It Takes A Village

Members of the Gambier community gathered to observe the Fourth of July.


Photos by Ayman Wadud '25

Each year, Gambier gathers on the Fourth of July to commemorate the holiday with a parade and other festivities. Speakers reflected on the importance of local community in times of national turmoil.  “America is here in these streets, in our homes, our neighborhoods, wherever we gather and come together to take care of each other,” said Mayor of Gambier Leeman Kessler ’04, in an address to the gathered community members. “We the people are America and we have the strength and obligation to make her promises real.”

Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies Royal Rhodes, Poet Laureate of Gambier, shared a poem commemorating the uniquely special nature of village life, titled “It Takes A Village.” Read on for the full poem!


It takes a Village to make a Village, we hear --

so give our own community a cheer!


Those who sweat in cubicles, the city

grid of traffic -- they evoke our pity.

Around us fields of corn stalks rise and grow,

with soy and squash from seeds our farmers sow.


Music swells within the Quarry Chapel

and echoes to that Valley we call "Apple",

while Amish quilt and drive their crafted carriages,

the College chapel spills out summer marriages.


Youngsters whom we know and get to know

come here to swim and play and learn and grow.

The newbies join with published Kenyon writers --

John Green fans, the awesome bold Nerd Fighters.


A host of pedal-spinning bicycles

avoid a flying wedge of tricycles.

From trucks and fire engines candy

fills the air -- a sight that's simply dandy.


Adults fulfill a lasting childhood dream:

the Bookstore serves them Velvety ice-cream.

Beneath this sun and summer's looming moon,

we dance and sing in our own Brigadoon.


No lions, tigers, bears, or tall giraffe,

but creatures, great and small, will make us laugh.

The dogs have trained their humans how to heel,

and cats bring gourmet tastes to every meal.


The Mayor here, like Star Trek's Captain Kirk,

keeps looking for a Spock to share his work.

We plant and prune and decorate the trees,

and hear them speak to us in every breeze.


Our fireworks are fireflies; and owls

and herons join with mammals, fish, and fowls.

The cows and lambs we eat are known by name,

and sometimes menus serve us wilder game.


And here are folks who found and built this place,

whose prints on Middle Path we now retrace.

Like creation, beauteous, diverse,

our Village life reflects the Universe.


We hold these truths defining Liberty:

No one is free until we all are free.

In us the moral universe can move.

The other name for Justice must be Love.


Hope in one another teaches how

it takes a Village to make a Village now.