Happy Fourth of July

I love fireworks. There’s something so joyful and powerful about them. And the colors and chemistry give them an alchemical shimmer. (Except that they mostly work, so it’s science and engineering…)

I’m hopeless at taking photos of them (so I’m borrowing an image). That’s okay, they’re something I’d rather sit back and admire and not worry about trying to catch.

Haven’t gotten to see any yet this year, hopefully I will this weekend. Till then, here are some verbal fireworks for you. 


The Rockets That Reached Saturn

Vachel Lindsay

On the Fourth Of July sky rockets went up

Over the church and the trees and the town,

Stripes and stars, riding red cars.

Each rocket wore a red-white-and-blue gown,

And I did not see one rocket come down.


Next day on the hill I found dead sticks,

Scorched like blown-out candle-wicks.


But where are the rockets? Up in the sky.

As for the sticks, let them lie.

Dead sticks are not the Fourth of July.


In Saturn they grow like wonderful weeds,

In some ways like weeds of ours,

Twisted and beautiful, straight and awry,

But nodding all day to the heavenly powers.

The stalks are smoke,

And the blossoms green light,

And crystalline fireworks flowers.


Good Night

Carl Sandburg


Many ways to say good night.

Fireworks at a pier on the Fourth of July

            spell it with red wheels and yellow spokes.

They fizz in the air, touch the water and quit.

Rockets make a trajectory of gold-and-blue

            and then go out.

Railroad trains at night spell with a smokestack mushrooming a white pillar.

Steamboats turn a curve in the Mississippi crying a baritone that crosses lowland

cottonfields to razorback hill.

It is easy to spell good night.

            Many ways to spell good night.


If you’re in the mood for more, you can find some fun kid’s poems about fireworks too. There’s an acrostic by Elaine Magliaro and and enthusiastic one by Gareth Lancaster.


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