Friday, November 25, 2016

A Song By Whitman

"Afoot and light hearted, I take to the open road,.. "Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman engages my mind each time I see this commercial and hear these words on television. To get a more lasting reason for remembering this poem, pull it up and hear it read aloud taking about ten minutes.

Whitman lived in an earlier century but words of his wisdom erupt in valuable thoughts no matter the century they were written in. Walt's poems are best appreciated when read aloud because, by that, the cadence of his composition shines through. To me, his beat hammers throughout his works and sets him off against most other poets of his time. The art form of his poetics once revered by multitudes has withered over time but thanks to this commercial poetry has begun a resurgence. Maybe poetry will be used more as year go by to sell products, or at least, I hope so.

Ronald C. Downie
A Song By Whitman

"Afoot and light hearted, I take to the open road,.. "Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman engages my mind each time I see this commercial and hear these words on television. To get a more lasting reason for remembering this poem, pull it up and hear it read aloud taking about ten minutes.

Whitman lived in an earlier century but words of his wisdom erupt in valuable thoughts no matter the century they were written in. Walt's poems are best appreciated when read aloud because, by that, the cadence of his composition shines through. To me, his beat hammers throughout his works and sets him off against most other poets of his time. The art form of his poetics once revered by multitudes has withered over time but thanks to this commercial poetry has begun a resurgence. Maybe poetry will be used more as year go by to sell products, or at least, I hope so.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, November 18, 2016

"Gods, Wasps and Stranglers"

The author, Mike Shanahan, mesmerized me this week as I read his book, "Gods, Wasps and Stranglers" - the secret history and redemptive future of fig trees - in a few days of utter enjoyment. Stuck in the mud, was I, not having opened a book for months let alone some years. The iPad does this to you. It becomes too easy to surf Facebook daily thinking, now I know it all, what else is there ? There is a whole world of books out there just waiting to be opened to all with a receptive, inquisitive mind.

Ronnie, my son, called from Pottstown to me in Florida, saying a book was coming in the mail. Further, he said, this book got rave reviews from Mike McGrath on his radio show, "You Bet Your Garden", a radio show we both enjoyed for years.

Eighty million years older than our human ancestors the fig tree has been the sustainer of life its entire existence. The author weaves the history of figs into the fabric of man's existence and hopes today man can see through the many missteps his lust for open fields have laid waste the need for diversity among plant species. Along the way, figs have been worshiped by diverse tribes on different continents. The act of worship is one of the highest calling primitive man can muster up in his slow journey on the accent of civilization.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dear Evan Brandt,

On behest of my grandson, Connnor Kurtz, a graduate of Catholic University working at Lindbergh International Airport, San Diego, California, I write this letter to ask you his question. Would I, because of our friendship, put in a good word for him with you so he could get your endorsement to write a column to be printed by The Mercury on a recurring basis ? To be determined : content, frequency, payment ( if any ). Realizing he's still on the school board in Danial Boone - my words - maybe he wishes to be another Tom Hylton.

Connor will be returning to the Pottstown area in January to begin a concentrated study regiment that he hopes will propel him to grades sufficient on a law degree entrance exam and that could gain him a full ride scholarship at a prestigious law school.

A couple of comments : 1-Connor was one of the youngest elected school board members in the country. 2-Connor spent a couple months in London where he interned for Parliament and traveled extensively through England and the larger cities of Europe.
3- Connor is employed at San Diego's International airport where his English skills of writing served him well. 4- Connor volunteered to do a few weeks of internship at Pottstown Borough Hall during his summer vacation. 5- Connor, I surmise, realizes his degree in religion doesn't afford him the latitude for jobs that a law degree would, especially, if he doesn't want to be a priest or even Pope.

Please accept my thank you for any effort you extend to my request.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Gulf's Wetted Sand

Foot impressions upon fresh wetted sand,
Eyes west, thoughts universal, time is dusk.

Sun rays, sun set, photographic phone's eye
Snaps the scene, sailboat silhouettes yonder

Earth's ark. Wedded to Florida's weather
Our birthday girl, Lia, found this her home.

Water fowl and sea creatures capture eyes
Above and below the swells of constant

Motion. You chose the Gulf shore to settle
In your life's quest, yes, a health provider.

Following your bliss,  Florida's west coast
Fits you quit well, Marty too, and his boys;

Your boys, also, Blues and Max, both barkers.
And your parents, Nanny and me, Pop Pop.

Thru the house, armed to the teeth, Lia works :
Vacuum, wet steamer, broom and cloth duster.

Orderly, "a place for everything and
Everything in its place", a cook supreme.

You are our personal provider, nurse.
"Boys" love you beyond animal instinct.

Mom and I have more than respect for you ;
We love you as a daughter, our best friend.

Love, Happy Birthday !
Nanny&PopPop






Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Back to Learning Sewing

Unlike many Americans, I feel sort of safe this morning since I am a child of immigrants, both parents born abroad, both in Scotland, but my brother Andy and I were conceived and born in the 1930's just north of New York City. We are Caucasian, Lilly white, unlike many young people of a darker skin who may be targeted if what has been said this last year during the election process actually comes into fruition.

Realizing, as I do, that females rejected placing a women in the top seat of government by not voting for Clinton to be the first female to break that glass ceiling. Our people have loudly spoken : this country shall be guided from the White House by a male for the for the foreseeable future. "Right by might" remains in full force today.

Thank goodness, the halls of education have seen this coming and are resurrecting women studies in both middle and high schools. Traditional courses of home economics, sewing, typing, and such once quite visible in schools will comeback and take their place once again. Yes, this outcome will stifle many females from attending college and they will filter down into the masses available for marriage. Marriage  on male's terms - "right by might" - cooking, cleaning, bearing children.

What a waste ! Females, by the numbers, are the dominant electors. But females, because they are not a homogeneous group have been browbeaten since the inception of our country by male dominance, and now don't seem to have an escape route out. They haven't accepted the ballot box as their way out, their saving grace. Where are the females willing to become global leaders who will cast off the shackles of Centuries and step up to be heard ?

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Posted Poet: XX11so muchdependsupon a red wheelbarrowgl...

The Posted Poet: XX11 so much depends upon a red wheel barrow gl...: XX11 so much depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens from Spring and All ( 1923 ) Wi...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

XX11

so much
depends

upon a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

from Spring and All ( 1923 )
William Carlos Williams
( 1883 - 1963 )

Did William Carlos Williams anticipate, the topsy turvy climate we are experiencing these days when we get bombarded incessantly with election news, as he wrote this thoroughly analyzed and often quoted poem in 1923 ? I doubt it !

Many fledgling poets use Williams' admonition of "so much depends upon" when they are stuck at getting started with the opening line of a new poem. In fact, what in life is devoid of dependence upon something other than the obvious ? I, myself, have used this concept to get unstuck from a brain drain but, I'm sure, many out there think I'm perennially brain drained.

Many times we need to read a poem numerous times for us to absorb the unsaid, as well as, the said conveyed by the assemblage of words, phrases, and verses of the poem. It is left for each of us to get from a poem something, something could be the simplicity of a feeling or the excitement of getting yourself to write a piece of your own doing.

Please, for your own sake, don't wait until, like me, you're on your last hurrah. Simply put, it is just putting the best words in the best order you can muster up. Neither Mim Ludwig nor Kenny Gable are still on earth waiting to pounce on your spelling or punctuation. You become the master of your own ship ordering it to cast off and set sail for wherever your destination. Let others be the mates, you be the Captain at the wheel giving orders. Eventually, you'll realize words become more and more important and their relationship to each other a positive. Set sail with words and voyage forever.

Ronald C. Downie