4 July 2006

Independence Day

I listen to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac most mornings after I’ve gotten up, walked the dog, and made some coffee.

Today’s poem was the last stanza of what we know as “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Read it carefully, for it’s not as martial as you may remember, and it may even be an indictment of certain tendencies in American life.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!

Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And, in a funny note, Keillor points out the following:

On this day in 1931, James Joyce married Nora Barnacle at the Kensington Registry Office in London. They had been living together for twenty-six years. She once complained about Joyce’s late hours, “I can’t sleep anymore … I go to bed and then that man sits in the next room and continues laughing about his own writing. And then I knock at the door, and I say, now Jim, stop writing or stop laughing!”

On a completely different note, we’re fascinated by Portuguese Man O’ Wars this morning, because there have been a number in Massachusetts Bay of late. Did you know that they’re actually not jellyfish? They’re actually made of four animals living in symbiosis.

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