None of my detailed historic posts about today, family tradition musings, or sharing the text by Long Tom and the boys. Most of you have seen those anyway. I was asked to come up with a chalice lighting for today’s worship service of the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation zoom service, Fresh Eggs or Sanctuary led by our interim minister Rev. Jenn Gracen. It is also, of course Independence Day and the poem I came up with is inspired by that and our conflicted feelings over the Founders, Declaration of Independence, White privilege, and patriotic symbolism.
The prompt for the poem was taken from a 1924 cover of the Saturday Evening Post by artist J.C. Leyendecker.
If you would like to drop in for the Tree of Life service, Use this link to join us on Zoom. Meeting ID: 847 0286 6562 Passcode: 929464 at 10:45 am. The service will also be posted on the Tree of Life web page on Tuesday, July 6.
Wake Up Uncle Sam!
Independence Day 2021
As an allegorical figure you have seen better days,
heroic posters, Saturday Evening Post covers,
Jimmy Cagney dancing stiff legged,
even stilt walkers in Main Street Parades.
But as a shrewd Yankee trader ready to sell some
cure-all elixir at inflated prices,
at least you were truer to the spirit of America
than some goddess Columbia in a Liberty Cap
or crowned Lady in a Harbor offering
conditional welcome to swarthy and pitiful refugees.
Like the Flag that bedazzles your swallow tail suit,
high top hat, and pantaloons you have become
an empty symbol of chest-thumping jingoism
devoid of the promises of that Declaration
we are supposed to celebrate today
or any of the ringing rhetoric
that promised us something different
and finer, more noble and widely embracing.
We never quite lived up to all that hokum and hurrah
no matter what a show we made of that banner
and frankly of you.
No wonder you needed a nap.
but that M-80 lit under your tilted chair
should wake you up at last.
The enemies of Liberty are afoot.
It is time to wake up defend
those old promises,
snake oil though they might have been.