The Glass is Swept…

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September 27, 2021-

The quiet voice assured me, “See, your soreness is fading, your range of motion is fine. The car served you well; it is now being broken into re-usable parts. The glass is swept, the tires can be re-sold. The fluids have been drained and the battery is stored safely. Your life is going on, because it must. The bullet points of your mission shall be modified, and the manner in which they are carried out may require different media, but the overall mission is the same. Some friends are cooling in their attitudes towards you because you no longer serve their purposes. Indeed, you probably never did. Others, the ones you see now and then, will stand by you, and you, them, for all time. Be gentle with yourself, as you are with the blessed children. The glass is swept. The body is recovering. The road ahead is clear. ”

Blitzy

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September 19, 2021-

This is a Blitz Poem, a stream-of-consciousness piece, about mood swings, among other things.

In The Mood

Mood blue can turn into mood indigo

I can be of a mood to laugh

Laugh with friends

Laugh at folly.

Folly of leaders

Folly of the masses.

Masses of paperwork

Masses of clouds.

Clouds drop rain

Clouds my judgment .

Judgment brings pain

Judgment brings lessons .

Lessons come hard

Lessons drive change.

Change is a constant

Change is a process.

Process builds systems

Process builds patience.

Patience means perseverance

Patience is a virtue.

Virtue shakes vice

Virtue brings challenge .

Challenge builds strength

Challenge begs a question.

Question authority

Question existence .

Existence is eternal

Existence is the start of life .

Life can be hard

Life means feeling.

Feeling groovy

Feeling anger .

Anger spurs action

Anger is a mood .

Mood

Swings

A Sestina for the Suffering

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September 1, 2021- The need to be of help in relieving suffering, be it of humans or of animals, is among the most fundamental urges most of us have. This sestina, a verse of six stanzas, rotating six end words, and capped by an envoi of three lines, addresses the suffering that is encountered by many.

We go about our daily deeds, both joy and drudgery, meeting peace, to outward-seeming. Life has its minor struggles, persistent, sometimes nagging disappointments, and adventure. There is, however, no growth or triumph, without struggle. We learn, at any early age, that one safeguard against harm is that of attachment. The warmth of mother, the sturdiness of father, the friendship of sibling, curl up in memory. As we grow, there are many reactions to those around us; the best of these being empathy.

The plight of the poor, those living below what we have come to expect, summons empathy. There are hovels, tents and rolled-out blankets, which defy credulity, even to outward-seeming. A visit to an encampment, even seeing the modest trappings of ingenuity, is seared in memory. The day-to-day struggles are not uniformly dreaded by the homeless, who may see adventure. A rolled-up camp and the camaraderie of mates may trigger attachment. There comes to be seen as a truism, that what matters is not the destination, but the struggle.

A person, or an animal, waging the fight for freedom, draws admirers to their struggle. There is no end to the outpouring, at least initially, of empathy. The identification of onlooker with target, and against oppressor, becomes a torrid attachment. The course of action becomes clear, to outward-seeming. Some will join in the fray, if only to experience a rare adventure. On their deathbeds, the onlookers turned fighters will whisper their memory.

There is a power, though, in the storehouse that is memory. It nags, it pleads and ultimately forces the onlooker to join the struggle. There is scant relaxation, maybe a dearth of comfort, in the ensuing adventure. The fire of action fuels the sword of courage, forged on the anvil of empathy. Those not convinced of the truth that is spoken to power see waste, to outward-seeming. Greed, envy, avarice, lust and pride are among the foci of their attachment.

The suffering, living day-to-day, may grasp at their helpers, in oblique attachment. The y have yet to experience the living out of a dream, with squalor their sole memory. The plight of the oppressed can seem intractable, to outward-seeming. It is all too easy to kneel in pleading, not wanting to engage in righteous struggle. It is the rising, however, that engenders and sustains empathy. It is the fortitude, the joining of hands, that sustain the real adventure.

The signals are clear, when an oppressed soul stands and embarks on such adventure. The multitude gathers, moves forward in serried lines, and hope is their sole attachment. They walk along, forge past all obstacles, and bathe one another in empathy. In time, the victories, no matter how fleeting, build a treasury of memory. The triumphs fuel, and the setbacks harden, the boldness of struggle. Then, there will be a measure of unity, between inner perception and outward-seeming.

All in all, what is past is prologue, and what is to be, generates from memory. The chef who cooks recollection, needs a fresh supply of struggle. There is no daylight, in the end, between inner perception and outward-seeming.

Purists may bemoan the relative lack of iambic pentameter, but such is life.

A Pentina Palette

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August 25, 2021- Last night, a small group of us engaged in a conversation about the effect of colour on the human psyche. It is not surprising that certain colours generate aggression and others have a calming effect.

The following pentina, a variation on the sestina that uses five sets of five lines, rather than six sets of six lines, with a two-line envoi, of five words (with either two words on the first line and three on the second, or vice versa.) considers the matter of colour.

The day begins with a shimmer of gold. In less than an hour, the sky reflects the warmth of blue. Our majestic life-generating orb sends down beams of yellow. Too much time outdoors, with no protection, leaves one red. This can be relieved by the shade offered in green.

A sense of healing energy is evoked by green. Power flows into the mind that senses gold. The call to forceful action arises from red. Calm reassurance emanates from blue. A sense of mirth springs up from yellow.

The initiation of harvest is indicated by yellow. This comes after a long season of green. Through the transition, air and water remain blue. As the change progresses, some organisms present gold. Still others show off their red.

Excitement arose, upon the entrance of the lady in red. Her hair contrasted, being of shimmering yellow. She walked untrammeled, through the field of green. At the end of the path, stood a field house, domed in gold. The structure’s centerpiece was a large pool of blue.

Serenity ‘s imparting of peaceful strength, flows in blue . Doubt and fear stir, when enveloped in red. Only a modicum of joy can come from green. More fleeting still is the satisfaction proferred by gold. All can be made peaceful again, by a light bath of yellow.

The colours of the school where I work are gold and blue, with a swatch of yellow. Students are good here, when it comes to stopping on red and going on green.

Tritina for the Masses

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August 24, 2021- Beneath the fa├žade of shouting lies a fear. Both genders, and all ages, are shown to stand in the crowd. The trigger is often the very thought that the other side has truth.

A reporter keeps eyes and ears trained on the crowd. Her greatest challenge is to sort out the truth. Making it hard for her is the pile of blankets of fear.

The gathering maintains its own rendition of truth. The sight and smell of this, however, is the soil of fear. The intrepid woman works hard to find a crack in the crowd.

In the end, she convinces some in the crowd to face their fear and to smell at least a bit of actual truth.

As is evident, a tritina is a truncated sestina, with three tercets-verses of three lines each, and each line ending with one of three words. The tercets proceed with ending word order 1-2-3, 2-3-1,3-1-2 and a fourth stand-alone line, containing all three words.

What we’ve seen recently, in many lands, are large groups of people who are seemingly easily manipulated by wirepullers. A caveat, from the French Revolution: Sooner or later, the masses become disillusioned with, and turn on, their controllers.

What It Usually Means

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April 3, 32021-

Most times, a hug is a hug-and nothing more. A handshake is a handshake, no more and no less. A warm smile is not especially an invitation, but more an expression of appreciation. A gentle touch is a reassurance of caring. Eye contact, likewise, means “I see you. You matter to me”.

Interest in your day means there is a connection. It is not an invitation to anything more. Expressing interest in doing things together is not an open door to doing just anything at all.

A friendship between mature adults is devoid of assumptions, of unilateral expectations and wishful thinking. It is full of plans made together, of honest conversation, of trusting disclosures, knowing that what is shared is respected, and kept in confidence.

These facets of my friendships, with woman and man alike steer me gently into that good night and its subsequent bright day.

Say No To Vengeance

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March 19, 2021-

Say no to vengeance, for with it, comes only sorrow. Say yes to reconciliation, the way to a brighter tomorrow.

With vengeance, comes only further bloodshed, as each one wishes to fight back. Reconciliation and forgiveness, do not excuse the wrong, yet show the valour of ending the culture of attack.

Say no to vengeance, with its twists and turns, its innocent victims, whose survivors’ hearts slowly burn. Greet the warmth of reconciliation with its gradual healing. The song of forgiveness with its heartfelt love is appealing!

Set down your weapons, and take up your plowshares, that the dark clouds may part, to a sky calm and fair.

Threads

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March 9, 2021-

The thread of enjoyment extended out, as a friend took in one of my favourite restaurants, on her own, and found it good.

The thread of caring got a little longer, as the powers that be offered more assistance to a long-neglected teen, and it will be good.

The thread of preparation is getting clearer, as a storm approaches us, and people mentally get ready for winter’s last gasp. It will be okay.

The thread of assurance is getting stronger, as there is some enticement to return to an untenable situation, which it is best to resist. I will be fine.

Dance The Moon

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March 3, 2021-

Dance the Moon, my diligent friend. Your work is, and will be, reaping grand rewards. You have a magnificent mind, with heart to match and a drive that will bring sustenance to many.

Dance Mars, my solitary chum. We may walk many miles together, amongst the red rocks. You will heal many, also, through careful measure of l that which brings salubrity.

Dance Venus, oh sad, yet resilient blessing to my soul. I hear your heart’s every palpitation, and know that the warmth of your heart will sustain you, through all grief.

Dance the stars, my eternally best beloved. Dance, sing, and guide us who stayed behind. We have many who look to us in wonder, and can not afford to skip a beat.

The Middle Passage of Robert Hayden

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February 26, 2021-

In drawing to a close Black History Month, it is critical to remember that no people’s story is ever confined to a month, or even a year. The endurance of the history of any given segment of a society,of any part of humanity, is ever worth drawing to ourselves. In a few days, I will look at the Gullah people, of the Sea Islands along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina-arguably the most enduring African-American group, managing to maintain key aspects of their culture, even whilst living among well-heeled vacationers who have been drawn to the Sea Islands, over the past 50 years.

The Gullah are, of course, one group of descendants of the enslaved people brought from Africa, most via the route known as The Middle Passage. The late, great former United StatesPoet Laureate Robert Hayden (1913-1980), first African-American to hold this honour, and a member of the Baha’i Faith, depicted the experience of those brought along this treacherous route on the Amistad, a Portuguese-owned slave ship,which had been the scene of a slave rebellion led by Sengbe Pieh, also knoiwn as Cinque. The rebels eventually won their freedom, courtesy of a vigourous defense before the US Supreme Court, by John Quincy Adams and 34 of them returned to Africa, with help from American Abolitionists.

Let Robert Hayden tell their story, in his own voice. Let us always remember that all human beings are created equal, in the sight of God.