Vachel Lindsay

(November 10, 1879 – December 5, 1931 / Springfield, Illinois)

Yankee Doodle - Poem by Vachel Lindsay

This poem is intended as a description of a sort of Blashfield mural painting on the sky. To be sung to the tune of Yankee Doodle, yet in a slower, more orotund fashion. It is presumably an exercise for an entertainment on the evening of Washington's Birthday.


Dawn this morning burned all red
Watching them in wonder.
There I saw our spangled flag
Divide the clouds asunder.
Then there followed Washington.
Ah, he rode from glory,
Cold and mighty as his name
And stern as Freedom's story.
Unsubdued by burning dawn
Led his continentals.
Vast they were, and strange to see
In gray old regimentals:—
Marching still with bleeding feet,
Bleeding feet and jesting—
Marching from the judgment throne
With energy unresting.
How their merry quickstep played—
Silver, sharp, sonorous,
Piercing through with prophecy
The demons' rumbling chorus—
Behold the ancient powers of sin
And slavery before them!—
Sworn to stop the glorious dawn,
The pit-black clouds hung o'er them.
Plagues that rose to blast the day
Fiend and tiger faces,
Monsters plotting bloodshed for
The patient toiling races.
Round the dawn their cannon raged,
Hurling bolts of thunder,
Yet before our spangled flag
Their host was cut asunder.
Like a mist they fled away. . . .
Ended wrath and roaring.
Still our restless soldier-host
From East to West went pouring.

High beside the sun of noon
They bore our banner splendid.
All its days of stain and shame
And heaviness were ended.
Men were swelling now the throng
From great and lowly station—
Valiant citizens to-day
Of every tribe and nation.
Not till night their rear-guard came,
Down the west went marching,
And left behind the sunset-rays
In beauty overarching.
War-god banners lead us still,
Rob, enslave and harry
Let us rather choose to-day
The flag the angels carry—
Flag we love, but brighter far—
Soul of it made splendid:
Let its days of stain and shame
And heaviness be ended.
Let its fifes fill all the sky,
Redeemed souls marching after,
Hills and mountains shake with song,
While seas roll on in laughter.


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Read poems about / on: tiger, soldier, sunset, poem, freedom, laughter, silver, sky, war, rose, song, red, beauty, sun, god, night, angel



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Tuesday, November 15, 2011


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