Address To The Flag

A poem by Hanford Lennox Gordon

Float in the winds of heaven, O tattered Flag!
Emblem of hope to all the misruled world:
Thy field of golden stars is rent and red
Dyed in the blood of brothers madly spilled
By brother-hands upon the mother-soil.
O fatal Upas of the savage Nile,[CT]
Transplanted hither rooted multiplied
Watered with bitter tears and sending forth
Thy venom-vapors till the land is mad,
Thy day is done. A million blades are swung
To lay thy jungles open to the sun;
A million torches fire thy blasted boles;
A million hands shall drag thy fibers out
And feed the fires till every root and branch
Lie in dead ashes. From the blackened soil,
Enriched and moistened with fraternal blood,
Beside the palm shall spring the olive-tree,
And every breeze shall waft the happy song
Of Freedom crowned with olive-twigs and flowers.

Yea, Patriot-Flag of our old patriot-sires,
Honored victorious on an hundred fields
Where side by side for Freedom's mother-land
Her Southern sons and Northern fighting fell,
And side by side in glorious graves repose,

I see the dawn of glory grander still,
When hand in hand upon this battle-field
The blue-eyed maidens of the Merrimac
With dewy roses from the Granite Hills,
And dark-eyed daughters from the land of palms
With orange-blossoms from the broad St. Johns,
In solemn concert singing as they go,
Shall strew the graves of these fraternal dead.
The day of triumph comes, O blood-stained Flag!
Washed clean and lustrous in the morning light
Of a new era, thou shalt float again
In more than pristine glory o'er the land
Peace-blest and re-united. On the seas
Thou shalt be honored to the farthest isle.
The oppressed of foreign lands shall flock the shores
To look upon and bless thee. Mothers shall lift
Their infants to behold thee as a star
New-born in heaven to light the darksome world.
The children weeping round the desolate,
Sore-stricken mother in the saddened home
Whereto the father shall no more return,
In future years will proudly boast the blood
Of him who bravely fell defending thee.
And these misguided brothers who would tear
Thy starry field asunder and would trail
Their own proud flag and history in the dust,
Ere many years will bless thee, dear old Flag,
That thou didst triumph even over them.
Aye, even they with proudly swelling hearts
Will see the glory thou shalt shortly wear,
And new-born stars swing in upon thy field
In lustrous clusters. Come, O glorious day
Of Freedom crowned with Peace. God's will be done!
God's will is peace on earth good-will to men.
The chains all broken and the bond all free,
O may this nation learn to war no more;
Yea, into plow-shares may these brothers beat
Their swords and into pruning-hooks their spears,
Clasp hands again, and plant these battle-fields
With golden corn and purple-clustered vines,
And side by side re-build the broken walls
Joined and cemented as one solid stone
With patriot-love and Christ's sweet charity.

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