The Beacon: or Happy 236th, America

Pat Henry proposed, “Liberty or Death!”
and many chose to take their last breath
when those words echoed down a midnight run
to men unwilling to succumb to imperial guns

You know a man by the whites of his eyes
fear and fraternity will, thus, arise
so don’t doubt the will of those sitting still
awaiting their shot on old Breed’s Hill

They tallied causes in a great Declaration
that mid-wifed into life a beacon of a nation
those signatures could’ve all been death warrants
but the river of liberty flowed like a torrent

Over an ice-choked Delaware to fight the Hessians
General George gave the Brits an object lesson
Don’t send hired guns for souls bent on being free
They’ll slink back to homes across the vast open sea

Men forged in a snowy valley in Penn’s woods
no meat, no taters, just fire cake baked goods
they fed on the news of a French naval blockade
that might help them avoid seeing the King’s stockade

Cornwallis takes the war south with forces he amasses
Brits, meet Nate Greene, he’ll be handing you your asses
General Greene’s men chased them to the shore at Yorktown
Pushed to the sea, ultimatum, “Surrender or drown!”

So started a journey over two hundred years long
of westward expansion, of Ellis Island a throng,
of schism, of industry, the arsenal of democracy,
beacon to Peoples throwing off their own autocracy

Happy Birthday, America

About B Gourley

Bernie Gourley is a writer living in Bangalore, India. His poetry collection, Poems of the Introverted Yogi is now available on Amazon. He teaches yoga, with a specialization in pranayama, and holds a RYT500 certification. For most of his adult life, he practiced martial arts, including: Kobudo, Muay Thai, Kalaripayattu, and Taiji. He is a world traveler, having visited more than 40 countries around the globe.
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