In a recent trip to see my grandfather I came across an old booklet on his shelf.  “Portraits of Bygone Days” by Bessie J. Hemp of Frederick, Maryland self-published in a simple handmade booklet in 1973.  Within it were poems she had written and desired to share with friends and family and I came across a poem I felt needed to be shared with a few more people. So while this isn’t my poetry it is OUR poetry – as Americans – and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. I also thought it was a great choice for the 4th of July!

Portraits of Bygone DaysAn Ode to America

I’m not the boisterous, braggart, type
Nor do I like to shout
But loud I’ll sing the praises
Of America there’s no doubt.

Our country’s bathed with heroes’ blood
They rallied to the call.
And when the final test was made
They willingly gave all.

Of fame and fortune I have none
I do not boast of power.
But in our country’s darkest days
I’ll be there every hour.

The stars and stripes; red, white and blue
On battlefields are flown
And to God in all His wisdom
Not a single soul’s unknown.

So hoist the flag and sing a song
Your patriotic lay.
Please, God, send lasting peace on Earth
And hasten soon the day.

Our country’s strong, our country’s great
And we are on our guard.
The History pages tell the tale
Of why it’s battle-scarred.

I hope everyone enjoyed this poem as much as I did, and if anyone out there knows Bessie, let her know her poetry is still being appreciated to this day!  Isn’t that what all of us self-published authors dream about?