Growing up near a beach, I led a child-dylic life of sun/sand/surf
The ocean was my backyard pool; the sand my playground
Near the water’s edge, the consistency of that granular play-doh
Encouraged childhood architectural whimsy.
We built our castles, carrying water to the construction site in Baby Bear-sized buckets
Not too small to hold too little, not too big to burden our slender frames
The structure, once assembled, cried out for ornamentation.
And so the Dribble Castle began to take shape.
Small fingers drip-drip-dripping the moist sand into fabulous pillars, turrets, bridges,
Water scooped into moats suggesting a royal tableau.
We lay in the sand beside these marvels, reveling in the glory of our creations.
Then, as the afternoon wore on and the tide shifted,
We watched the waves break closer and closer, wishing the waters away
But knowing well the fate of our hours of work.
A hard lesson to learn young: the inevitability of impermanence.
Now, my aging self relearns that lesson every day.
Sometimes it saddens me, sometimes it strengthens me.
Trying to keep my footage, standing firm through ebb and flow,
My mental dribble castle reminds me to reach for the richness, seek out the beauty, hold tight the wonder
The impermanence is part of living, but the pillars, turrets, and bridges may always be rebuilt.
[Note: I wrote this poem weeks before the pandemic changed everything, so I kept putting it aside to discuss the more pressing issues. But as I reread it, I feel its relevance to me right now–at this time.]
Candidates flailing arms in the air, bent
on talking, one over another Hapless moderators—too many, too
weak to control the mayhem Another Democratic debate, Offering less light than heat Seemingly not laser-focused on our
closeness to the abyss.
In the far too-White House, a lawless
President—unrebuked by his
tarnished party— No-nothingly claims the gathering
pandemic will soon be gone
And helter-skelterly seeks funding only
after a ka-chinging Stock Market dives into waters darkened
by viral uncertainty… Even as he tears away our protective
Intel and Rebukes/replaces experts and judicious
judges, Instead producing pattern-setting
pardons of those justly Convicted of crimes against the State… As back in Russia, Vladimir does his
happy dance with wanton abandon.
When an aroused people stands together Elevating our shared goal beyond our
Change of the most positive nature can
unfold As we become Citizen Activists as never
before: Noting the work ahead, and
enthusiastically signing on
Exercising our right to vote for whoever
we think best—but Not turning away if the nominee is other
than our choice, Determined to banish the unclothed
emperor above all.
In this nation of great promise and
hard history This is our time, finally, to get
In my previous post, I cited the free newsletter by RB Hubbell of California (email@example.com). His February 26, 2020, issue (No. 380) is a treasure trove of action steps we can take, with links to organizations focused on the important issues of voter registration, turnout, and voter protection, among others.
They include several I’d never heard of, such as Changing the Conversation Together (in which volunteers have issue-oriented discussions with people in their homes), Vote Forward (you sign your name to letters on a template sent to under-represented voters), and one I found particularly interesting: Payback Project, dedicated to defeating ten Republican Senators (including Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, and Mitch McConnell), and thereby taking back the Senate.
And in today’s newsletter (February 27, 2020, No. 831), Hubbell adds another compelling possibility: Sister District Project, which tries to turn states blue by winning state legislatures, thereby helping to end gerrymandering. The organization says it has teams “across the country.” With the 2020 Census under way, leading to redistricting in 2021, it is vital that we have Democratic Governors and state legislators involved in this effort to ensure that representation is accurately apportioned.
In April I cited Barr’s antics
The AG was quietly frantic
The Mueller Report Was a strong retort
To the “Trump did no wrong” semantics.
But Bill-Barr knew why he’d been hired
And sensing the public was tired:
“There’s nothing,” said he—
So the Truth into muck became mired.
Yet ONE DAY after Mueller appeared
The President moved into high gear
With an unbowed head
To Ukraine’s Prez said: If you want all that aid to be cleared…
…There’s a favor I’d like you to do
Some people you gotta look into
And all will be great—
Maybe a White House visit for you.
Zelensky had quite the dilemma
With Putin evoking some tremors
He’d sought to be straight
’Twas his winning mandate
But U.S. demands were bad karma.
So why should Ukraine cause our fussin’?
Our ally’s a bulwark v. Russians
We gave them our word
Worldwide it was heard
It’s their safety and ours we’re discussin’.
Just in time someone blows a whistle
And justice’s wheels start to sizzle
The hearings begin
The experts weigh in
And Light shone on lies makes them fizzle.
But here come the intractable foes
Who back Trump from his head to his toes
They can’t argue facts
So they take a worse tack
And pretend that the Emperor has clothes.
Now we’ve entered the land of impeach
With the Dems set to not overreach
Two articles cite
The President’s blight
And his large Constitutional breach.
The facts tell a quite simple story:
Abused power for his own glory
For Congress contempt
No defense will attempt
To challenge except with lies hoary…
…Or red herring complaints like this call: “Why the rush when we’ve not heard from all?” With subpoenas defied, Delays far and wide,
These “bad processes” tales are quite tall.
There is reason to move with dispatch
The President’s acts must be watched
His lawyer’s abroad
To promote more fraud,
Our election’s integrity they’ll snatch.
But the country’s sadly divided With false stories, hard truth’s derided We’ve so much at stake
We must stay awake
And try to engage those misguided.
I shall now add a Bill-Barr return
He’s in mischief I can’t quite discern
He’ll make a report
Next spring—of some sort
That is likely to cause great concern.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled for this move
‘Cause its purpose will clearly behoove
Us to promptly react
And to counter with facts
So the falsities don’t gain a groove.
It’s a time our decisions must fit
With the words of Ben Franklin—to wit:
When asked what we’ve got
Republic or Monarchy, he shot:
“A Republic—if you can keep it!”
Note: I leave my rhyme to turn to the prescient words of Alexander Hamilton, which my blogging colleague Brookingslib used to conclude a terrific post on the topic:
“When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”’
Finally, as stated by Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William B. Taylor Jr. in his testimony before Congress, by Constitutional law experts Michael Gerhardt and Lawrence Tribe, and by others:
“If this [the Ukraine scandal] isn’t impeachable, nothing is.”
Interaction between Quarks… Illustration courtesy of flickr.com
[Note: As this is Labor Day Weekend, my brain is taking a holiday from blogging, and I am reaching back into my personal archives for a poem I wrote nearly two decades ago.]
I’m trying to fathom this wondrous new world
Of black holes revealed and of wormholes uncurled,
Of hyperspace, cyberspace, space here and there,
Of DNA fingerprints gleaned from a hair.
The pace of discovery moves with such speed,
I’m filled with uncertainty how to proceed;
My questions hang low in the particled air:
In the tenth dimension, just what shall I wear?
If the Internet takes me to places abroad,
Can I get past Ohio on 1200 baud?
Will stop bit and bytes move me well on my way…
Or maybe a megahertz, rented by day?
If matter’s reduced to equations quite neat,
Will philosophers fold up their tents in defeat?
If life is explained by the genetic code,
Are love and free will merely bumps on the road?
I’d rather a vision with chaos and clutter,
A messier cosmos would not make me shudder,
The magic of randomness governed by chance
Leaves more room for wonder…and awe…and romance.
Do you find this a fun backward look—or merely dated doggerel? Actually, I think if we’ve learned anything in the past couple of decades, it’s that everything is more complicated than was initially proposed. No worries about putting philosophers out of business any time soon.
And in truth, I’m having a harder time celebrating chaos and clutter and a messier cosmos in 2019, when we seem to be surrounded by an overabundance thereof.
But perhaps (mindfully speaking), that’s even more reason for us to seek out wonder…and awe…and romance!
Enjoy the long weekend. And if you’re reading this in a non-Labor Day country, just enjoy!
NOTE: Gazing at a lovely picture of a friend’s daughter with her two kids–a newborn and a toddler–I found myself advising her, in full cliche: “Enjoy every minute of this time; it goes so fast!”
That made me wistful about my own daughters’ younger years. Even though I realized then the flight of time, it still slipped past me far too quickly.
So I dug out a poem I wrote decades ago, which was published in a local anthology. Here ’tis:
We cleaned out the closets yesterday, Disposing of the children’s Infancy and Toddlerhood in just a few, brief hours.
We stacked the memories in cardboard boxes and placed them in the basement, Where they will remain until my charitable heart, Massaged by the Internal Revenue Service, Calls the Salvation Army to take them away.
There went the Winnie-the-Pooh shirt, Gently folded by the thin ten-year-old Whose face is hidden now behind a thicket of heavy curls, Like a small cottage attacked by overgrown shrubbery. “How tiny it is,” she smiles. How tiny she was, I remember, seeing her again As she was then, the nicely shaped head covered With thousands of tight little ringlets She let me cut at will.
I tried to wring those early years of all I could, Taking to heart the wistful warning from those Who’d already passed this way that “You’ll never know where the years went.”
But Here’s the evidence of my failure, the Footed pajamas worn first by one daughter, Then by the other.
In the accordion of my memory, the years are pleated Close together, almost superimposed one on the other. I see The girls, leaning back against their pillows, Fragile arms folded behind their heads with Comical sophistication, as they listen To a story they both treasured and selected bedtime after bedtime. “Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”
I recite the words from memory now. My six-year-old, Deciding which books she is ready to surrender to a Younger child, replaces GOODNIGHT MOON On the shelf. I am grateful to her For allowing us to retain our shared memory just a little longer.
Next time, I know, GOODNIGHT MOON will go the way Of the footed pajamas and the Winnie-the-Pooh shirt. Another book, which she now reads to me, will mark these years for us. My daughters will grow Less attached to their childhood memories, As I grow more so.
I am too young to be living in the past, I think, But still, in what I know is a gesture more to myself Than to the future, when the time comes to dispose of GOODNIGHT MOON, I shall pack it in the special box, the one set apart from The goods for the Salvation Army.
There it will join the hand-knit garments woven With love by aunts and grandmothers intent on Warming my daughters with their crocheted caresses.
And I shall hope that the mildew of indifference Spares it For the next generation.
I hope this poem resonates somewhat, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories. WordPress people, if you like it, please remember to click on Like. Cheers!