Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CALL TO THE COLORS, by ARTHUR GUITERMAN



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THE CALL TO THE COLORS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Are you ready, o virginia
Last Line: With their daggers towards the foe!
Subject(s): Flags - United States; Patriotism; Spanish-american War (1898); American Flag


"ARE you ready, O Virginia,
Alabama, Tennessee?
People of the Southland, answer!
For the land hath need of thee."
"Here!" from sandy Rio Grande,
Where the Texan horsemen ride;
"Here!" the hunters of Kentucky
Hail from Chatterawah's side;
Every toiler in the cotton,
Every rugged mountaineer,
Velvet-voiced and iron-handed,
Lifts his head to answer, "Here!
Some remain who charged with Pickett,
Some survive who followed Lee;
They shall lead their sons to battle
For the flag, if need there be."

"Are you ready, California,
Arizona, Idaho?
'Come, oh, come, unto the colors!'
Heard you not the bugle blow?"
Falls a hush in San Francisco
In the busy hives of trade;
In the vineyards of Sonoma
Fall the pruning knife and spade;
In the mines of Colorado
Pick and drill are thrown aside;
Idly in Seattle harbor
Swing the merchants to the tide;
And a million mighty voices
Throb responsive like a drum,
Rolling from the rough Sierras,
"You have called us, and we come."

O'er Missouri sounds the challenge --
O'er the great lakes and the plain;
"Are you ready, Minnesota?
Are you ready, men of Maine?"
From the woods of Ontonagon,
From the farms of Illinois,
From the looms of Massachusetts,
"We are ready, man and boy."
Axemen free, of Androscoggin,
Clerks who trudge the cities' paves,
Gloucester men who drag their plunder
From the sullen, hungry waves,
Big-boned Swede and large-limbed German,
Celt and Saxon swell the call,
And the Adirondacks echo:
"We are ready, one and all."

Truce to feud and peace to faction!
All forgot is party zeal
When the war-ships clear for action,
When the blue battalions wheel.
Europe boasts her standing armies, --
Serfs who blindly fight by trade;
We have seven million soldiers,
And a soul guides every blade.
Laborers with arm and mattock,
Laborers with brain and pen,
Railroad prince and railroad brakeman
Build our line of fighting men.
Flag of righteous wars! close mustered
Gleam the bayonets, row on row,
Where thy stars are sternly clustered,
With their daggers towards the foe!





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