Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July

Happy fourth of July! I was supposed to lead our kazoo band in the local fourth of July parade, but it got postponed until tomorrow. (!) Because of rain, the municipal office recording said, although it's NOT RAINING right now, and we've marched in downpours in previous years.

Don't ask me why anyone would come to a parade on the fifth of July; I don't know. I also don't know why, in Ohio, fireworks displays are sometimes held on the third of July. What are these people celebrating?

Here is a villanelle to make us think about liberty and the pursuit of happiness:

After the Terror, by Jay Parini (2003)

Everything has changed, though nothing has.
They've changed the locks on almost every door,
and windows have been bolted just in case:

It's business as usual, someone says.
Is anybody left to mind the store?
Everything has changed, though nothing has.

The same old buildings huddle in the haze,
with faces at the windows, floor by floor,
the windows they have bolted just in case.

No cause for panic, they maintain, because
the streets to places they have been before.
Everything has changed, though nothing has.

We're still a country that is ruled by laws.
The system's working, and it's quite a bore
that windows have been bolted just in case.

Believe in victory and all that jazz.
Believe we're better off, that less is more.
Everything has changed, though nothing has.
The windows have been bolted just in case.

One thing I love about this poem is its use of the word "believe." As far as I'm concerned, we need a lot less belief in this country, and a lot more individual responsibility for verification of what we're told.

Also I think everyone in my locality should write a letter to the mayor and tell him that making the fourth a "moveable feast" dilutes the significance of the holiday. And now I have to go put up the flag, since it's stopped raining.


Alison said...

Although I tend to be a "celebrate the holiday on the holiday" person, I actually kind of get the idea of fireworks on the third. It's less an issue this year than most, but it gives you a virtual guarantee that nobody (save for farmers) will need to get up for work early the next morning.

Now what I *don't* get is how the 1812 Overture became the default musical accompaniment for all fireworks displays. "Woohoo - Russia kicked Napoleon's butt! Happy US Independence Day!"

lemming said...

I wonder if the mayor would have been as quick to move the parade back a day had the 5th not been a Saturday when, presumably, most folks have the day off - ?

Al - I hear you! Are the canons written in as part of the score? I should remember this, but I can't. Where's a musicologist when you need one?