September 14, 1814 Poetry History – Francis Scott Key pens “The Star-Spangled Banner”

On the poetic origin of the National Anthem of the United States

Originally titled “The “Defence of Fort M’Henry”, Francis Key’s poem was printed in newspapers and eventually set to the music of a popular English drinking tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven”—aka “The Anacreontic Song“—by composer John Stafford Smith.

Anacreon was a Greek lyrical poet notable for drinking songs and erotic poems. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of Nine Lyric Poets.

Anacreontic poetry is described as poems “in the manner of Anacreon”, i.e. lyrical drinking songs, frivolity. While Key’s poem is a contrafactum and not itself anacreontic, the setting in which his poem was set to music was certainly a den of drink and roused excitement.

After one of Key’s friends, Dr. William Beanes, was taken prisoner by the British, Key went to Baltimore, located the ship where Beanes was being held and negotiated his release. However, Key and Beanes weren’t allowed to leave until after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. Key watched the bombing campaign unfold from aboard a ship located about eight miles away. After a day, the British were unable to destroy the fort and gave up. Key was relieved to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry and quickly penned a few lines in tribute to what he had witnessed.

This Day in History – What Happened Today – HISTORY

This Day in History – What Happened Today – HISTORY

Featured photo of historic poem written by Francis Scott Keyes via
This Day in History.

Happy Birthday, Employee

Can you believe a man had to go to court
over his own birthday—whether or not he would celebrate

at work, where he’d already said, “No, thank you”
and offered explanation.

Not that he should need to give, or be pressed for, information
Personal, no less! But some won’t accept polite declination

Weighing his options, with composure he says
“I’m shy, the stress of it all, and I just don’t like the focus”.

So they press and cause a scene which of course, at work
permanently, unnecessarily taints his image—for his birthday … beyond

The moment won’t pass. He has a panic attack, which, at work
ruins their outlook; they fire him, basically and in effect, for his birthday.

Found Image Share:

Photo by Maria Orlova on

Seasonal Sounds

Crickets nightly shrill;

hide themselves within earshot  

August abates them

Hear them yet again

eggs lain, grown nymphs sing anew

tickle ears in spring

While the unexpected, unpleasant chirps of a house-cricket startle and irritate, their outside presence creates a large part of the lovely sounds of evening.