The Flow

2

September 6, 2019-

On any given day, I wake between five and six.

On any given day, I tap into an energy flow,

which tells me what I must do that day.

At any given moment,

there is a task,

which may, or may not,

involve payment.

At any given moment,

there is a sense of urgency,

for what is best done then and there.

With any given person,

there is a special element of his/her presence,

that calls for a certain degree of my presence.

With any given person,

there is a gift that is imparted,

that calls for my own gift, in return.

Tonight, I visited with one whom I regard

as my best friend,

and exchanged the gifts of heartfelt discourse.

This week, I have spent time with

members of my circle of honour,

and likewise have given and received

abundant presents of the Spirit.

 

The Baby Skunk

8

September 5, 2019-

Last night, as I was heading to my car port,

a baby skunk got there first.

I don’t know whether baby skunks

have the same lack of control

over their magic weapons

as baby rattlesnakes, so I held back.

The wee one took about six minutes

to check out my carport.

then was chased off,

by one of the feral cats

that live in the back yard.

Cat didn’t smell,

this morning.

So, I guess baby skunks

are not quick to

spray perfume.

Night of the Crescent Moon

6

August 30, 2019-

I know you are supremely confident

and making this choice,

still I fret and will look,

tomorrow, to make sure

you made it safely home.

You sang your heart out tonight,

and captivated everyone,

just as you surely won the hearts

of those for whom you gave your best,

last night, a thousand miles away,

and will tomorrow,

on the other side of this land.

Some would say I ought not worry,

but it’s my nature,

to want the best

for everyone who has my heart.

Your muses are many

as are your allies.

 

 

 

 

Speaking of……

10

August 21, 2019-

An invitation came in the mail.

It was to the wedding of the youngest child

of one of my best friends.

Quickly, and joyfully, I replied,

“Absolutely!”.

An invitation came, on my phone messenger.

It was to a college event, on Friday.

I quickly responded,

“Certainly, if I’m not working that day.”

A call came for a Red Cross meeting, today.

I cleared my calendar,

and drove over to the site.

We got a fair amount accomplished.

A caterpillar was inching its way

across the road.

I said. “Good luck to you”.

It kept on its way.

As I sat, watching the sunset,

atop Acker Hill, yesterday evening,

a lone jogger came by and said,

“Isn’t that a great scene?”

I said, “Positively!”

My neighbour said, “I’m moving out!”

I replied, “Sorry to hear that.

Hope it’ll work better at your next place.”

A school sent a request for my presence, tomorrow.

I said, “Amen!”

All this, alone, is reason enough to get out of bed,

and dedicate the day’s praise,

to honouring what lies in store.

 

 

 

Constant

7

August 14, 2019-

Today is the fourth, in as many as thirty consecutive days of dry heat.

I will not let myself burn, or sink in exhaustion.

Today is another day of hand-wringing and grasping at straws,

in the financial markets.

I will not cry poor mouth.

Today we hear what many of us have long intuited,

that there is a tie that binds those

who serially abuse teenagers.

I will always view youth as my friends,

as being just as worthy of following their dreams,

as anyone else on the planet.

Today, a wise person wrote:  “I whispered in the Devil’s ear,……….

I am the Storm!”

To all who seek to bring humanity down into the mud,

I, too, am the Storm.

Stay focused,

stay strong,

your lives matter.

The Lock Box

4

August 13, 2019-

The following occurred to me, after a healer visited, this morning.

To each soul is given

a gift,

a legacy,

a task.

It is up to

the recipient

to open hands

and take the gift,

honour the legacy,

accomplish the task.

I laid on my back,

breathing

and receiving

the strength

to open the lock box

in which my heart

has been kept,

for so many years.

My task now

is to put the lock box

away.

It has long since

served its purpose,

of guarding my heart,

from what it feared.

Breathing cleansed

the rust

from the lock.

The box is open now,

and my heart is

gladsome,

refreshed,

prepared for

the gift being offered.

 

 

The Seesaw

4

August 10, 2019-

The seesaw was built for balance.

Gradually, that balance wore away,

as the bigger kids always favoured,

the right-hand side.

Getting to the seesaw first,

they managed to decide

how high, how fast,

it went up and down.

One day, a clever one,

from among the littles,

figured out how to restore

the balance.

He made some progress,

but was beaten

and chased off,

by those from both groups,

who were used to

things as they  were.

Try as they might, though,

the big kids couldn’t

restore the imbalance.

After several tries,

a series of little kids

began to enjoy the left side

being equally balanced

with the right.

There was an equal chance

for either to be above.

The bigger kids,

and some of the littles,

began to wail,

to cry UNFAIR!

One of the biggest

then got on the seesaw,

landing on it hard.

He knocked the device

out of balance again,

so much so,

that neither most of the littles

nor many of the bigs,

were happy.

Those who were happy,

were very loud about it,

and outshouted the unhappies.

This went on for some time,

until the more thoughtful

on both sides,

took a good, hard look

at the seesaw.

In the dead of night,

they restored the balance.

No one had to be hurt or maimed,

it was just that the right thing happened.

 

DISCLAIMER:  The “left” and “right”, in this poem refer only to the sides of an actual seesaw, and not to the political right or left.

 

Footsteps

4

August 9, 2019-

Footsteps moving forward,

attached to a body

carrying a glass half-full.

Footsteps moving backward,

in search of the Good Old Days

that never were.

Footsteps moving sideways,

trying to avoid taking a stand.

Footsteps jumping up and down,

feigning anger over things

which could be fixed,

if only the body

to which they are attached,

took action.

Feet standing still,

neither stepping,

nor shuffling,

just waiting for

the cavalry to arrive.

The Way of Sacrifice

2

July 10, 2019, Pittsburgh-

Let your mind’s eye envision

the scene in Tabriz.

Hundreds of soldiers lined up,

thousands of onlookers behind them.

All are there to put an end

to the presence of a Light Being,

the Herald of a New Age;

the Divine Teacher, Who

became known as Al-Bab,

The Gate.

The rounds are fired,

the smoke clears,

and there is His devoted companion,

tied to Him,

before the shots were rendered;

now, just wandering about, in confusion,

That confusion spreads like wildfire.

Where is the Prisoner?

Why, He is finishing His business

with a follower,

in an office room,

elsewhere in the prison!

Al-Bab is taken outside,

once this matter has been

completed.

He is bound to His companion,

again.

A different regiment

fires its rounds.

The smoke clears,

the deed is done.

The bodies, left for the jackals

and wild dogs,

are retrieved in the night,

kept safe,

from one place of refuge

to another,

and finally laid to rest,

in March, 1909,

at His Tomb,

in Haifa, Israel.

There, we may honour Him,

at the Shrine of The Bab.

(This is a matter of historical record. Russian observers were present at the execution, were astounded and horrified, and made certain this matter was recorded in words, for posterity.  Al-Bab was executed on July 9, 1850.  We Baha’is commemorate His Martyrdom, each year.  The date this year happened to fall on July 10, according to our commemorative calendar, which is based on lunar reckoning.  I joined a group of Baha’is and friends of our Faith, in a quiet neighbourhood of southwest Pittsburgh, for today’s observance.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair Columbia

5

June 25-26, 2019, Columbia, SC-

Fifty years ago, I found myself among thirty or so young men, some a bit more worldly than I, others as green to the ways of the world as yours truly.  We were the trainees of Echo Company, Third Battalion, First Brigade, at Fort Jackson.  There were times that I broke down in the tears of an under-challenged, immature novice to life. There were times that I tried to avoid the challenges that, deep-down, I knew I needed to overcome.  In the end, I managed to overcome my own physical challenges and the constant ridicule from the jaded First Sergeant- and earned the respect of most everyone else.  I was a better person for the time spent here.

Once here, planted for what I thought was a day, at Palmetto Inn, east of town, I got messages from faithful readers, advising as to what I might do in the town.  Among these was word of a Wednesday evening event at a coffee shop, sounding as if it were sponsored by local Baha’is. So, I took the room at Palmetto for two nights.

The day started with a passable breakfast at George’s Southside Restaurant, hearing the plaint that I am finding increasingly common, in the workplaces along the road, this summer:  “I’m alone here, hon.  Please be patient, one co-worker quit and the other overslept. ”

In planning my day here, I focused first on the South Carolina State Museum, then the area around the Capitol and, rather whimsically, thinking I might pay a visit to Fort Jackson.  This last, of course, would not be realized.  Military posts are very well-guarded, even against visits by veterans.

I had a tip from a friend who had also spent time on Fort Jackson, to visit a fine dining spot, with an unlikely name.  Before going to the museum, I followed up on this recommendation.

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Motor Supply Bistro is a gem of a place.  I sat at the bar, for lunch, as I frequently do, when dining alone.  Bars and counters are a great place to feel at home, in an eatery, as one connects with both workers and with other solo diners.  I made several new friends here, as a result and the food is delectable.   There is valet parking here, and the attendant found himself being both ignored and blocked in, by a surly delivery truck driver, when he went to retrieve my car.  I tipped him for his trouble and faced down the ruffian, myself.  I did not get ignored and my car was off the lot, in short order.  I don’t take kindly to my contemporaries treating younger people with such contempt.

The South Carolina State Museum is worthy of at least two hours’ visit.  I focused on the Museum’s take on the Civil War, which was a bit less top-heavy on defending the Confederacy, than I had thought might be the case, before visiting, and on the various industries that took root, after the War, in both the Piedmont and Low Country regions of the state.

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It is always a joy to see the work of students, in public museums.

Here is a map of South Carolina, prepared by children in a Columbia school.

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There is a fine little area that tells the story of Palmetto State paleontology.  The region had its share of dinosaurs-and of megamammals.  Here are an Albertosaurus skeleton

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and a Glyptodont, or giant armadillo.

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The rails were critical here, moving textiles and lumber, even before the Civil War.  This long car was called the Friend of Charleston.

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Textiles were able to be more efficiently produced, by machines such as this.

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The processing and de-shelling of nuts, a major cash crop, was abetted by this machine.

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Coastal hardwoods were much in demand, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century.  This device helped greatly, in hauling cut timber’

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The Catawba people, who lived in the Columbia area, prior to European settlement, produced basketry and intriguing wood carvings, as part of their cultural legacy.

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Here is a mock-up of a traditional Catawba house.

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Finally, I ended my photo-journey around Columbia, by visiting the Capitol grounds.  There are a few statues in honour of the Confederates, but my interest there was the State Capitol as a whole.

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The day ended with a lively poetry and visual media session at Cool Beans Coffee House.  The person who had invited me never showed, but I was made to feel welcome by the program’s hosts, so Columbia left me with a warm feeling.  Gamecocks are good people.

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