Poetry Corner- A Nation's Strength

July is the month we celebrate "America's Birthday." We decided to include a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson called "A Nation's Strength." While Emerson's spirituality is questionable in many cases, this poem does ring true and makes one think.

A Nation's Strength
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

What makes a nation's pillars high
And it's 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.

painting above by Thomas Hart Benton

To read the master class on writing poetry, click here.

Below are previous poems we have published on this site.
To see June's Poem, click here.
To see May's Poem, click here.
To see April's Poem, click here.
To see March's Poem, click here.
To see February's poem, click here.
To see January's poem, click here.
To see the poem for December, 2008, click here.
To read a poem by Steve Turner, click here.

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