FOURTH OF JULY

 

My annual Independence Day poem:

 

Growing up in Philadelphia

Home of the Declaration of Independence

And that wildly independent founding father Franklin

I pondered the meaning of Independence

At a very young age

Countries become independent from their oppressors

But people can become independent too

And that was what I tried to do

I became self-sufficient

Didn’t hurt to read Thoreau at age sixteen

Yet, of all the words he produced for us eager hippies

I fastened on what may be his saddest quote:

“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude”

Countries really cannot live in solitude

As we see by the history of United States wars

So much for the Monroe Doctrine

***

Well, here I am, meandering between

The idea of an independent country

And an independent person

Does anyone dread

What’s waiting ahead?

Our presidential election

Lying and promises

Slur-slinging and anger

Tossed between the candidates

And we, the voters, surrounded by

The circle of hate

Like children in a game of dodge ball

Will we unfriend our friends on social media sites?

Click out of their opposing posts of rhetoric?

***

I was taught to not talk about

Politics, religion or money

With any but family and close friends

Being an independent woman, however,

I couldn’t stay away from activism:

Feminism, racism

All in the name of peace and love

“In order to form a more perfect Union”

As the Preamble to the Constitution states and,

“Dedicated to the Proposition that

All men (and women!) are created equal”

Thanks to Lincoln

While I asked what I could do for my country

In answer to JFK’s challenge

***

Independence

So important

Yet, so easy to independent ourselves

Out of friendship and love…

 

© 2015 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

 

IMAGE: View of the head of the Statue of Liberty, designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, on display on the Champ de Mars, Paris, France, 1878. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

 

 

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