Amber waves of grain on a clear, American day.

"Amber waves of grain" is a lyric from the patriotic American song, "America the Beautiful." But what are "amber waves of grain" and what do that phrase mean? In this article we will discover the answer to both of these questions.

What are "amber waves of grain"?

"Amber waves of grain" is the second lyric in the song "America the Beautiful." The lyric is a phrase meant to describe the fields in the plains that grow wheat. When the grain is grown, it is a golden color. This lyric describes field after field of grown golden-colored wheat across the American plains.

More about “amber waves of grain” and American farms

According to The Today Show, wheat is grown on an average of 9 million acres in America each year. Wheat is in pasta, cereal, cakes, root beer, even Twizzlers. Other crops commonly found grown in the plains are corn and soybeans. Data from the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture confirmed that the average farm in America covers 418 acres. Today, the number of farms have decreased while the number of people a farmer grows food for have increased.

About America the Beautiful

The song was written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 after a visit to Pikes Peak, Col. The poem was published in The Congregationalist on July 4, 1985, and was revised in 1904 and 1913. It is set to "Materna" by Samual A Ward, composed in 1882. Bate's poem was set to Ward's music in 1910 and officially titled “America the Beautiful.”

What does the rest of the verse mean?

The verse reads "O' beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties, above thy fruited plain." "O'beautiful for spacious skies" describes a wide, open, blue sky. "Purple mountain majesties" is reference to the mountains in America that look purple. "Above thy fruited plain" means the mountains stand above the plains, which are “fruited” or grown and are ready for harvest.