The Fourth Of July


  “O Beautiful for Spacious skies:”

Our star-spangled sky awaits the launch of the surprise party.

Batteries of anxious fireworks keep cover in the bushes,

“Happy Birthday!” forever moments away.


 The guests of honor arrive blanketed with family.

Squares of earth are filled with tonight’s squatters.

“Look!”  The party now begins:

A single whistling flare finds its way up to center stage –



Now, other party favors come out of hiding:

Reverberation Red

Whistling White

Brandishing Blue

Go-for-it Green

Poised Purple

Startling Silver

Yackety Yellow

Gracious Gold

Outspoken Orange


A jetting candle begins with a swoosh,


a hunting, hinting sizzle scorches a path upward


A silence pauses mid air


a whispered cork pop releases



A sudden burst of Spectacular etches America’s book cover.

The book:

The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave.


 The birthday party continues on the ground:

– Sparklers arcing on sticks, light splashing onto large-eyed looks

– Smoke bombs cloaking crowds in fogs

– Snakes coiling out of their black dot cages

– Rockets shooting straight up to find freedom

– Fountains erupting impulsively

 – M80s breaking the drums of ears.


Heaven gazing figures are photographed,

Secretly captured by a popping flash bulb sky.

Gun powder sulphers the air,

Ashes rain down speckling faces.


Today, there has been preparation for the birthday party:

Parades lined the streets,

Marching bands bugled and drummed The Stars and Stripes,

Pies, apple and blueberry, were swallowed à la mode,

Picnics popped up in parks,

Punch tie-dyed white tee shirts,

Potato sack races tripped up with laughter,

Horseshoes were flung at neighbors.


Flags are bowed forward on porches,

Flags wave fields of stars,

Flags march stately with fields unfurled,

Flags receive honor when are hats are removed, when salutes are rendered,

Rendered by men and women who secured their honor with life and limb.

Grandparents, smiling their tearful approval from lawn chairs,

Stretch out tired legs and stand for Old Glory.


America, you are beautiful,

From sea to shining sea beautiful.

Tonight we see your birthday smile,

Your ear-to-ear you grin, revealing to us your dazzling braces:

“Liberty under God and the law”.

Each year we return to your birthday party with fused smiles and arsenals of hope

Seeking sparks of optimism to ignite our dreams and shoot them skyward.

With wide-eyed wonder we stare into your “Spacious Skies”

Wishing you many more.


© Sally Paradise, 2010, All Rights Reserved

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