July 4th, 2016

After the dawn’s early light,

but before the fireworks start,

the flags drape gracefully,

ruffled, but not unfurled,

by the soft, warm breeze

in a morning moment of peace,

the persistent joy of birdsong

from the neighboring treetops

drowning out the violent murmur

of the television news oozing out

from inside around the badly

hung storm door, as I sit

on the porch with my cats,

like humans, killing machines

also capable of affection,

pondering the privileges

of living in a great country

whose greatest weakness

might be its obsession

with its own greatness,

its constant need to control,

to exemplify, its difficulty

sometimes in recognizing

its own problems, and

undeniably it has erred—

we can all name the times

and places—and yet it

has received and nourished,

saved and welcomed,

drawn strength even

from those it has denigrated,

and in all but the darkest times

allowed the dissenters to speak.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper








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