America's Christian History

The Poetry Page

Poetry to warm your heart, to inspire and encourage!

A good poem is like an old friend. It warms the heart, encourages a smile, wipes a tear and reminds you about the important stuff of life.†

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Great poetry about our great country!

Hats off!

Along the street there comes

A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums

A flash of color beneath the sky

Hats off!

The flag is passing by. . .


Where is Beauty - Great poetry to warm your heartThe next time you see the flag of our country, think about the poem Hats Off.  The sound of it makes us think of our wonderful country, of the Declaration of Independence, and of our Constitution. It almost lifts you off your feet:


Donít you just want to jump up out of your chair and go marching across the room?  I do.  I hear those bugles, the drub-a-drub-drub of the drums and, look, there goes our red white and blue streaming back behind the shoulders of a big, burly soldier.  "Hats off!  The flag is passing by."


As you read a poem you will notice several things: the pictures it brings to mind, the rhythm moves, swells, declines with the rhythm of the heart, one feels hope or joy, exuberance.


Today our soldiers really have been marching off under our flag.  Do you wish you could do something too?  Do you sometimes feel badly that you seem youíre not doing enough?


Three hundred years ago John Milton, had to deal with that: he was blind.  He wrote:


"Sonnet on His Blindness"

When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,

And that one talent, which is death to hide,

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He, returning, chide:

"Doth God exact day labor, light denied?"

I fondly ask; but Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need

Either manís work, or His own gifts: who best

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His* state

Is kingly. Thousands at His bidding speed,

And post oíer land and ocean without rest;

They also serve who only stand and wait.

(*God's state)


Milton didnít hide his one talent!  This poem is printed in many anthologies.  Why?   Men have had the same feelings, fears, and frustrations throughout the centuries.  Are Godís principles not the same yesterday, today, and forever?


My husband was very ill for several years.  He and I had been "marching with our flag" to tell the story of our Christian roots; then because of his illness that work stood still.  How he grieved, "Am I of any use at all"?   We needed inspiration-the inspiration that the heart of John Milton spoke.  We read it and our hearts responded.  It reminded us, "They also serve who only stand and wait."   Watchmen donít seem to be doing much, but "they serve."


My husband is gone now.  I need inspiration to keep me going so I remember his enthusiasm for our country and I hear: "Hats off!  The flag is passing by."  Like you, our flag reminds me of the great country our God gave us.


Hats Off!

Along the street there comes

A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,

A flash of color beneath the sky:

Hats off!

The colors before us fly....

But more than the flag is passing by....

Days of plenty and years of peace;

March of a strong land's swift increase;

Equal justice, right, and law,

Stately honor and reverend awe;

Sign of a nation, great and strong

To ward her people from foreign wrong:

Pride and glory and honor,-all

Live in the colors to stand or fall.

Hats off!

Along the street there comes

A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;

And loyal hearts are beating high:

Hats off!



(Henry Holcomb Bennett)

QUIZ  QUESTION: The name for citizens of this country has always been "American".  Only recently has the use of "hyphenated" designations come into use (such as African-American, Dutch American, etc).  However, the use of the name American, hyphenated, was anticipated by one of our outstanding statesmen of Dutch descent who lived at the juncture of the 19th and 20th centuries.  "We are not," he stated, "Dutch-Americans.".  Who was this person?  Give the correct name of this person and the office he held.


Answer: Teddy Roosevelt - President


Posted 05/23/2008 by Sarah V. 

I am analyzing this poem for my 10th grade English project on loyalty. Usually I don't like the books or poems we have to read in school, but I really liked this one! It shows the excitement and patriotism that has nearly been lost in my generation, and is very inspiring to read.

Posted 05/22/2005 by H. M. Wade 

I first heard this poem recited when I was a student in the 5th grade, during the great depression.  I still remember the orating student's first name - "Tom" he recited it with such enthusiasm!!!.  How I thank my God for my being an American!!!!.

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