Fourth of July: A Poem for America

by | Original Poetry, The Poetry Deck | 0 comments

On the Fourth of July
we went for a walk
to escape the endless silence
of quarantine

Some kids were burning
flags in the park
and shooting fireworks
close to the trees.

We broke it up. It
felt like the right thing to do.

We started to walk home.
We passed a mural
that was slowly being erased,
washed away and painted over. 
And the paint was spilling
between the cracks in the sidewalk,
drowning the ants
and the little beetles.

“Are you a patriot?”
you asked me
when we were near to home.

I blinked. I was ashamed to admit
I didn’t know what you meant.
What was a patriot? Someone
who defended? Someone
who upheld? Someone
who pretended? Someone
who rebelled?

Once upon a time,
as a little child,
I had understood and
seen patriotism in the tales
of Minutemen and Robin Hood.
Now, I found, as we went along
an American road
in an American town
passing American faces
and American lawns,
I no longer knew. 

 

an American flag representing the Fourth of July
fireworks for the Fourth of July

Poet’s Notes

This poem was inspired by the “very short poem” I wrote for #vss365 on Twitter today, based around the word “patriot.” I thought it fitting to write a poem about the way the meaning of “patriotism” has changed over the centuries. 

If you like the message behind this poem, you might want to read my poem and reflection “Praise for the Brave.”

Please tell me in the comments what you thought about “Fourth of July”!

tree next to a lake

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