Side by side, like toy soldiers under the sky,
these seedlings all stand in a row.
And on this day of independence, the Fourth of July,
I stand here and I whisper, “Please grow!”

Down the roadway, the rockets burst all about,
and the sparklers all spiral and flare.
As for me, I will shout when I see that first sprout
liberated from the land that we share.

Like an anthem, the words on the packet decreed:
__Plant these seeds, and we promise they’ll grow.
__Celebrate them all summer! Just water and weed.
__They’re guaranteed to exceed all you sow.

And in the soft early mist, all the heavens will bless them.
And the sunlight will invite them to play.
The rain will sustain, and each breeze will caress them.
And they’ll brighten all those dark skies of gray.

Like the wings of a jet plane about to ascend,
a pair of leaves will appear and unfold.
The stems will grow tall as they lean, and they bend.
And they’ll mingle with the monarchs of gold.

And from those tender green fuses, the petals, like sparks,
will explode into brilliant displays.
And in crowds, they will flower in gardens and parks.
And they’ll flourish with much honor and praise.

Let the fireworks soar and sizzle and surge.
All too soon, their excitement will fade.
But with faith, I will wait while these blossoms emerge–
like the drumbeats that lead a parade.



Alan Sugar shares his poetry and performance art in Decatur, Georgia where he currently resides. He is also a puppeteer, and he has worked as a special education teacher in the public schools of Atlanta. Currently, Alan works as a writing tutor at Georgia State University Perimeter College, Clarkston Campus. His work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, The Lyric, and The Jewish Literary Journal.

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2 Responses

  1. C.B. Anderson

    Alan, in the fifth stanza I wondered what you meant by “the monarchs of gold.” And throughout, I wondered what your metrical plan was, or if you had one at all. I detected some anapestic lines, but not consistently. The fourth stanza might have made some metrical sense if it had gone:

    In the soft early mist, all the heavens will bless them,
    And the sun will invite them to play,
    For the rain will sustain, and each breeze will caress them,
    So to brighten those skies of dark gray.

    Here, you see, are anapestic tetrameter lines with feminine end rhymes alternating with anapestic trimeter lines. If you can learn to control the cadence of syllables, then great things are in store for you. As a number of my critics have stated, there’s nothing wrong with loose iambics, but loose anapestics are nothing less than a disaster. What’s the point of any metrics at all, if they can’t be measured by a conventional yardstick?

  2. Stephen Hagerman

    Hahaha! Okay! This is a poem, err a musing about late bloomers, and seems to be directed at Americans. In this you seem to be pleading with these late bloomers to grow “up”. Down the road, or perhaps across the pond You see the sparkle and flare, but still stand there and wait… Next you compare the American Anthem to a seed packet to suggest that we were given good guidance and direction by mother England perhaps?, but we have exceeded our capacity I suppose. Without effort or toil these little English sprouts will succeed without effort and be as rich and undeserving as Monarchs. “Let the fireworks soar and sizzle and surge. All too soon, their excitement will fade.” Obviously because they are undeserving, But proud old England with its great wisdom and forbearance still has the capacity and patience to wait…”, I will wait while these blossoms emerge–”

    Yeah! Right! What is it about this site that everyone seems to be telling everyone else to “grow up!” As C. B. rightly points out the rhythm and meter is all over the place. The predominant meter appears to be anapestic, but is not consistent enough to be really much of anything. The rhymes are too simple as well and easily anticipated. “row/grow?” “flare/share?” “sparks/parks?” Come on. Frankly the only thing I feel I can say positive about this piece is that the punctuation seems to be correct. I would have to classify this as rhymed free verse, I don’t know what else to call it.​ Happy Fourth of July!


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