomp is humbled,
The flags go down on land and sea
Like corn before the reapers;
So burned the fire that brewed the tea
That Boston served her keepers!
The waves that wrought a century’s wreck
Have rolled o’er whig and tory;
The Mohawks on the Dartmouth’s deck
Still live in song and story;
The waters in the rebel bay
Have kept the tea-leaf savor;
Our old North-Enders in their spray
Still taste a Hyson flavor;
And Freedom’s teacup still o’erflows
With ever fresh libations,
To cheat of slumber all her foes
And cheer the wakening nations!

3. Song of Myself

       by Walt Whitman

I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.

To elaborate is no avail, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied—I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy tread.
Leaving me baskets cover’d with white towels swelling the house with their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is ahead?

4. Liberty: An Ode for the Celebration of the Battle of Lexington

       by Hannah Flagg Gould

Dear is our Liberty,
For great the price that bought her;
And dear the memory
Of those, who nobly sought her!
When war awoke with din and smoke,
By numerous foes surrounded,
With battered life, they braved the strife,
In death their arms were grounded!
How blest the memory
Of those, who stood defying
The foes of Liberty,
And breathed her name in dying!
Take, holy Liberty,
Their story on thy pinion,
And wing it high and free,
Throughout thy proud dominion!
Their blood was free and warm for thee,
From fearless bosoms streaming,
Like stars, on thine, their deeds must shine,
To all the nations beaming.
Then, keep thy balmy wing
Still growing broad and broader,
And let their story ring
To Earth’s remotest border!
Fair daughter of the skies,
As million after million,
In other days, shall rise
Beneath thy wide pavilion,
There may they find their names enshrined,
Their memory, green and spreading,
That all may know to whom they owe
The gifts thy hand is shedding!
O live, sweet Liberty,
The course of time pervading,
Here may thy glory be
Still pure and never fading!

5. A Nation’s Strength

       by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

6. America

       by Claude McKay

Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

7. Paul Revere’s Ride

       by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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.
He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”
Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,—
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,—
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

8. To the Memory of the Brave Americans

       by Philip Freneau

At Eutaw Springs the valiant died;
Their limbs with dust are covered o’er—
Weep on, ye springs, your tearful tide;
How many heroes are no more!
If in this wreck or ruin, they
Can yet be thought to claim a tear,
O smite your gentle breast, and say
The friends of freedom slumber here!
Thou, who shalt trace this bloody plain,
If goodness rules thy generous breast,
Sigh for the wasted rural reign;
Sign for the shepherds, sunk to rest!
Stranger, their humble graves adorn;
You too may fall, and ask a tear;
‘Tis not the beauty of the morn
That proves the evening shall be clear.—
They saw their injured country’s woe;
The flaming town, the wasted field;
Then rushed to meet the insulting foe;
They took the spear—but left the shield.
Led by thy conquering genius, Greene,
The Britons they compelled to fly;
None distant viewed the fatal plain,
None grieved, in such a cause to die—
But, like the Parthian, famed of old,
Who, flying, still their arrows threw,
These routed Britons, full as bold,
Retreated, and retreating slew.
Now rest in peace, our patriot band,
Though far from nature’s limits thrown,
We trust they find a happier land,
A brighter sunshine of their own.

Poems about American Culture

America is a nation of diverse cultures and traditions, and these poems celebrate the unique contributions of different communities to American life and culture.

1. Native American Culture

       by Marilyn Lott

It’s wonderful to watch the performance
As Native American’s show us all
How it was in the old days
Standing so proud and tall

They wear their brilliant costumes
Just like they did long ago
The traditions brought before us
Because they love them so

The music and the dancing
The beads and the attire
Really do take you back
And the meanings also inspire

They feel it from their hearts
And bring the truth to us as well
You can see it in their eyes
And in their actions you can tell

I hope you get to observe some time
The Native American’s as they bring
Their culture to Oklahoma
Watch their dance and hear them sing!

2. Dwindling American Culture

       by Theorem The Truth Serum

I open the glass door that is full of stained rejection.
The bitter smell of urine hits my nostrils and my
stomach grumbles to me, ‘it is time to go.’
But I do not listen, I keep walking forward
breathing in the urine smell of dwindling American culture.
There are forgotten people shuffling around.
Some with blank looks and some still aware.
One old and misfortunate lady walks up to me and says,
‘Do you know where my husband is? He’s supposed to be
getting the car. Today is our check out day and I don’t
want to be charged for another night.’
I smiled at her with deep sympathy and answered, ‘No, I’m sorry, I do not. I will tell him you’re looking for him if I see him.’
She smiled and pinched my cheek, ‘You’re such a sweet boy.’
I looked around at the place and it looked like a heap of crap.
I came here as a volunteer and I wondered how could someone
put their loved ones in a place like this?
I understand that a lady like that saying things of that nature everyday
would be a bit much to handle day after day but they dealt
with your crap and urine and your crying the least you can do
is to give them a home where they will be loved and respected.
Maybe love and respect is lost in greater amounts when you get older.

3. Our Flag!

       by D. S. Mullis, Savannah, Georgia

We call her ‘Old Glory’, She rightfully sows
The seeds to Her story where ever She goes!
‘The Star Spangled Banner’ that blows in the wind,
Portraying Her power to foe, yes, and friend-
Our emblem of freedom, She’s stood through the years,
And never seceded — by blood, sweat and tears!

Our Flag! We salute You on each special day,
We vow to be true and show others the way
To live in a world where our freedom abounds;
Each time You unfurl we hear victory sounds!
We pledge our allegiance with hand on our heart,
And dare to be different; not being a part
Of those who would burn You or cast You aside,
But highly esteem You and raise You in pride!

Indeed, She’s ‘Old Glory’, and rightfully so,
Her story of freedom we’ll never outgrow-
America, let us again take a stand,
For it is a must to accomplish our plan
In raising our Flag and proclaim with each wave,
‘The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’!

4. Old Glory

       by Vic Fowler

Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes, or the Red, White and Blue.
Whether made of silk or of rag, she is the symbol of our country,
The American Flag.
Visible to millions of American men, women and children’s eyes,
this glorious Lady of Liberty for them every day flies.
For over two hundred years, no matter where Americans were,
we always knew in our hearts that we were still within reach of
From the battle of Fort Sumter to the sands of the Persian Gulf,
she has gone with our American fighting forces to let those of
aggression know that contesting our freedom can really get
Above the decks of the Saratoga, on the Mediterranean Sea, it
was she who sent a few of our men to pay a visit on a place called
The burdens of this lady are many, she really depends on us, she
shall never have to worry, for she will always have our complete
love and trust.
Today is the time to remember, and everyday for the rest of our
lives. It is for us, our children and all others that for freedom
cry, that this wonderful flag of ours, “OLD GLORY” shall
forever overhead fly.

Poems about American Freedom

Freedom is a core value of American society, and these poems about freedom in America explore the many dimensions of this concept, from political and religious freedom to personal and creative freedom.

1. American Freedom

       by Kristen Bruni

Give me Liberty or give me death
Patrick Henry said once out of breath
He is my ancestor on the family tree
I live in America, land of the free.

I taste his words on my lips
Love to have sailed on his ships
He spoke from his heart lovingly
I live in America, land of the free.

With my connection to his soul
I wonder how it affects my world
Do i get my strength from he?
I live in America, land of the free

2. American Freedom

       by Martin Farquhar Tupper

All stars on the banner of light!
No stripes in the land of the free!
No wrong to be rampant where all should be right,
No sin that is shameful to see!
America,— show the wide world in thy strength,
How sternly determined thou art
To cut from thy soil in its breadth and its length
The canker that gnaws at thy heart.

Uprouse thee! and swear by thy might
This evil no longer shall be,
For all men are brothers, the black as the white,
And sons of one Father are we!
America,— Now is the perilous time
When safety is solely decreed
To ridding the heart of old habits of crime
And simply repenting indeed.

Away to the bats and the moles
With the lash, and the goad, and the chain,—
Away with the buying and selling of souls,
And slavery toiling in pain!
America,— this is thy chance now at length
Of winning, by kindness, to thee
Slavery’s victims, subdued to thy strength,
And making a hemisphere Free!

3. The Flag and Its Story

       by Sara

You flow in the breeze,
And show glory in the wind,
Freedom, Justice, and Civil Rights,
And more you represent,
A beautiful flag,
To represent,
Our first thirteen colonies,
And all states you represent,
A flag we think of Betsy Ross,
When you are seen,
For your maker shall always be remembered,
You and so shall you,
So maker of our country’s flag, remember on thing,
Though no longer you walk on this planet,
You shall be remembered,
As Betsy Ross,
Maker and,
Designer of our flag.

4. Our New Nation

       by Brittany Nichole, Oklahoma

I lay softly in the dark and remember…
What all they fought for in our freedom
I remember “old glory”
I remember the “new” American flag
What has it changed? Our lives? Or just to spoil us?
The pipe represents peace but is it peace we want or material things?
They fought for our freedom not malls.
What has the world come to?
What is it going to become?
All these questions and who to answer them?
When is “Old Glory’s” time going to be over?
Today? Tomorrow? We will never know.
But while we’re here we need to respect Old Glory for what she has given us.
Our freedom! The soldiers sacrificed for us and that’s what the American flag represents!

5. Bloodstains

       by Melvin Leon (T) Henegar aka Poetman & T. M. Sergeant

When I stand to my feet
To hear our Anthem played and sang
As our flag so beautifully flies in the wind
I no longer see our flag flying there
I see our soldiers on the battlefield being slain
I see their loved ones in the greatest of pain
In those beautiful stripes of red
Are Americans blood stains
I see blood stains

Great courage bought those stripes of red
Stripes white, hearts of purity
Created stars on a background of blue
A nation bound with common equity
In our hearts our anthem remains
Our nations song, a cherished melody
In those beautiful stripes of red
Are Americans blood stains
I see blood stains

As our Star Spangled Banner waves
Those red stripes stand out to me
Americans who trusted in God
Americans who fought valiently
Their sacrifice broke tyranny’s chains
All I see in those beautiful stripes of red
Are blood stains, American blood stains
I see blood stains, I see blood stains

6. American’s Freedom

       by Randy McClave

Let the gays get married
Let their flags be proudly carried,
And let them enjoy their lives
Husband and husbands, or wife and wives.
Let the rednecks have their guns
By both fathers and their sons,
Let them live by that amendment
Unto which they are always dependent.
Let all those who are obese eat
Until they can’t see their own feet,
Let them eat more and more greasy foods
Until it changes their cholesterol and attitudes.
Let atheists be happy the way that they are
Let them set their own bar,
And then when they die
Let them, and not you explain to God why.
Let Christians worship the way that they want
About their beliefs to others let them flaunt,
Let Christians all be Christians
Let them be their own physicians.
Fly the flag that you want to fly
Fly it proudly up in the sky,
Let your neighbors and passerby’s see
That what you do and think is free.
Remember, problems will always begin
When you tell people that they sin,
Then when you force your belief on others
You fill them with your own doubt and druthers.
Live your life the way that you believe
But, don’t bully, harass, steal or cheat or deceive,
Eat, shoot your guns, praise Jesus, or ignore God
That of course is your own measuring rod.
We all are adults we must remember that
And we should also remember where we are at,
Unto others we should never feel unease
Freedom is to live our life, the way that we choose and please.

7. I’m Your Flag

       by Teryl E. Williamson, Pewaukee, Wisconsin

I was born of a people, who refused a corrupt king,
Instead they chose America to do their own thing.
I’m Your Flag
First put together from thread and old cloth,
I came into this world through Betsy Ross.
I’m Your Flag
Over the years I’ve flown so serene.
Yet I’ve served in the worst battles you’ve ever seen.
I’m Your Flag
I’ve been saluted, I’ve been burned,
Veterans have carried me, as all heads turned.
I’m Your Flag
I’ve served in the rain, I’ve served in the snow,
You’ve never asked twice, I was ready to go.
I’m Your Flag
I’ve flown at events where people have cried,
You’ve seen me drape the caskets of those who died.
I’m Your Flag
Now a new challenge awaits us all,
And a new generation must meet the call.
I’m Your Flag
As always, I’ll be with you charging into the fray,
Take heart fellow Americans, we will not stray
I’m Your Flag
From the beginning until today, I’ve stood for freedom
without any sway, so grab the torch and hold it high,

8. Freedom in America

       by Nicci Veltri

Soldiers in war sacrificed their lives,
Leaving behind their children and wives,
The thought of never coming home again,
Kept them going from beginning to end,
Fighting for freedom was the purpose of the war,
Many gave up their lives for us to have more.
One time a year on Memorial Day,
We each thank them in a special way.

American freedom is a mystery to me,
Without it what would the next day for me be?
When we are eligible we vote for who’s right,
We have a say in who rules if we might.

Living in America as you can see, is
A place where I can grow up to be free.
Freedom to laugh freedom to cry,
Freedom to ask and answer why,
Freedom to believe in whatever you do,
Freedom to dress, and just to be you.

To me our freedom is a dream come true,
But I wish that it was shared with everyone, not just me and you
A soldier is brave, a soldier is true,
To his or her country and protects me and you.
Memorial Day is not once only a year,
But we can remember everyday, to be sincere.
Remember those who died, and keep those who lived in thought,
But never forget the reason why we fought…

9. The American Flag

       by Chelsea Racovites

You are the symbol of our country,
Who shines oh so bright,
Who carried the soldiers to win the fight,

Your warmth and independence keeps our spirits up,
When you fly through the air oh so happily,

We pledge to you with loyalty and trust,
As we are one nation who stands tall,
With liberty and justice for all.

Final Thoughts

The poems about America featured in this collection offer a rich tapestry of perspectives on America – its people, its history, its values, and its place in the world.

From the patriotic to the critical, the celebratory to the reflective, these poems capture the diversity and contradictions of the American experience.

Through their words, we glimpse America in all its diversity and beauty, its struggles and triumphs.

Whether you are an American looking to deepen your connection to your country or a reader from afar seeking to understand America, these poems on America offer a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the nation and its people.

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