Jack Hernandez, longtime Bakersfield College professor and acting director of the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities, has agreed to share with our readers a poem he wrote that was first published in 1980. We felt the poem was appropriate for our Independence Day paper.

'Jastro Park'

A place not suitable for a Greek tragedy

Exactly, despite Doric Columns

Rising behind the Bakersfield Municipal

Concert Band Musicians in black

And white, courtesy of local

263, the City Council, cool

California night, rouged blue

Sky and wind fanned palm

Trees in Beale Park on

Oleander watched over by

Turn of the century homes

Witnesses to eighty fourth of July

Concerts to America, its people

Sitting in the Amphitheatre on

Rainbow webbed lawn chairs

Sipping wine and drinking

Beer and Dr. Pepper, kids

Dancing in swim suits, young

Couples twining tanned arms

Old men with fuzzed heads

And freckled legs discussing

The size of mosquitoes in Michigan

Relieved that there are none

Here while the Band plays

(After the Star Spangled Banner)

Sousa, Cohen, Gershwin, gathering

Into this place, this moment, all

Summers, dreams, flags, sparklers

Ice cream cones, generations

For a still life of America, still.