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Welcome to Mirth and Motivation!

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Hello world!

29/11/2008

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl

Hello world: Welcome to Mirth and Motivation!

Hello world: Welcome to Mirth and Motivation!

 

Respite Reminder: I'm Taking My Own Advice. Will Check in occasionally. Back in August!

Respite Reminder: I’m Taking My Own Advice. Will Check in Occasionally. Back in August!

Welcome to Mirth and Motivation! This is a Lifestyle/Motivational blog offering an eclectic mix of mirthful and motivational pieces: Life Tips / Advice, Affirmations/Wellness, Women’s Lives, Food, Travel, Interviews, Inspirational posts, Reviews, Peace, AND Social Media ruminations on people, places, and events that shape our lives. I invite you to stay awhile, read some posts, and share your thoughts with this growing online blog community.

I started this blog 10+ years ago, as a way to help agents/staff at the company I worked for stay motivated. After the market crashed and downsized, I decided to keep it going. The main goal was to encourage myself and others to keep moving forward. It has been a long and rewarding journey.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about blogging, its many positives, and pitfalls, and how important it is to stay focused on our own Why or raison d’être.  We can choose to focus on one of the fundamental rules of blogging which is to make connections with others by adding value through our message/content, comments, and social interactions. We can also choose to turn our attention elsewhere. It is entirely up to us. One thing I know for sure is that if your heart is invested in what you blog about, you will stay the course. Remember to stay true to who you are and why you blog. It can’t just be about monetization. Add value. Help others. Stay encouraged.

Another thing I know for sure is that we all want to be heard, appreciated and respected; I know that empowering messages are far more appealing than incendiary angling for blog attention. If your blogosphere surfing brings you here, relax, kick back, and share a positive tidbit on your worldview.

 How do we stay mirthful and motivated?
Read more…

Motivation 2020: Invictus and 12 Poems for Courage

05/08/2020

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Maya Angelou

Motivation 2020: Invictus and 12 Poems for Courage

Motivation 2020: Invictus and 12 Poems for Courage


Oprah Winfrey MOTIVATION – Best INTERVIEW MOMENTS

How would you define Courage?  Recently, I was watching the motivational video above on Oprah. She shared some of the principles that have guided her and I was moved by the story she shared on how she got to recite Invictus for a school event. She was a child and had to learn it in a few days. It takes courage to say Yes to things and then realize you need to honor your commitment immediately. I learned Invictus and many other inspiring poems in school and Oprah’s memory jugged mine. I grew up surrounded by books, music, and poetry, and my love for the medium has stayed with me all my life. As a nursery school kid, I learned nursery rhymes and popular children’s poems of the day. I wrote a few ditties myself and had fun creating, inventing, and reciting poems with my friends. It was a time of innocence, creative play, and adventure.  As the years flew by and life’s unpredictable events unfolded around me, I learned songs and poems of courage to sustain me. Invictus is Latin for “unconquered” and this is a season that demands great courage. In this post, I will share 13 poems on courage that have given me great joy.  Read on.

Invictus By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul. via poetryfoundation

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. via poemhunter

Courage by Claude McKay
O lonely heart so timid of approach,
Like the shy tropic flower that shuts its lips
To the faint touch of tender fingertips:
What is your word? What question would you broach?

Your lustrous-warm eyes are too sadly kind
To mask the meaning of your dreamy tale,
Your guarded life too exquisitely frail
Against the daggers of my warring mind.

There is no part of the unyielding earth,
Even bare rocks where the eagles build their nest,
Will give us undisturbed and friendly rest.
No dewfall softens this vast belt of dearth.

But in the socket-chiseled teeth of strife,
That gleam in serried files in all the lands,
We may join hungry, understanding hands,
And drink our share of ardent love and life. via poetryhunter

If- by Rudyard Kipling
(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! via poetryfoundation

 

“The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.” Thucydides

Motivation 2020: Invictus and 12 Poems for Courage

Motivation 2020: Invictus and 12 Poems for Courage

When has Courage played an important role in your life? I was a shy child so every step I took out of my comfort zone was an act of courage. I found courage in the company of my more daring friends and their enthusiasm for play and adventure emboldened me to step out of my shell and embrace life.  Of course, some of our childhood play was quite dangerous and we sustained bruises and broken bones for daring to be so stupid. One story that stays with me is of a competition we had to see who could jump over a high fence. As our game progressed, our attempts at higher fences became an attempt to scale a wall. A wall separated our home from our next-door neighbor’s and I was convinced I could jump over that wall. My courageous attempt was a huge mistake because the wall was too high. I fell backward and broke my left leg. The lesson learned was that courage also requires a measure of wisdom…

One of my most courageous acts was to leave the comfort and safety of my family home in the UK and move, alone, to the US. I took a huge chance to leave everything I knew, the friendly, and the familiar, to venture into the unknown in a new country. Courage and grace brought me here and both have sustained me. Every immigrant story is a story of courage because it is never easy to move from a country you grew up in, leaving behind friends and familiar who love and know you, to new terrain.  All of us left home for various reasons, for love, study, adventure, war, and, for some, a better life. It takes courage to start afresh with hope and dreams and it takes courage to know when it is time to change course and try something entirely new and different. At this different points in life, we all have to take that leap. Some of us balk and maintain the status quo, while others leap and expand their horizon to grasp new worlds and grow. Change is inevitable and courage helps us get there. What is your one act of courage you’d like to share?

COURAGE by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Whether the way be dark or light
My soul shall sing as I journey on,
As sweetly sing in the deeps of night
As it sang in the burst of the golden dawn.

Nothing can crush me, or silence me long,
Though the heart be bowed, yet the soul will rise,
Higher and higher on wings of song,
Till it swims like the lark in a sea of skies.

Though youth may fade, and love grow cold,
And friends prove false, and best hopes blight,
Yet the sun will wade in waves of gold,
And the stars in glory will shine at night.

Though all earth’s joys from my life are missed,
And I of the whole world stand bereft,
Yet dawns will be purple and amethyst,
And I cannot be sad while the seas are left.

For I am a part of the mighty whole;
I belong to the system of life and death.
I am under the law of a Great Central,
And strong with the courage of love and faith. via ellawheelerwilcox.org

Dreams by Langston Hughes
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
Langston Hughes via poemhunter

Don’t Quit by Edgar Albert Guest
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
when the funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit –
rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about
when he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
you may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
when he might have captured the victor’s cup;
and he learned too late when the night came down,
how close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and when you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar;
so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
it’s when things seem worst that you must not quit. via UBSW

On the Gift of a Book to a Child by Hilaire Belloc
Child! do not throw this book about!
Refrain from the unholy pleasure
Of cutting all the pictures out!
Preserve it as your chiefest treasure.

Child, have you never heard it said
That you are heir to all the ages?
Why, then, your hands were never made
To tear these beautiful thick pages!

Your little hands were made to take
The better things and leave the worse ones:
They also may be used to shake
The Massive Paws of Elder Persons.

And when your prayers complete the day,
Darling, your little tiny hands
Were also made, I think, to pray
For men that lose their fairylands. via poetryfoundation

 

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for JUL – AUG 2020 are:

JULY

07/01 – 01 SUMMER, 04 Independence Day, 06 D-Day,
07/05 – 07 World Chocolate Day
07/12 – 18 Nelson Mandela Day,
07/19 – 24 International Self-Care Day
07/26 – 28 Parents Day, 30 International Day of Friendship, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

AUG

08/01 – 01 SUMMER,
08/05 – TBD 07, Purple Heart Day
08/12 – TBD
08/19 – TBD
08/30 – TBD

 

Read more…

Motivation 2020: Nelson Mandela Day #MandelaQuotes #MandelaDay

14/07/2020

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” Nelson Mandela

Motivation 2020: Nelson Mandela Day #MandelaQuotes #MandelaDay

Motivation 2020: Nelson Mandela Day #MandelaQuotes #MandelaDay


NMF CE Sello Hatang launches Mandela Day 2020: Give a special focus on Food & Nutrition as well as Education and Sanitation. This year’s slogans are: Take Action. Inspire Change. Make every day a Mandela Day.

November 2009 – in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom, UN General Assembly declares 18 July “Nelson Mandela International Day”. Resolution A/RES/64/13 recognizes Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity in conflict resolution; race relations; promotion and protection of human rights; reconciliation; gender equality and the rights of children and other vulnerable groups; the fight against poverty; the promotion of social justice. The resolution acknowledges his contribution to the struggle for democracy internationally and the promotion of a culture of peace throughout the world. UNO on Nelson Mandela International Day

What is Mandela Day? On July 18th, leaders and ordinary people around the world will celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day; it is celebrated in honor of the life and works of the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Tata Madiba, Khulu, Dalibhunga, who passed away in 2013. Mandela was an anti-apartheid revolutionary, lawyer, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and politician. He was fondly known as “the father of the nation,” and his life and struggles are a reminder of the resilience of the human heart, and a determination to do what truly matters for the good of all. As the first black elected leader of a free South Africa, he worked hard to reconcile all its people to forgive the atrocities of the past and move forward as a united nation. His determination to move his country toward peace, truth, and reconciliation is also a reminder that we can work together to overcome the ill-will and petty hatreds that are rampant around the globe. This year and every year, let us all remember to add our voices: Take Action. Inspire Change. Make every day a Mandela Day.

If we are to thrive as a global community, especially in the face of the current pandemic, we must work together for the sake of our collective humanity and our nations. Even though Mandela grew up under the oppressive apartheid system, and fought to see South Africa become a free nation for all its people, he never bore any hatred for his oppressors. His Nelson Mandela Foundation continues to remind us to help those in need and foster a spirit of global unity. We live in difficult times and we need to get back to following a path of heartfelt compassion and consideration for all humanity. To celebrate this great teacher, leader, father, and humanitarian, I have included quotes from him in this post.

NELSON MANDELA QUOTES
Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”
Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.
I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy, and freedom for all.”
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
“The road we have walked has been built by the contributions of all of us. The tools we have used on that road have been fashioned by all of us. The future we face is that of all of us.”
Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people, in a way that little else does.”
“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation.”
To the youth of today, I also have a wish to make: Be the scriptwriters of your destiny and feature yourselves as stars that showed the way towards a brighter future.” All by Nelson Mandela

READ: Motivation Mondays: Mandela Day #ActionAgainstPoverty
Motivation Mondays: Matters Of The Heart
Nelson Mandela: Madiba R.I.P.

 

 

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela

Motivation 2020: Nelson Mandela Day #MandelaQuotes #MandelaDay

Motivation 2020: Nelson Mandela Day #MandelaQuotes #MandelaDay


Letshego Zulu shows her support for #Each1Feed1 Campaign

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. Wikipedia

Nelson Mandela’s Biography: When we read about Mandela’s life, we meet a man who left a shining legacy of determination and duty. He devoted 67 years of his life on this planet to service and spent 27 of those years as a prisoner on Robben Island, banished to a lifetime of hard labor by the Apartheid led regime. That he survived it to become a beacon of hope for many in South Africa and beyond is remarkable. He also became that nation’s first democratically elected black leader. Nelson Mandela was a man of integrity who never sought vengeance for the abuse he endured. He championed the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to hear, evaluate, and forgive the atrocities committed during the apartheid regime. I would encourage all to read Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, published in 1994.

This year’s anniversary is poignant in that we are facing a global pandemic that has decimated lives and economies around the globe. We can all act in more considerate ways by contributing to campaigns like the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s #Each1Feed1 Campaign, by supporting it and any other organizations that help those in need, and by respecting the CDC dictates that advice us on how to protect each other from getting the COVID 19 virus.  Ending Poverty mattered to Mandela and it remains a grave concern around the world because despite the abundance we see in some parts of the world, 1.3 billion people live in abject poverty. 1 billion are children, 850 million don’t have enough food to eat, and 750 million lack adequate water in their areas.  The Nelson Mandela Foundation invites us all to do our bit by contributing to those folks in need in our communities, by advocating for changes that will help more people get access to resources and by being mindful and conscious of our consumption and impact on the resource supply around the world.

NELSON MANDELA QUOTES
As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.”
The very fact that racism degrades both the perpetrator and the victim commands that, if we are true to our commitment to protect human dignity, we fight on until victory is achieved.”
I am continuing to struggle for human rights.”
“A blind pursuit of popularity has nothing to do with revolution.”
Freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression.”
The time for healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.”
We shall never forget how millions of people around the world joined us in solidarity to fight the injustice of our oppression while we were incarcerated.”
We have pursued the journey to freedom and dignity for all.”
Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity, and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty.
There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
If I had my time over I would do the same again, so would any man who dares call himself a man.” All by Nelson Mandela

 

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for JUN – JUL 2020 are:

JUNE

06/01 – 02 BLACKOUT DAY,
06/07 – 13 St Anthony
06/14
06/21 – 19 Juneteenth, 20 World Refugee Day, 21 International Yoga, 21 Father’s Day, 24 St John the Baptist, 26 Against Illicit Trafficking,
06/28 – 30 BET Awards

JULY

07/01 – 01 SUMMER, 04 Independence Day, 06 D-Day,
07/05 – 07 World Chocolate Day
07/12 – 18 Nelson Mandela Day,
07/19 – 24 International Self-Care Day
07/26 – 28 Parents Day, 30 International Day of Friendship, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

 

MORE BELOW Read more…

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

03/07/2020

“For you have been called to live in freedom. Use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense. Barack Obama

Happy 244th Independence Day!: As we prepare to celebrate this very important Independence day in American history, I can’t help but stop to reflect on why this truly matters. We have been battling a global pandemic that has decimated lives across the globe and created a new normal for us all. We must use this time to reflect on what freedom/independence truly means and how it impacts all of our lives in this great country. The Black Lives Matter movement has brought systemic racism and inequities to the forefront and as we celebrate on July 4th, let us remember that the right to liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness we desire for ourselves should also be what we must want for everyone else.
How did we reach Independence Day? 244 years ago, on July 4, 1776, the forefathers commemorated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence; it was an auspicious day filled with optimism for the future of this newly birthed, great nation. It signified the birth of the United States of America and the liberation of her original thirteen colonies from British rule. The actual legal separation occurred on the 2nd, not the 4th. July 4th is the date the documents were ratified and the circuitous journey that many took to arrive on this new land in search of a new life reached a milestone. Let us not forget that this is a nation built on the backs of millions who had a dream of a better life; of gaining personal freedom.

To celebrate Independence Day 2020, I have selected 20 Famous Poems/Lyrical Poems that speak to the meaning of July 4th, Independence Day, Freedom, and more.  Some have been excerpted due to their length, some are poems that became lyrics to popular songs, while others are added in full. Take a moment to read them all and contemplate their message. Here is a list of the 20 poems if you wish to mark them for your own enjoyment: The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus, Concord Hymn By Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Star-Spangled Banner By Francis Scott Key, America By Claude McKay, America The Beautiful – A Poem for July 4. By Katharine Lee Bates, America, A Prophecy By William Blake – an Excerpt, The Congressional Library [excerpt] By Amy Lowell, Good Night Poem by Carl Sandburg, Banneker By Rita Dove, Paul Revere’s Ride By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I Hear America Singing By Walt Whitman, Let America Be America Again – an excerpt By Langston Hughes, To The Fourth of July – By Swami Vivekananda, Learning to love America By Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Liberty Bell By J. P. Dunn, July 4th by May Swenson, Fourth of July By John Brehm, Immigrants in Our Own Land By Jimmy Santiago Baca, The Fourth of July Parade By Fran Haraway, and America By Allen Ginsberg – an Excerpt.

READ: Motivation Mondays: 100 July 4th Quotes – Independence Day
Motivation Mondays: Optimism. Life. Independence Day
Motivation Mondays: Dream BIGGER – Independence Day

The New Colossus By Emma Lazarus via the poetryfoundation
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Concord Hymn By Ralph Waldo Emerson via poets.org
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.

The Star-Spangled Banner By Francis Scott Key via poets.org
O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
‘Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— “In God is our trust; ”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

America By Claude McKay via poetryfoundation
Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
I love this cultured hell that tests my youth.
Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
Giving me strength erect against her hate,
Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
Yet, as a rebel fronts a king in state,
I stand within her walls with not a shred
Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
And see her might and granite wonders there,
Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

America The Beautiful – A Poem for July 4. By Katharine Lee Bates via Wikipedia
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

America, A Prophecy By William Blake – an Excerpt. (Read the full poem at Bartleby.com)
Preludium – an excerpt
The shadowy Daughter of Urthona stood before red Orc,
When fourteen suns had faintly journey’d o’er his dark abode:
His food she brought in iron baskets, his drink in cups of iron.
Crown’d with a helmet and dark hair the nameless Female stood;
A quiver with its burning stores, a bow like that of night,
When pestilence is shot from heaven—no other arms she need!
Invulnerable tho’ naked, save where clouds roll round her loins
Their awful folds in the dark air: silent she stood as night;
For never from her iron tongue could voice or sound arise,
But dumb till that dread day when Orc assay’d his fierce embrace.

A Prophecy – an excerpt
THE GUARDIAN PRINCE of Albion burns in his nightly tent:
Sullen fires across the Atlantic glow to America’s shore,
Piercing the souls of warlike men who rise in silent night.
Washington, Franklin, Paine, and Warren, Gates, Hancock, and Green
Meet on the coast glowing with blood from Albion’s fiery Prince. 5

Washington spoke: ‘Friends of America! look over the Atlantic sea;
A bended bow is lifted in Heaven, and a heavy iron chain
Descends, link by link, from Albion’s cliffs across the sea, to bind
Brothers and sons of America; till our faces pale and yellow,
Heads depress’d, voices weak, eyes downcast, hands work-bruis’d, 10
Feet bleeding on the sultry sands, and the furrows of the whip
Descend to generations, that in future times forget.’

The strong voice ceas’d; for a terrible blast swept over the heaving sea:
The eastern cloud rent: on his cliffs stood Albion’s wrathful Prince,
A dragon form, clashing his scales: at midnight he arose, 15
And flam’d red meteors round the land of Albion beneath;
His voice, his locks, his awful shoulders, and his glowing eyes
Appear to the Americans upon the cloudy night.

 

 

“I’d like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free and wanted other people to be also free.” Rosa Parks

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

Motivation 2020: 20 Famous July 4th Poems To Remember #IndependenceDay

I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it. John Thune

What are your plans for this special day? As we join our loved ones to celebrate July 4th, take a moment to educate those around you on the history of Independence Day, read the Declaration of Independence and teach your loved ones about the long journey that got YOU here. After all, this is a nation of immigrants. It is not enough to eat, drink and be merry… take time to teach yourself and others about how this impacts your own dreams, celebrate your independence, cherish the liberties you enjoy, and stay motivated to ensure that others can have access to the same rights we wish for our loved ones and ourselves.
READ: Motivation Mondays: Happy 4th Of July – Independence Day
Haiku: Happy Independence Day!
Motivation Mondays: FREEDOM

The Congressional Library [excerpt] By Amy Lowell via poets.org
Where else in all America are we so symbolized
As in this hall?
White columns polished like glass,
A dome and a dome,
A balcony and a balcony,
Stairs and the balustrades to them,
Yellow marble and red slabs of it,
All mounting, spearing, flying into color.
Color round the dome and up to it,
Color curving, kite-flying, to the second dome,
Light, dropping, pitching down upon the color,
Arrow-falling upon the glass-bright pillars,
Mingled colors spinning into a shape of white pillars,
Fusing, cooling, into balanced shafts of shrill and interthronging light.
This is America,
This vast, confused beauty,
This staring, restless speed of loveliness,
Mighty, overwhelming, crude, of all forms,
Making grandeur out of profusion,
Afraid of no incongruities,
Sublime in its audacity,
Bizarre breaker of moulds,
Laughing with strength,
Charging down on the past,
Glorious and conquering,
Destroyer, builder,
Invincible pith and marrow of the world,
An old-world remaking,
Whirling into the no-world of all-colored light.

Good Night Poem by Carl Sandburg via poemhunter
Many ways to say good night.

Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July
spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.
They fizz in the air, touch the water, and quit.
Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue
and then go out.

Railroad trains at night spell with a smokestack mushrooming a white pillar.

Steamboats turn a curve in the Mississippi crying a baritone that crosses lowland cottonfields to razorback hill.

It is easy to spell good night.
Many ways to spell good night.

Banneker By Rita Dove via poetryfoundation
What did he do except lie
under a pear tree, wrapped in
a great cloak, and meditate
on the heavenly bodies?
Venerable, the good people of Baltimore
whispered, shocked and more than
a little afraid. After all it was said
he took to strong drink.
Why else would he stay out
under the stars all night
and why hadn’t he married?

But who would want him! Neither
Ethiopian nor English, neither
lucky nor crazy, a capacious bird
humming as he penned in his mind
another enflamed letter
to President Jefferson—he imagined
the reply, polite and rhetorical.
Those who had been to Philadelphia
reported the statue
of Benjamin Franklin
before the library

his very size and likeness.
A wife? No, thank you.
At dawn, he milked
the cows, then went inside
and put on a pot to stew
while he slept. The clock
he whittled as a boy
still ran. Neighbors
woke him up
with warm bread and quilts.
At nightfall, he took out

his rifle—a white-maned
figure stalking the darkened
breast of the Union—and
shot at the stars, and by chance
one went out. Had he killed?
I assure thee, my dear Sir!
Lowering his eyes to fields
sweet with the rot of spring, he could see
a government’s domed city
rising from the morass and spreading
in a spiral of lights…

Paul Revere’s Ride By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – an excerpt (read the full poem at poets.org)

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,—
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said “Good night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war:
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon, like a prison-bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed to the tower of the church,
Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,—
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing overall.

I Hear America Singing By Walt Whitman via poetryfoundation
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Let America Be America Again – an excerpt By Langston Hughes  Read the full poem at poetryfoundation
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

To The Fourth of July – By Swami Vivekananda via poemhunter
Behold, the dark clouds melt away,
That gathered thick at night, and hung
So like a gloomy pall above the earth!
Before thy magic touch, the world
Awakes. The birds in chorus sing.

The flowers raise their star-like crowns—
Dew-set, and wave thee welcome fair.
The lakes are opening wide in love
Their hundred thousand lotus-eyes
To welcome thee, with all their depth.

All hail to thee, thou Lord of Light!
A welcome new to thee, today,
O Sun! Today thou sheddest Liberty!
Bethink thee how the world did wait,
And search for thee, through time and clime.

Some gave up home and love of friends,
And went in quest of thee, self-banished,
Through dreary oceans, through primeval forests,
Each step a struggle for their life or death;
Then came the day when work bore fruit,
And worship, love, and sacrifice,
Fulfilled, accepted, and complete.

Then thou, propitious, rose to shed
The light of Freedom on mankind.
Move on, O Lord, in thy resistless path!
Till thy high noon o’erspreads the world.
Till every land reflects thy light,
Till men and women, with uplifted head,
Behold their shackles broken, and
Know, in springing joy, their life renewed!

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for JUN – JUL 2020 are:

JUNE

06/01 – 02 BLACKOUT DAY,
06/07 – 13 St Anthony
06/14
06/21 – 19 Juneteenth, 20 World Refugee Day, 21 International Yoga, 21 Father’s Day, 24 St John the Baptist, 26 Against Illicit Trafficking,
06/28 – 30 BET Awards

JULY

07/01 – 01 SUMMER, 04 Independence Day, 06 D-Day,
07/05 – 07 World Chocolate Day
07/12 – 18 Nelson Mandela Day,
07/19 – 24 International Self-Care Day
07/26 – 28 Parents Day, 30 International Day of Friendship, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

 

 

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