4th July, 2016 – Reflections

I have had my Independence Day lunch – bourbon coated ribs and hash browns and corn on the cob – and tonight I will sustain the culinary focus with a meat a la hot dog/wiener pizza: the lighter layer [excuse health paradox] of celebrating my American roots.

My deeper and more meaningful thoughts as ever on this day are of my family still living in the States. This is my thanks and celebration on this day, an emotional patriotism that has little to do with nationalism and similar.

My postings about my Grandpa Carlson on this blog will have relayed further deeper feelings about my past and growing up in America. Elsewhere I will have reflected on what it means to be an American living in England, not least my most recent poem Immigrant Irony, this latter reflection prompted by the life I have had and continue with in England – Suffolk, Oxford, Devon – over the last 48 years. The political observations regarding the past few days post-referendum further indicate thoughts closer to this home.

I found today – so new to me – and earlier posted on my Facebook page this Walt Whitman quote which seems apt to present again, expressing so beautifully ‘American’ thoughts and feelings with which I and millions of other Americans [who won’t vote for Trump!] can wholeheartedly identify:

This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

Preface to Leaves of Grass

1 thought on “4th July, 2016 – Reflections

  1. Thanks for posting this quote. It’s lovely and timeless. Very relevant and meaningful.

    Glad you enjoyed your celebration. It’s exactly what I had pictured you doing!

    Like

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