Encyclopedia America

Encyclopedia America
The goal of this was to acknowledge the flaws in American society and our ugly past, but not letting cynicism or despair keep us from trying to better a country that has so much potential to do good.

Encyclopedia America

Trigger Warning: poem contains references to gun violence and slavery


          I.      Pledge of Allegiance


One huddled mass,

facing exclusion acts,

yearning to breathe free

but choking on hypocrisy.


One education,

under lockdowns,

and traumas passed on

like hand-me-downs.


One nation, in desperation

inexplicably,

with deliberate injustice

for just us.


I pledge allegiance to thee,

of what we can become,

of age-old stitches in our flag

yet to be undone.


          II.      The National Anthem


While bombs burst in the air,

Pockets explode with corporate shares,

Gave proof through centuries

That our blood-streaked flag

Is still here.


O say does that scar-spangled

banner yet wave

O’er the Land of the GDP,

and the Home of the graves.


          III.       American Republic


Of the people (16th century, white, slave-owning, plantation-owning, rich, elitist, powerful), for the people (16th century, white, slave-owning, plantation-owning, rich, elitist, powerful), by the people (16th century, white, slave-owning, plantation-owning, rich, educated, influencial, powerful).


         IV.      Founders


We hold these truths to be self-evident,

that all men

are created equal.


What about

remember the Ladies?

And while the founders debated,

the founding mothers’ ideals were cremated.


46 male presidencies later,


We found out

that all men would

be tyrants

if they could.




For this poem, I used the format of influential American documents and literature (the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star-Spangled Banner, a phrase from the Gettysburg Address, and “Remember the Ladies,” a letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams) and tried to convey how I feel the legacies of those documents look like in the present-day. The founding of the U.S. has been on my mind a lot, largely because of the U.S. History classes I’m taking at school. I think the most important takeaway from my poem is the last stanza of I. Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to thee / of what we can become / of age-old stitches in our flag / yet to be undone,” because the goal of this was to acknowledge the flaws in American society and our ugly past, but not letting cynicism or despair keep us from trying to better a country that has so much potential to do good.


Editors: Sam L., Anoushka K. Chris F.