Good-night – Carl Sandburg (1920)
MANY ways to spell good night.
Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.
They fizz in the air, touch the water and quit.
Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue and then go out.
Railroad trains at night spell with a smokestack mushrooming a white pillar.
Steamboats turn a curve in the Mississippi crying in a baritone that crosses lowland cottonfields to a razorback hill.
It is easy to spell good night.
Many ways to spell good night.
A Toast to the First and the Fourth of July
for David Van Every (1757-1820)
©July 2009 – John Newmark
For two years my fourth great fought
for the creation of our nation
then in seventeen seventy seven
he deemed his disloyalty a disservice
and joined the other side.
Finally, he and his family fled to Canada.
His motivations are unrecorded.
Beyond his appearance on muster rolls,
a few brief mentions elsewhere,
we have nothing. No inkling
of the wherefores behind his decision
either in seventy five, or seventy seven.
In July’s opening barrage
of national celebrations
I honor both of his decisions -
whatever the reasons, and his willingness
to fight for what he believed
even when those beliefs changed.