Our next poem was selected for us by Rick Robol from Ohio. Rick is an attorney and activist with Independent Ohio. He also serves on IndependentVoting.org’s national Election Reform Committee.
It is fitting in the month of April to remember poetry about the Battle of Concord, a battle that took place on April 19, 1775. “Concord Hymn” is the famous poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson written for the 1837 dedication of the Obelisk monument in Concord, Massachusetts. It commemorates the Battle of Concord, the second in a series of battles and skirmishes at the outbreak of the American Revolution. At Concord’s Independence Day celebration on July 4, 1837, “Concord Hymn” was first read, then sung as a hymn by a local choir.
Emerson’s poem is significant for the way it transforms the brief battle into a spiritual symbol for the American nation. The memory of Lexington & Concord, though 241 years ago, has become part of our nation’s core culture that the spirit of revolution, equal rights and freedom are among what make us distinctly American– a spirit that we expect to endure from one generation to the next. In my view, Independents are united by their embodiment of this spirit.
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.