Brave nation, strong and proud you stand, a Boulder in the stream
One nation, people hand in hand, who’ll rob you of your Dream?
Though much withstood, still more to stand you’ll see in coming days;
Yet you will match this new malaise with brilliant new displays.

Once long ago (you’ve not forgot), you faced a deadly force,
Though sure outmatched you still advanced upon your faithful horse.
Then, though through flame, alive you came, though battered, to the end
Of one disease, yet not at ease, your soul left to defend.

‘Cross border frail a mob advanced, with banners bloody-red,
To wrest your freedom from your arms, the Devil at its head.
In tears, your mothers held their heads against their husbands’ chests,
In bondage, yes, but nonetheless in anger beat their breasts.

Like bodies after foul infections sabotage and drain,
Immune resistance grew and gathered strength beneath your pain.
The tyrant’s fierce assault was doomed since his ill-fated strike,
Was dead even before eroded was his crumbling dike.

His wall demolished, you could glimpse the bright Sun of the West;
Encouraged then, you rose on trembling knees to join the rest.
Though silent tyranny and powers threaten now to break
Your noble peace, your fierce defenders yet remain awake.

“To arms, to arms!” the cry will rise, “To cannon, sword, and pen!”
“Now drive the Dragon back to rot inside his fiery den!”
Through fire and ice you’ll soldier on to keep your people free,
Though arrows fly, you’ll find your courage in your history.

Brave nation, strong and proud you stand, a Boulder in the stream
One nation, people hand in hand, who’ll rob you of your dream?



Botanical Reverie

Upon a wide plain on a moonlit night
Illumined by bright, Selenic light,
A tall hill looms with somber face,
Careless to night’s pacific embrace.

Its sandstone crags survey the fields
Surrounding the old and noble hill,
And cracked and crumbling, prepare to yield
Themselves to Nature’s grinding mill.

The plain surrounding the hill presents
Myriad beautiful blooms and flowers
Arrayed in all colors, and elegant,
But absent from yon imposing tower.

A harsh, ugly hill, and unpleasant to see—
What flora at all could survive on its peak?
No magnificent flowers or lovely trees
But only a sage-brush, gnarled and meek.

This simple sage’s sweet delight,
Unlike to the gaudy herbs below,
Is only a mellow scent and polite,
That never expires, but ebbs in its flow.

Though the flowers below only briefly allure
And in short-lived flashes of brightness abound,
This humble sage for years will endure
And its sweet scent blanket the rolling ground.

Perhaps this harsh hill chose wisest of all,
For as flowers quickly fade and fall,
The aroma of sage, what comfort brings!
True beauty is found in simple things.



John Colson is an undergraduate student at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Originally from rural Montana, he derives a great deal of inspiration from the landscapes and people of his home state. His poetry has won several local awards. When he isn’t reading or writing poetry or fiction, John spends as much time as possible outdoors, where he enjoys hunting, hiking, and fishing.

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