Happy Independence Day from The Juice Bar!

A Nation’s Strength
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by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1904)
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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.

Photo by L. K. Thayer

“Anthem” by Cindy Hurn

Oh say, can you see

gnarled roots, like toes curling into sand,

by the dawn’s early light,

merging soil and tree in perfect union?

What so proudly we hailed

our man-built structures – angled roofs, supportive beams,

at the twilight’s last gleaming

a bed of red and blue blooms and a white pole bearing handsewn cloth,

whose broad stripes and bright stars

carried the vision, the passion of fathers and mothers

through the perilous fight

of sisters and brothers in the name of freedom

O’er the ramparts we watched

as shells scattered heroes. Their limbs, upon this soil,

were so gallantly streaming

blood, tears and screams, and thousands died.

And the rocket’s red glare

reflecting on silent eyes, lids frozen in stares at

the bombs, bursting in air,

wallowing waves of war over survivors’ grief, and

gave proof through the night

in the terrible glow of dues paid in ultimate sacrifice,

that our flag was still there.

With hands on hearts we stand, claiming love for this place.

Oh say, does that star

still carry the night? Throbbing beacon of light,

spangled banner, yet wave

as a child beginning life, merging purpose with dreams

o’re the land of the free,

this union of cultures and stories, harbor of refugees

and home of the brave.

Poet/Photographer – Cindy Hurn

Brokenpenwriter’s Blog

“Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scott Key

© 2010