With apologies to Langston Hughes
Happy Birthday, America. I’m celebrating
your being another year older, thinking about
everyone who is you, who has been you, who
is going to be you. With a cane for those
proud moments when you still rise up,
you can enfold your many selves in those
strong, old arms—or with that rod of iron
spread hate, that lick of un-humanity. Will you
choose the colors in the sky tonight?
Will you welcome all comers, all the many
children of America? I can only hope that—
even now, eyes gone pale—you will
remember that you are America.
This poem sprang from a re-reading this morning of Langston Hughes’ “I, Too.” If you don’t know it, give it a read. For those who do know it, check it out again, if you haven’t in a while. America the Beautiful is many things, many people. Look around for a minute and you’ll see her looking back at you.
Happy Independence Day.