Building Sand Castles: Then and Now

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Photo courtesy of pxhere.com

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.

Annie

[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.]

Continue reading “Building Sand Castles: Then and Now”

Chaos in America…BUT… We Can End It! (A Near- Acrostic Poem for Our Times)

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.

BUT…

When an aroused people stands together
Elevating our shared goal beyond our
individual predilections,

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
things right!

__________________________
Note:

In my previous post, I cited the free newsletter by RB Hubbell of California (rbhubbell@gmail.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.

Annie

Continue reading “Chaos in America…BUT… We Can End It! (A Near- Acrostic Poem for Our Times)”

Outside My Window…

Our Goldfinches

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Image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net

A portent of spring,
Still garbed in winter’s drab gray
They crowd the feeder—
Six at a time, reserving each perch.

Not vertically challenged,
They cling firmly by strong claws
On the feeder specially designed
For their idiosyncratic lifestyle

Hanging there, heads downward,
They sate themselves while
Performing an avian gymnast’s feat.

And then they’re gone
Back to the bushes
Back to anonymity
Their dining interrupted by forces
Invisible to us.

We can nourish them,
We can admire them,
But we cannot keep them safe.
For that, they rely on their instincts…
And on each other.

 

Our Squirrels

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Image courtesy of flickr.com

What do you do with half an egg?
Unable to digest the yolk
I place it, boiled, on the window sill.

One squirrel, small and thin,
Has caught our eye
He races to it,
Beating out a larger interloper.

Then, quite full of egg and self
He chases the interloper to the yard,
Where he boasts his conquest
By mounting her,
Oblivious to the male cliche
Evoked by his ardor.

Continue reading “Outside My Window…”

Something There Is…

...That Doesn’t Love a Wall.
—-Robert Frost

Screen Shot 2020-01-30 at 3.58.13 PM
Photo taken by KYMA.

The President’s beloved wall

Designed to keep our borders “pure”

Of those who seek refuge from harm

Or starvation

Could not withstand a high wind

That mercilessly forced it from its moorings

And onto the trees of Mexico,

Where it tottered, not a sentinel of boldness,

But an homage to failure.

The President who denies climate change

And the humanity of brown-skinned people from

Not so far away

Received an unmistakable jolt

From Mother Nature herself.

She is not happy.

Continue reading “Something There Is…”

A Substitute Rant–

The WordPress Happiness Engineers are cheery;
They respond as best they can.

But a SNAFU is making me weary;
What you’re reading is not what I’d planned…

The stats say Saturday, 11 AM
Is when most of you visit my site;

So I worked my little tail off, man oh man
And completed my post last night.

But the morning brought a fearsome view:
The text and images were gone–

First from computer they said adieu,
Then vanished from my phone.

The Happiness Engineers are on my case;
I should hear in the days ahead.

So please keep an eye out as they retrace
A post that I hope ain’t dead.

The title from the original piece
Is all that remains from it now.

A part of it applies to this ditty, at least:
Am I on a rant? And how!

Annie

PS: As the saying goes: “Watch this space!”…please.

 

OBFUS-GATE: An Exploration of Our National Crisis (Even Worse: It’s In Verse!)

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US Constitution image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org
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American flag image courtesy of needpix.com

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—
“No conspiracy”
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
You’ll investigate
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.”

Annie

 

Quarks ‘n’ Genes (Some Subatomic, Electronic, and Molecular Musings)

 

 

[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!

Annie

Thoughts Engendered by Pajamas With Feet

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!

Annie