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


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)