Did Vinnay (NO LINK. LINKS ARE FOR BLOGGERS.) flake on poetry Wednesday AGAIN? Yes. Yes he did. Does this mean an additional course on the three course meal I have already demanded? Yes. Yes it does.
So, we’re doing another one of our last minute posts, but this one has sorta been in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks, so it shouldn’t be as scattershot as the last one of these I pulled together. Thank sweet baby Jesus for that.
A couple of weeks ago, I set out on a pseudo roadtrip with Mary to see “The Heartland.” Or what Sarah Palin so sweetly called “real America.” I know she got a lot of flack for it at the time, but I get where she’s coming from. I live in New York and I always call Eastern Standard Time “American time.” I also call New York, America. As in, after my trip to LA, “whew it’s good to be back in America again.” America is where your home is, I suppose.
However, I can appreciate that America isn’t just my corner of the world. No matter how spectacular a corner it is. So, about 8 years ago, after international backlash against President Bush’s 9/11 response turned much of the world against the U.S., I decided nuts to the rest of the world, I would see my country. Well, THE country. And one state at a time, I started my quest. I saw Texas and Montana and Minnesota and Oklahoma and UTAH! Yes, UTAH!
Then I lost my job, became poor and settled for seeing Atlantic City a bunch of extra times, but I still had 20 states that I needed to get back to.
I have been steadily employed for the first time in a long time, so, on a whim inspired by Grange’s birthday offer, I took off for a whirlwind 8 states in 9 days adventure.
I just got back and am still very tired, but I’ll be writing up the trip in greater detail soon. But for now I will simply say, America is a beautiful country. Except for one angry woman working at the fudge counter in Wall-drug and a dirty pool cop in Wyoming, I remain in awe of the kindness and warmth of the people I met. Our national treasures and parks are safeguarded by passionate and knowledgeable gatekeepers. I know “I’m going to Des Moines,” doesn’t sound quite as sexy as “Paris for the weekend,” but I highly recommend giving it a go.
Have dinner at Jethro’s, you won’t regret it. Bring your own corn though.
Thus today’s poem choice was easy (and I assure you, I am NOT cheating by posting music lyrics as poetry) and it should be a familiar one. Well, at least the first stanza, anyone who knows the rest of the poem will be reported to Homeland Security IMMEDIATELY! Dirty spy.
Defence of Fort McHenry (The Stars and Stripes Forever) by Francis Scott Key
1 O! say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
2 What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
3 Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
4 O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming?
5 And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
6 Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there —
7 O! say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
8 O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
9 On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
10 Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
11 What is that which the breeze o’er the towering steep,
12 As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
13 Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
14 In full glory reflected now shines on the stream —
15 ‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
16 O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
17 And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
18 That the havock of war and the battle’s confusion
19 A home and a country should leave us no more?
20 Their blood has wash’d out their foul foot-steps’ pollution,
21 No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
22 From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave;
23 And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
24 O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
25 O! thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
26 Between their lov’d home, and the war’s desolation,
27 Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
28 Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
29 Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
30 And this be our motto — “In God is our trust!”
31 And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
32 O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.