Family Time: Writing an Independence Day Poem
For many of us, Independence Day means flags, lake days, fireworks, and barbeques—maybe even a day off of school or work. All of that stuff is wonderful, but it can be enriched when we take the time to consider how Independence Day began, and what it means to us now. If you are looking for a fun activity to do with your kids to get them thinking about what Independence Day is, you can write an Independence Day poem with them! You can write one all together, or you can each write your own and have fun sharing them with one another.
Now, not all of us are comfortable thinking of ourselves as poets, but writing an Independence Day poem can be a golden opportunity to model artistic freedom for your family, just making something without fear of failure. Plus, we have some advice and some templates for you to use. Don’t be afraid to take an unexpected angle in your poem!
Do a Little Research
Doing research is a normal part of the writing process—and it makes actually writing way easier. What you encounter in your research will give your poem some different perspectives to respond to. Take some notes on what you find.
To learn more about the Declaration of Independence, you can refer to this handy article, which provides resources on this topic by grade level!
There are also many little-known facts about the process of declaring Independence. These can make for a unique perspective in your poetry.
Feel free to organize—or not organize—your brainstorm however you like. These are some things you can include:
- List everything you knew or discovered about Independence Day.
- Add in any emotions or words that you associate with the topic—even small and silly things. Vivid and unusual details can bring a poem to life.
- List your personal experience of Independence Day or imagine what the historical experience might have been like. For example: When they signed the declaration, what did they see, feel, smell, hear? (Don’t be afraid to invent the details.)
- List some things you can compare to Independence Day. (These might make good metaphors when you start writing).
Refine Your Content
Now, look at your brainstorm. Go in and cross out words that are overused or boring and replace them with more vivid phrases. Consider different types of figurative language you might use as you refine your words and phrases.
Some types of figurative language that can make a poem more vivid are:
- Metaphor—when one thing is implicitly compared to another, without using “like” or “as.” The colonies were a brave eagle with King George’s foot standing on its tail.
- Simile—when something is explicitly compared to another, using “like” or “as.” John Hancock has a signature with a flourish like a peacock’s tail.
- Personification—when something non-human is given human attributes. They all signed that declaration whose brave words birthed a nation.
- Onomatopoeia—a word formed based on a sound. The USA would not be squashed.
When you are all done making your brainstorm as vivid as possible, circle the ideas you want to express in your poem.
Choose a Format
There are so many forms to use to write an Independence Day poem! Poetry Games has a website with tons of very specific form options you can follow, and they also have advice for writing free verse poems, if that is what you’d like to write.
A hold-on poem can also be fun and have an emotional effect.
List poems are also simple to write, and carefully chosen details can bring an Independence Day poem of this type to life and communicate a deeper story.
For a more playful tone, and a simple rhyme scheme, consider writing a limerick.
If you’re really looking for a challenge, try writing a sestina.
Write Your Independence Day Poem
Now that you have prepared adequately, you’ll find that writing the poem isn’t intimidating at all. The content is already there for you to arrange and mold into a great Independence Day poem.
When you’re done, read your poems to one another and share them with friends!
Independence Day Poem Examples from EA Students and Teachers
An Independence Day Poem
By Chelsea Sorrels, English Teacher
Like the guns of the calvary
The red, the white, the blue
We fly it proud.
But what does it really mean?
Hatred fueled by pain,
In the eyes of the Patriots,
We are here today,
In the Land of the Free,
Because of their victory.
An Independence Day Haiku
By Jonathan Keating, Grade 10
Colored fireworks strike
Against the starry black sky
Backpacking in July
An Independence Day Free Verse
By Jacquelyn Barnes, English Teacher
This Independence Day, I retreat
to the mountains. There will be no fireworks
to either impress or disappoint—
there will be bears, caribou, and birds, and I will
wonder at how men must declare
what the animals assume, wonder that men toil
over an idea in assemblies nature enacts
without thought. To wage war, to continue trade,
to reject a king “not fit to be the ruler
of a free people.” The caribou, the bears, the birds,
no one needs to teach them—the King
of the free people has always been.
Writing poetry is a beautiful way to honor God, and, in this case, contemplate one’s country. It is worth introducing your kids to the writing process at a young age. Feel free to share your (or your child’s) Independence Day poem in the comments below. At Enlightium Academy we believe in the importance of creative expression. Our English classes contain creative writing units, and often ask students to respond personally to the material they’re learning—especially in light of their faith. If you’re interested in learning more about our approach to online Christian education, click on the link below.