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July 2019

    On the Fourth of July

    Today has been a busy day in history, and not just for the reason you assume. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on this day in 1804. Walt Whitman first published Leaves of Grass today in 1855, challenging and changing the face of poetry forever – the “poet of democracy.”

    Lou Gehrig retired 80 years ago today, one of the early heroes of America’s pastime. His 278 words of goodbye survive in our collective memory as defining the spirit of American work ethic, although we are more likely to imagine the image of Gary Cooper than Gehrig in our minds.

    In 1845 Henry David Thoreau moved into his shack on Walden Pond, where his personal introspection found a distinctly American voice that still instills reflection today.

    In that spirit of reflection, and not in any way to detract from our rightfull celebrations of today, here is a poem to consider.

    Fourth of July

    Dripping flags 

    sag limply 

    in the downpour

    Fireworks sputter 

    and drown

    in the sea

    of indifference

    that dampens

    this day when

     we celebrate

    the invention of

    Coca-Cola hot dogs

    and auto racing

    the day the sky 

    chose to rain 

    on our parade

    Perhaps only 

    this poem remembers 

    the meaning

    and the precious

    sacrifice spent 

    for the freedom

    for too many

    to forget

The Last Word

After all is said and done, more is said than done.

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