I need help finding a poem that would be suitable for a girl competing in an academic poetry reading contest. It needs to address something that has affected American history. The girl is very good at voices, southern, british, etc. and I would like to find a poem that has voices. It needs to be at least 6 minutes long or two poems that she could read in that time frame. I would appreciated any help that anyone could give me. Thanks!
You might try something from 'Spoon River Anthology'
To My Country
by Katharine Lee Bates
O dear my Country, beautiful and dear,
Love cloth not darken sight.
God looketh through Love's eyes, whose vision clear
Beholds more flaws than keenest Hate hath known.
Nor is Love's judgment gentle, but austere;
The heart of Love must break ere it condone
One stain upon the white.
There comes an hour when on the parent turns
The challenge of the child;
The bridal passion for perfection burns;
Life gives her last allegiance to the best;
Each sweet idolatry the spirit spurns,
Once more enfranchised for its starry quest
Of beauty undefiled.
Love must be one with honor; yet to-day
Love liveth by a sign;
Allows no lasting compromise with clay,
But tends the mounting miracle of gold,
Content with service till the bud make way
To the rejoicing sunbeams that unfold
Its culminant divine.
There is a rumoring among the stars,
A trouble in the sun.
Freedom, most holy word, hath fallen at jars
With her own deeds; 'tis Mammon's jubilee;
Again the cross contends with scimitars;
The seraphim look down with dread to see
Earth's noblest hope undone.
O dear my Country, beautiful and dear,
Ultimate dream of Time,
By all thy millions longing to revere
A pure, august, authentic commonweal,
Climb to the light. Imperiled Pioneer
Of Brotherhood among the nations, seal
Our faith with thy sublime.
Carl Sandburg - Skyscraper
BY day the skyscraper looms in the smoke and sun and
has a soul.
Prairie and valley, streets of the city, pour people into
it and they mingle among its twenty floors and are
poured out again back to the streets, prairies and
It is the men and women, boys and girls so poured in and
out all day that give the building a soul of dreams
and thoughts and memories.
(Dumped in the sea or fixed in a desert, who would care
for the building or speak its name or ask a policeman
the way to it?)
Elevators slide on their cables and tubes catch letters and
parcels and iron pipes carry gas and water in and
Wires climb with secrets, carry light and carry words,
and tell terrors and profits and loves--curses of men
grappling plans of business and questions of women
in plots of love.
Hour by hour the caissons reach down to the rock of the
earth and hold the building to a turning planet.
Hour by hour the girders play as ribs and reach out and
hold together the stone walls and floors.
Hour by hour the hand of the mason and the stuff of the
mortar clinch the pieces and parts to the shape an
Hour by hour the sun and the rain, the air and the rust,
and the press of time running into centuries, play
on the building inside and out and use it.
Men who sunk the pilings and mixed the mortar are laid
in graves where the wind whistles a wild song
And so are men who strung the wires and fixed the pipes
and tubes and those who saw it rise floor by floor.
Souls of them all are here, even the hod carrier begging
at back doors hundreds of miles away and the brick-
layer who went to state's prison for shooting another
man while drunk.
(One man fell from a girder and broke his neck at the
end of a straight plunge--he is here--his soul has
gone into the stones of the building.)
On the office doors from tier to tier--hundreds of names
and each name standing for a face written across
with a dead child, a passionate lover, a driving
ambition for a million dollar business or a lobster's
ease of life.
Behind the signs on the doors they work and the walls
tell nothing from room to room.
Ten-dollar-a-week stenographers take letters from
corporation officers, lawyers, efficiency engineers,
and tons of letters go bundled from the building to all
ends of the earth.
Smiles and tears of each office girl go into the soul of
the building just the same as the master-men who
rule the building.
Hands of clocks turn to noon hours and each floor
empties its men and women who go away and eat
and come back to work.
Toward the end of the afternoon all work slackens and
all jobs go slower as the people feel day closing on
One by one the floors are emptied. . . The uniformed
elevator men are gone. Pails clang. . . Scrubbers
work, talking in foreign tongues. Broom and water
and mop clean from the floors human dust and spit,
and machine grime of the day.
Spelled in electric fire on the roof are words telling
miles of houses and people where to buy a thing for
money. The sign speaks till midnight.
Darkness on the hallways. Voices echo. Silence
holds. . . Watchmen walk slow from floor to floor
and try the doors. Revolvers bulge from their hip
pockets. . . Steel safes stand in corners. Money
is stacked in them.
A young watchman leans at a window and sees the lights
of barges butting their way across a harbor, nets of
red and white lanterns in a railroad yard, and a span
of glooms splashed with lines of white and blurs of
crosses and clusters over the sleeping city.
By night the skyscraper looms in the smoke and the stars
and has a soul.
what r u talking about and do you have any good idea on what to read Talia wrote:
I need a poem for 2 girls that are doing u.i.l poetry. They need to be at least 5 to 6 minutes long. Both girls are very talented. They need to be funny.... with a lot of characters and voices that they can change.....Thanks and please respond if you have any ideas.!!
Let's keep this thread about American history. I've started another thread for funny poems.
'The Deacon's Masterpiece' by Oliver Wendell Holmes is about 6 minutes long. Not directly about history, but the story is set in America and spans 100 years. Some opportunities for different voices/accents, for instance English for 'Georgius secundus', and regional for 'the settlers' ellum', and the voice of the parson at the end. And of course the Deacon.
Since our originator of the thread is from Texas, I'm guessing the acronym relates to this: [www.uil.utexas.edu] />
not that i was going to lose sleep over it, but it IS good to have the question answered !
Thanks, Les. If you aren't psychic, how did you know Maggiemay is from Texas? According to my search, this is her only post.