The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for July 4th, Case Histories, Civil War

Fourth of July at Santa Ynez
By John Haines

Under the makeshift arbor of leaves
a hot wind blowing smoke and laughter.
Music out of the renegade west,
too harsh and loud, many dark faces
moved among the sweating whites.

Wandering apart from the others,
I found an old Indian seated alone
on a bench in the flickering shade.

He was holding a dented bucket;
three crayfish, lifting themselves
from the muddy water, stirred
and scraped against the greasy metal.

The old man stared from his wrinkled
darkness across the celebration,
unblinking, as one might see
in the hooded sleep of turtles.

A smile out of the ages of gold
and carbon flashed upon his face
and vanished, called away
by the sound and the glare around him,
by the lost voice of a child
piercing that thronged solitude.

The afternoon gathered distance
and depth, divided in the shadows
that broke and moved upon us . . .

Slowly, too slowly, as if returned
from a long and difficult journey,
the old man lifted his bucket
and walked away into the sunlit crowd.


My Third of July was about chores, and it rained all morning which meant I wasn't overly tempted to go out anywhere anyway. So I have nothing of interest to report! Our plan for the Fourth of July is to take Adam early to run in a 5k to raise money for autism research, then later, if it's neither too hot nor raining and we all feel up to it, to go to Mount Vernon, which is having reenactors and early fireworks plus some other events.

I did get to walk between rain showers though only three bunnies were out. After dinner we watched the final episode of this season of Case Histories (does anyone know if there will be another one? Man, there better be), then tonight's Futurama which mocked folk music and thus had us rolling. Here are some more photos from Rockville's Civil War reenactments, in honor of the people in Gettysburg who've been doing the same:


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