FOURTH OF JULY

My annual Independence Day poem for new friends & followers:

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)