The Fourth of July
by Jared Gullage

    Sulfuric smoke rises now
    From Black Cats and sparklers,
    Instead of the dragon-maws
    Of the roaring black cannons.
    The charred flesh smell rising
    Now prevalent among the neighbors,
    Is a barbecue roasting ribs,
    Instead of people who fall dead
    Lying on broken bayonets
    And forgotten dreams of home.
    The cries of war come not now
    From great generals and officers,
    But from children in the yard
    Pretending to be British or Yank,
    Or another glorious part of history.
    The marching songs of old
    Arise once more to fill the mouths,
    Of father and mother patriot
    Gathered around a table of food,
    And not around a campfire
    In the cold chill of Delaware morn.
    The blessings and prayers
    Come as gratitude for the past,
    Instead of the plea with God
    That a soldier makes for the future.

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