Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day 2007

July 4, 2007. Independence Day. This summer, I devote a significant portion of my days to expediting the defecation of two large canines—our son’s dogs, entrusted to our care for the summer while he does an internship at an Indianapolis law firm. But the multiple walks each day are not wasted, thanks to my iPod. Today I caught up on a week’s worth of podcasts of Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. I learned that Helen Keller, prone to temper tantrums, knocked out a tooth of Annie Sullivan at their first meeting. Things improved from there. I also learned that Ernest Hemingway was in two plane clashes in Africa and suffered a skull fracture and concussion. The implication was that his depression and suicide were linked to the head trauma, which may or may not be true. He was asked to write a tribute to JFK for Kennedy’s inauguration. It took Papa a week to come up with four sentences.

Finally, I heard on the Writer’s Almanac for today a poem entitled “Pastoral” by physician-author-poet William Carlos Williams:

When I was younger
it was plain to me
I must make something of myself.
Older now
I walk back streets
admiring the houses
of the very poor:
roof out of line with sides
the yards cluttered
with old chicken wire, ashes,
furniture gone wrong;
the fences and outhouses
built of barrel staves
and parts of boxes, all,
if I am fortunate,
smeared a bluish green
that properly weathered
pleases me best of all colors.

No one
will believe this
of vast import to the nation.

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