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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frank O'Hara
Frank O'Hara
Born in 1926, Frank O'Hara was one of the most distinguished members of the New York School of poets...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Heroes and Bravery
Alexander's Feast; or, the Power of Music
by John Dryden
Dead Brother Super Hero
by Michael Dickman
Heroisms, 4, 5
by Dan Beachy-Quick
My hero bares his nerves
by Dylan Thomas
Survivors--Found
by Joan Murray
Washington's Monument, February, 1885
by Walt Whitman
Poems about Historical Events
Artificer
by Czeslaw Milosz
Cashel Man
by Sean Frederick Forbes
Daytime Begins with a Line by Anna Akhmatova
by Yusef Komunyakaa
Indian Stream Republic
by Stephen Burt
Longing to Commodious
by Rob Halpern
Matriot Acts, Act I [History of Mankind]
by Anne Waldman
Occasioned by General Washington's Arrival in Philadelphia, On His Way to His Residence in Virginia
by Philip Freneau
Oklahoma City: The Aftermath
by Ira Sadoff
On the Day of Nixon's Funeral
by Ira Sadoff
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Rouen, Place de la Pucelle
by Maria White Lowell
Shirt
by Robert Pinsky
Singer
by Valzhyna Mort
Suicide of a Moderate Dictator
by Elizabeth Bishop
The Present Crisis
by James Russell Lowell
Wave
by David Keplinger
William Dawes
by Eileen Myles
Poems about Rebellion
How We Did It
by Muriel Rukeyser
Other Ekphrastic Poems
Purgatorio, Canto X
by Dante Alighieri
The Iliad, Book XVIII, [The Shield of Achilles]
by Homer
a woman peeling apples, with a small child
by Pattie McCarthy
All those Attempts in the Changing Room!
by Anne Stevenson
Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Die Muhle Brennt--Richard
by Richard Matthews
Hagar in the Wilderness
by Tyehimba Jess
In a Blue Wood
by Richard Levine
Incomplete Lioness
by Linda Bierds
Joseph Cornell, with Box
by Michael Dumanis
Landscape With The Fall of Icarus
by William Carlos Williams
M. Degas Teaches Art & Science at Durfee Intermediate School, Detroit 1942
by Philip Levine
Mural with HUD Housing & School Bus (1980)
by Adrian Matejka
Museum Guard
by David Hernandez
Ode on a Grecian Urn
by John Keats
On Seeing the Elgin Marbles
by John Keats
On the Medusa of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Photograph of People Dancing in France
by Leslie Adrienne Miller
Seeing All the Vermeers
by Alfred Corn
Stealing The Scream
by Monica Youn
The Abolition of Reality [Georges Seurat]
by Adriano Spatola
The Family Photograph
by Vona Groarke
The Mad Potter
by John Hollander
The Man with the Hoe
by Edwin Markham
The Painting
by John Balaban
The Picture of Little T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers
by Andrew Marvell
The Shield of Achilles
by W. H. Auden
To Haydon with a Sonnet Written on Seeing the Elgin Marbles
by John Keats
War Photograph
by Kate Daniels
Why knowing is (& Matisse's Woman with a Hat)
by Martha Ronk
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On Seeing Larry Rivers' Washington Crossing the Delaware at the Museum of Modern Art

 
by Frank O'Hara

Now that our hero has come back to us
in his white pants and we know his nose
trembling like a flag under fire,
we see the calm cold river is supporting
our forces, the beautiful history.

To be more revolutionary than a nun
is our desire, to be secular and intimate
as, when sighting a redcoat, you smile
and pull the trigger. Anxieties
and animosities, flaming and feeding

on theoretical considerations and
the jealous spiritualities of the abstract
the robot? they're smoke, billows above
the physical event. They have burned up.
See how free we are! as a nation of persons.

Dear father of our country, so alive
you must have lied incessantly to be
immediate, here are your bones crossed
on my breast like a rusty flintlock,
a pirate's flag, bravely specific

and ever so light in the misty glare
of a crossing by water in winter to a shore
other than that the bridge reaches for.
Don't shoot until, the white of freedom glinting
on your gun barrel, you see the general fear.






From Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O'Hara. Copyright © 1957 by Frank O'Hara. Used by permission of Grove Press. All rights reserved.
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