Another holiday, another holiday post. Just doing my part, people.
Since it’s the 4th of July, you’d think the “Star Spangled Banner” would be annoyingly repeating itself in my brain, assuming one must have a bit of a song annoyingly repeating itself in one’s brain at all times. If my grey matter is anything to go by, that assumption would be correct.
It’s not the “Star Spangled Banner” which has been torturing me the past couple of days, however. It is “America,” also known as “My Country Tis of Thee.” You know the one; it’s got the same tune as the Brit national anthem, “God Save the Queen” (or King, as the case may be).
I have found this song to be extraordinarily bothersome as a stuck-in-a-brain-loop song. Okay, it’s not as maddening as say any 70s song with the word “boogie” in the title. It’s a close second though. And I should at minimum be grateful the stuck-song-du-jour isn’t something like, “Red, White and Blue Boogie Woogie Shoes.” Still, gratitude seems to be escaping me at the moment.
To break the song loop, I have found it sometimes helps to look up the complete lyrics to the song and study them. My theory as to why this works: my brain has locked onto some bit of a particular song and repeats it endlessly in an attempt to decipher what the rest of that song may be (which helps to explain, also, why commercial jingles are regular offenders, what with not having a “rest” to them at all). I have no proof whatsoever that my theory is correct. But I’m a desperate woman when faced with endless days of the chorus to “Achy Breaky Heart.” I’ll take what I can get.
So, in an attempt to banish “America” from my patriotically looped brain, here are the lyrics:
My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our father’s God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.
According to Wikipedia, Samuel Smith wrote these lyrics in about 30 minutes (which is just a smidge over one minute spent on each line of verse). Looking at the above, I’d say that shouldn’t come as any big surprise.
Verse number one
Yeah, this is the one I knew and have been repeating. It’s all pretty self-evident. Smith seemed to have a thing for mountains, though if I were to write of freedom ringing from anything, I’d probably choose a church tower, or something else relatively tall that has a bell in it, so that the ringing might actually be possible.
Verse number two
What’s a rill? Had to look that up. It’s a stream. So, land of rocks and streams. I’ve gotta admit, I like me a rocky stream. And I like woods and hills (though I have no desire whatsoever to go hiking through them, not that Smith suggests this — I’m just saying).
Much as I like rocks, streams, woods and hills, I can’t really claim my heart has thrilled with rapture over them. Through no fault of my own, I naturally reserve rapture for things like triple chocolate cake, air conditioning on a hot day, and my big old Temp-ur-pedic mattress.
As for that nonsensical last line of verse, I’m not going to bother trying to figure out what Smith meant by it. He was clearly stuck to find a rhyme for “love” and simply did what he had to do, what with his tea getting cold and all, and him needing to move things along.
Verse number three
Now it’s music which is ringing, and from the trees no less. I assume, going by the last two lines, that the wind and trees and people will maintain the song of liberty as long as possible, then the rocks will take over and carry on until they, too, have lost their pebbly breath.
I presume, at this point in time, the wind will begin the cycle anew, so as to never let the song of liberty die out, but Smith isn’t clear on this point. He probably would have explained it, but the cucumber sandwiches on the tea tray were looking tasty, and the bread was getting stale.
I am, unfortunately, going to have to mention that the lakes, rivers, oceans and other bodies of water have not joined in singing the song of liberty, perhaps abstaining for personal reasons. Or maybe water is fascist. That’s probably it. The animals and insects aren’t singing, either, and we all know what giant fascists they are.
Verse number four
You had to know this was going to happen. At some point or another, God would have to be rolled out to verify the greatness of liberty. And that freedom is holy. And that God protects us.
Okey-dokey. I’ve got to say that if I believed in a god or gods, I would certainly want them on my side, and hope that he/she/they liked my country. And yet … suddenly claiming that we (the wind, the trees, the people and the rocks) are singing sweet freedom’s song to God. Hmm. I don’t know.
Gods like songs to be about them, not other stuff. I’m pretty sure that the Christian eternity consists of singing God’s praises forever. I’m not so sure that He’d like the folks planet-side to wander around singing about freedom to Him, rather than about Him, Himself and He. You really don’t want to piss off deities, so Smith might have been well-served to rethink this last line. But then what do I know? I’m no god.
Phew! All done. Time for tea! Hoorah!
Back to the point
It took me longer to discuss the song than it did for Smith to write it. But that’s not the point. The point is — has the damnable song now slipped the tracks of my brain loop? Let me see … wait for it … you know it’s coming … no … maybe … yes … oh sweet blessed relief. It is gone. Wait … what is that … no … I said no, dammit … hellfire and damnation … don’t give me … ohhh noooo … it’s morphed into …
My life sucks.
Hope you all dance with the boogie get down, on this 4th of July, cause boogie nights are always the best in town.