Dependence Day

It would be a quieter holiday, no fireworks or loud
parades, no speeches, no salutes to any flag,
a day of staying home instead of crowding away,
a day we celebrate nothing gained in war
but what we’re given — how the sun’s warmth
is democratic, touching everyone,
and the rain is democratic too,
how the strongest branches in the wind
give themselves as they resist, resist
and give themselves, how birds could have no freedom
without the planet’s weight to wing against,
how Earth itself could come to be
only when a whirling cloud of dust
pledged allegiance as a world,
circling dependently around a star, and the star
blossomed into fire from the ash of other stars,
and once, at the dark zero of our time,
a blaze of revolutionary light
exploded out of nowhere, out of nothing,
because nothing needed the light,
as the brilliance of the light itself needs nothing.

WorshipWeb is grateful to Mr. Daniel for granting permission to publish this poem, which appears in his book Of Earth: New and Selected Poems, published by Lost Horse Press.

About the Author

John Daniel

John Daniel is the author of ten books of essays, memoir, poetry, and fiction who makes his living as a writer and itinerant teacher in workshops and writer-in-residence positions around the country. John's maternal grandfather, Oscar B. Hawes, was a Unitarian minister ordained in 1897; John's...

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