Michael J Shay

A page to explore the words of the Poet


Something is amiss. We are

Free as any Independence Day,

The sun is hot, beaches filled,

The grills are aflame this afternoon

Later the fireworks will begin,

Driving the dog under the table,

Howling low like this once a year,

As tribute to freedom.

But the masks, the suspicious 

Eyes as we picked up the

Crabs and clams, my mother and 

Father in their apartment separated 

From us because of a looming

Doctor’s appointment next week,

The loud highway, the silence of

The pool outback, all give a 

Eerie charm to contemplate what

Freedom is and was and what 

Started a nation based on its 

Principles, when even the least

Most privileged to our nation felt 

Infringed this spring. But I will

Celebrate here with words that 

Race across the screen saying 

I don’t want this nation ever to

Stop believing it is free even when

We collapse to reality and resentment,

Falling asleep to un-sure  tomorrows.

As long as voice of protest sounds,

As long as we shift our weight when

The flag recalls how heavy freedom is 

To protect and caress and share 

And sing together on this stage 

A thousand grateful nods to what

Could easily be taken away;

We are free, as any Independence Day.

Daily Growth

Writing Experience:

How is Independence Day different this year? What are your thoughts on Hamilton the play being shown on Disney? What freedom can you not live without? Write your ideas on freedom and how America can achieve the principles it once set out for itself?

Poem of the Day – “Frederick Douglas” by Robert Hayden

Word of the Day – Manumit

What I am Reading – The Little Paris Bookshop

What I am Listening to – Little Women

“For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?

Frederick Douglass

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”


About Author

I am a poet, father, writer, teacher who lives in the Philadelphia area. I have taught high school English for over 20 years and believe that the practice of writing and reading each day makes us better humans and thinkers.

Get In Touch

  • michaeljshay@gmail.com

Please send any feedback or comments to the email address above.

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