Behold the father of this infant land,
Conductor of our daunting foe’s defeat,
Now warmly laureled for his noble stand
Through which our liberty was made complete.

Yet Washington the praise did humbly hear,
For he had seen the suff’ring and the strain—
No pay, scant food, harsh cold, poor gear—
Of soldiers who his precious love did gain

His heart was filled with earnest gratitude
As he embraced his officers most dear.
Such scenes of sorrow seldom had been viewed,
For every eye was filled with somber tears.

He deeply grieved that he could not bestow
The money nor the praise that they were owed.



Alex Rubstein is an 11th grade student homeschooled in Canton Aargau, Switzerland.

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10 Responses

    • Alex Rubstein

      Thank you for your words of encouragement, Mr. Behrens. It is most appreciated.

  1. Yael

    Wow, that’s a beautiful poem, and totally amazing for 11th grade. Congratulations: you have a most impressive talent of tongues.

  2. C.B. Anderson

    This poem is a upstanding example of iambic pentameter, but line three of the second stanza has only four feet.

    • Alex Rubstein

      Thank you for your observation. I was experimenting with using fewer syllables—or iambs—in order to emphasize that specific line. The length of five iambs to describe the condition of the soldiers seemed to cumber the desired effect of the line. With a reduction of one iamb, it lifted the load and, yet, the line’s purpose was retained. What are your thoughts?

      • C.B. Anderson

        Reducing the number of feet in lines is okay, but it should be done consistently, either by making every line, say, tetrameter, or by alternating lines of different lengths in accordance with a pattern you establish at the outset.

        Alternatively, you could shorten the list of noun phrases and add syllables to some of them, e.g.:

        No pay, too little food, and shabby gear —

        I find that any line can be modified to fit an ordained structural plan.

        These are my thoughts.

      • Alex Rubstein

        Thank you. Those are some great suggestions that I will definitely keep in mind. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify it for me.

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