Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4, 2008 - Poems - at Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord, NH

The following poems were shared at Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord, NH, as part of the 4th of July celebration:


On the Fourth

On the Fourth
and all year long
we must never forget
the words on that parchment so long ago
Our prayer of that day
still true here and now
our nation to be true
all to be free,
as our creator intended
free from oppression,
to pursue, happiness to find
within ourselves
and with our God
A vision worthy to uphold
a hope to share with the world
May we never forget
to hold these words in our hearts

July 4, 2008
Declaration of Independence
written for July 4th celebration
Wesley United Methodist Church,
Concord, NH


Words of Mettle

I paused today
to read, once again,
those words of mettle,
of resolve, of hope, of our faith
Those words, part of the thread
the dream, the story that is America
Those words written in Philadelphia
proclaimed the sins of the king
the prayers of the colonies
the roots of our democracy
What we believe
and what we celebrate today

July 4, 2008
Declaration of Independence
written for July 4th celebration
Wesley United Methodist Church,
Concord, NH


A New Nation

As was remembered, four score and seven years later
our nation, a new nation
was brought forward; but not by war, willed
created by the words written in that hall
the words of that Philadelphia summer
Changing our world, splintering an empire
held together by might, for a dream of freedom
All are equal, all must be free
so is our pledge, our plea
the dream of America, still unfulfilled
so many summers gone by
so far have we come
I hear freedom starting to ring
part of the dream given voice
by another pastor, forty-five years ago
may it start in our hearts today

July 4, 2008
Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address,
Emancipation Proclamation, Preamble to Constitution,
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, 8/28/1963
written for July 4th celebration
Wesley United Methodist Church,
Concord, NH
In reading this, I noted that the nomination speech
of the Democratic Convention this summer
will be on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech


Closer to Home

The war got a little
closer to home
as the concerns were lifted
before the congregation
in the stilled sanctuary
We became a bit quieter
a bit more attentive
truly prayerful

One of our own
was called up, again,
to leave our midst
to go to that place of chaos
of senseless death
so far away
Yes, the war got closer to home
that Sunday a few weeks ago

May we remember
all the sons, all the daughters
the fathers, the mothers
out there serving us all
so we can be free

June 12, 2007 9:00
written for the 4th of July celebration
Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord. NH
about Adam Doucette


Our Prayers Answered

One of our own,
one of us, a member with us
our prayers, long repeated
oft remembered, our prayers answered
He was safe, out of harm’s way
boots down on U.S. soil
home from the way, endless
Home to his family, his friends;
not all so lucky, so blessed.
We remember them too,
And those still in the breach.
Our lives, our freedoms
we hold so dear, because they went.
We thank God he is back with us.
We pray soon they all will be home.

July 2, 2008
on the day in church when the news was
announced that Adam Doucette was back home
Wesley United Methodist Church, Concord, NH


Safe in My Bed

Before I rise to start my day
I felt a need to stop and pray
for the men and women of our land
who are out there in the world taking a stand
to guard the dark places to keep us free
to watch for the enemy behind the rock, the tree

Remembering the mettle of this day
when people stood for freedom, so our children may play,
to live in a land that is truly free
and be safe in my bed in tranquility.

We celebrate the words in the Declaration this day
but we need to remember to stop and pray
that the words mean nothing without the grit
and the people who have been willing to commit
to the dangerous work of protecting this dream
to fight for our country and keep it from harm

So we rise this morning from our safe beds
and know that our country has nothing to dread
because there are people on guard
out there in the world
We pray for their safety,
each mother, each son,
and pray for their return
when their work is done

July 4, 2007 7:41


A Fourth Under Fire

We celebrate once again
the bravery of those certain men
who saw what they had to do
and though they were times
to try men’s souls
they hung the lantern
and answered the call
to defend the freedom they sought
and put pen to a new hope, a creed
to live in justice and trust
and fight for it we must

A land worthy of song
for banners and truths we hold dear
even when we become flawed or amiss
when we over extend and export
and fight for the wrong in court

A people, a thought,
a prayer in the maddening crowd
to save more than we harm
to live by our joint sacred text
to fight for the rights of all
open our heart to the down and the out
and give our neighbor his space
not force it in his face
and live simpler than some
so we can say in the end
that we honored our dream
and cared for the last and the least
to see ourselves in them
and treated them just
so those storied men of old
wouldn’t regret being so bold
as to put pen to page
creating a new land and place
where we could be as one
and live out our days
humbly and in peace

June 23, 2006 18:45


Without Freedom Still

We gathered, took time off,
pondered our freedom,
on the anniversary
our Declaration of Independence
when we dissolved the political bonds
when we proclaimed, to the world,
what we hoped for, what we believed in
as a people, set apart,
that we hold these truths to be self-evident,
that we are born equal, each one,
that the creator gave us unalienable rights,
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

How wondrous are those words,
how much we have achieved
casting off the chains that hold us back
how far we have to go; but
We are free, by most measures

How hard life must be
in the many places on the globe
where people are not yet free
where there are people still
in the grip of slavery, in bondage,
in fear for their lives,
for their children’s lives
for any kind of future
for religious persecution,
indiscriminant death

How blind we are,
to the realities around the world
How silent we are
to the evil that stalks this sphere
How much more we could do
if we took our freedoms more seriously
and invested in justice
to the four corners
of this troubled planet

July 4, 2007 20:36


Half Staffs

D-Day and The Fourth
Bookends of a month
In the life of the Nation
The death of a President

Reminders each day
Against blue sky or grey
Of sacrifices, and lives lost
Defending our rights

Freedom isn’t free
The media doesn’t see
The good of the troops
In those lands of sand and
Minarets, martyrs
And madmen

Freedom, food, water, hope
On the line, in the chaos,
In the storm, in the desert,
In the streets of Baghdad

Snap in the breeze, or limp on the cord
Sentries marking the honor
To a man, I didn’t support
But honor, nonetheless
For his optimism, faith
In this place, this idea

The rightness of our dream
Lost for so long in the malaise
The hurt from Dallas to Tehran

On guard still,
Our finest in the field
Pawns or patriots, whatever your view

Remember to vote, to have a say
To remember them all

Snap to attention,
And pledge allegiance
To this nation

For it’s the best hope
As Reagan knew, and we do too
So whether half staff or whole
We remember the call,
The duty we share,

To herald the hope,
The dream we hold dear
This Fourth and all year.

Writtten 6/28/04 9:33pm
Edited 7/5/04 16:36, based on the way I did the reading at the Agape Café section of the Wesley United Methodist Church 4th of July celebration

All of my poems are copyrighted by Raymond A. Foss, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. All rights reserved. Contact me at Ray Foss for usage. See all 27,420+ of my poems at Poetry Where You Live.

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