If you want to beef up your Fourth of July celebration and go beyond the basic fireworks, hotdogs, and white pants, you might want to consider reading up on some Independence Day-related literature. There are so many beautiful stories of history that will make the perfect holiday beach reads. Here, I've rounded up some of my favorite Fourth of July 2018 poems because in my opinion, poems are the real beach read heroes. You can read a few poems in one sitting and not have to worry about losing your place or finding time to finish them. They're easy to get into, easy to finish, and meaty enough to get inspired by. Reading poetry is one of the quickest ways to enhance your down time in a lasting way.
Not to mention, poetry is a great lens to look at a holiday through. It gives us the opportunity to see what the holiday means to different people and how its meaning has changed over time. Take a trip though time and spend a few minutes considering what this holiday means to you.
“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."
"America!" By Katherine Lee Bates
"O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!"
"Monuments" By Myra Sklarew
"Today the moon sees fit to come between a parched earth
and sun, hurrying the premature darkness.
A rooster in the yard cuts off its crowing, fooled into momentary sleep.
And soon the Perseid showers, broken bits of the ancient universe,
will pass through the skin of our atmosphere.
Time and space are alive over our city."
"Flags" By Elana Bell
"Everywhere, in the fertile soil of this land, we’ve planted flags.
Flags sprout like the hair from an old man’s nostrils.
Blue and white or red, black, green and white,
they shroud windows, standing in for a family you can’t see:
a flag instead of the mother
who hums and spices the lentils,
a flag for father,
who runs the blade against his cheek
each morning with the rooster’s kukuku."
"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."
"Lift Every Voice And Sing" By James Weldon Johnson
"Lift every voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won."
"America, I Sing Back" By Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
"America, I sing back.
Sing back what sung you in.
Sing back the moment you cherished breath.
Sing you home into yourself and back to reason."
"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."
"Good Night" By Carl Sandburg
"Many ways to say good night.
Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July
spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.
They fizz in the air, touch the water and quit.
Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue
and then go out."