Maurice Thompson

(1844-1901 / the United States)

Our Legend - Poem by Maurice Thompson

The legend set upon our shield
Brims with grand meaning: All in one,
Hearts welded, souls together run
At white heat on the battlefield!


One shining way for all to take,
One oath, one hope, one purpose grand,
One flag for all in all the land,
Upheld by all for Freedom's sake.


One sign set in the central sky,
Read of all men alike, a name
Written in empyrean flame
By the bold hand of Destiny!


That legend naught could dim or mar;
Though bathed in tears and hid in smoke,
Forth from the focal storm it broke,
A bow above the cloud of war.


We read it pensively and knew
Some element of precious gain
Had come to it from wounds and pain,
And mightily its meaning grew.


And so we keep upon our shield
The deathless legend: All in one,
Hearts welded, souls together run
At white heat on the battlefield.


A myriad songs, together thrown
Across old gulfs of hate, are blent
Like starlight in the firmament,
And round the world in triumph blown.


Our starry unity of stars
Gives man a manly masterhood,
Our law of love engrossed in blood
Is sealed with burning bullet scars!

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Poem Submitted: Friday, September 17, 2010



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