Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

My parents when young in Scotland with their families would celebrate on this the last day of the year "Hogmanay". Today, December 31, was, as all last days of the year, honored with the name, Hogmanay, and often celebrated by offering a wee dram of God's Gift To Man to any visitor knocking at the front door. Too often, though, I suspect the host consumed quite a few drams themselves in the process. Scots are well known to imbibe fully for the sake of an occasion.

The Posted Poet began on Thanksgiving this year. 
 ( click on )
You are welcome to offer a poem for posting by cutting and pasting to the comment space noted. 

Please have a safe, healthy, prosperous, and eventful New Year. See you all at the bonfire down at the Schuylkill Riverfront Park at 10am, Saturday, January 1, 2011. Be there !

A Shaman Thoughts For A New Year

   A Shaman Speaks

High up in a mountain top cave sits an
Old man crossed legged ,grey bearded ,robed .
Embers wisps a sharp herbal fragrance
On the breeze fanning the wood fire .
I have come to seek out Wisdom
From this Shaman in his temple .
How else does one get great ideas
If not from minds of learned men ?

" Oh , Great Seer , how shall I best live 
My life ? I feel I'm such a low life 
Since all around me I see myself
In other people who themselves need help ."

   The Shaman speaks :

"Be clean and neat , be orderly ,
So little cost ,so great a reward .
Satisfy these basic human needs :
Be content , controlled , simple , and clean ."

"Be honest ,especially with yourself ,
If truly in your own mind you're a cad ,
Tell yourself you are , don't lie about it .
You must lead your own self to freedom ."

"Reward comes from effort through work .
Expect none if you don't freely give
Of yourself . If you're lazy , suffer .
A hand up always trumps a hand out ."

"Seek strength from external forces .
Always choose your beliefs wisely .
Question yourself , be ready to change .
Make wonderment your personal temple ."

"Gather facts to develop knowledge ,
From this wisdom may emerge .
Through wisdom comes original thought
Which has a chance to change our World ."

I asked ,"Anything else , Great One ?"

"I'm tired , but, seek out beauty ,
Need little and want even less ,
Balance desires , promote life's needs ,
Heed the message of your inner voice ."

I sensed the story of Moses carrying 
The Ten Commandments down from
The mountain . Scripture or Shaman Speak ?
Chose the message to live your own life by .

   Ronald C . Downie    

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

High Street The Fox

  High Street The Fox

When wisdom lifts her tardy head
To view the past from far ahead ,
Will she not know the measured beat
Of Pottstown's reborn foremost street ?

One million dollars to be spent
To make it old with new cement.
A master plan now so complete,
Will the town rebound or just the street ?

Will merchants' clamor fill unused space
So customers flock a new found place ?
But when they come from way afar,
Best they walk, not use a car.

Meters soldiered in curb side ranks,
Hostile environment, not merchant " thanks".
Kill ring of coin in meter box -
Makes mall the rabbit - High Street the fox !

          Ronald C. Downie.

Note: Written as an attempt to rid the town of parking meters some years back but, it seems, they may be on the way back as tickets are . Parking police with their tickets and meters with their coins hardly pay for the effort. Three things the malls have that High Street doesn't offer : no tickets - no meters - and a shopper can readily see the door they want to enter from their parking spot. It's tough to see a store's entrance on High Street from any of the parking lots the town promotes. Therefor, there has to be some other compelling reason a shopper would choose to come downtown rather than go to a mall. The Big Question is "What"?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Painted Brick - Blah Facades

Painted Brick - Blah Facades

When painted brick and blah facades
Of downtown building's past hurrahs
No longer cloth Pottstown in honor,
It's High Street's final fate we ponder.

Victorian lamps grace brick ribbon walks,
The promenade in shade of tall trees adorn.
A return of shoppers is merchant's talks,
Never to happen, unfulfilled, their forlorn.

Studies pile high our manager's desk
Editorials stuff overfull his journal.
Citizens resolve that the ultimate task
Is plant a seed and nurture that kernel.

Which sprouts the voices of discontent
That quickly grows in groups who question.
Where are those leaders we voters sent,
In chambered halls, closed, executive sessions ?

What ? Build a brand new Borough Hall
To fix the ills of lean, tough years ?
While town's shoppers sent all to the Mall
As high taxes drive the elderly to tears.

We're left with bills for little done
To stem the rising tide of disrepair.
Wake up-speak out- decay hasn't won !
Don't throw in the towel of utter despair.

Demand that your group voice is heard
By elected servants who loudly promised 
Your needs and that your town be served.
It's up to you to keep all of them honest.

   Ronald C. Downie

Written 18 years ago when a new borough hall was first seriously considered but misappropriation of borrowed funds stopped the effort dead in it's tracks.
We have a new Borough Hall now but the ultimate conflict between those in charge and those who pay taxes continues on. The problem remains : can the vocal activists keep up their energy so a change will happen in their engaged civic life time ?
Hope being eternal, the stars seem to be lining up in favor of real change finally happening. Activists and administrators are talking with each other rather than at each other. 
Each side seems to know that real problems exist and each is willing to forgo old differences that created former positions cut in stone. Let's pray !

Monday, December 27, 2010

Haiku 2

Haiku 2

Smells kitchen cooking
Saliva gland dreams of feast -
Turkey table bound.

Nature's Dominion :
Soil, seed, sprinkle, sun, hoe, wait -
Behemoth farms' wrath.

Whitening cold snow
Blankets my World out windows-
Nights shadow day's light.

Christmas bird feeder
Fondly filled full, may I watch?
Fly in feather friends.

Family table :
Heads bowed, hands held, grace spoken -
Ancestors present.

Please read Haiku more :
Five, seven, five beats per line -
Satisfy feelings.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, December 26, 2010



         Long in years when passions pout
Old's seen change heard hymn and shout     
         Wondering still what life's about
     Fire in the belly long turned to gout
             Thin's in so we shun the stout
       The long haired poet termed a lout
           His fervent wish to shout it out
 Wisdom through thought to live without
      We are the lesser left yet in doubt
Deep in years a time when passions pout

Ronald C.Downie.   


         Long in years when passions pout
Old's seen change heard hymn and shout     
         Wondering still what life's about
     Fire in the belly long turned to gout
             Thin's in so we shun the stout
       The long haired poet termed a lout
           His fervent wish to shout it out
 Wisdom through thought to live without
      We are the lesser left yet in doubt
Deep in years a time when passions pout

Ronald C.Downie.   

Friday, December 24, 2010



Solstice pauses Sun's arc
Marching toward Equinox-
Snow Fairy with wand.

Red permeates east
Morning's chill feels storm's thunder :

Rouge red heavens west
Night watch alert, not anguished.
Shell fish also dine.

Porch rocking stymied
Neck hairs wind furrowed stif :
Flurries forgiven.

  Ronald C. Downie

First try at Haiku

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Connie

Happy Birthday Connie

I look across the living room
There on her old brown recliner
The love of my life, eyes shut, naps,
Tuckered out from cold work outside.

December's rush of Christmas
Demands all of Connie's energy.
Year in-year out on her birthday
She works in the cold, in the wet.

Without complaint she's duty bound,
Non demanding, she puts up with me,
Takes each day at a time, level headed
Mother of three and also a Grandmother.

But to me : a wife, a soul mate,
My connection to life's destiny.
She brought to birth our dear children,
Now their's are poised to mold the World.

Connie is the breath of our union
Who has stabilized our marriage,
Allowing the growing family peace
To function, each at their own pace.

I pray you remain your own self.
I pray you always have good health.
I pray all struggles are of the past.
I pledge, Dear, my enduring love.

As I look across the living room
I see you there ... .

   Ronald C. Downie

Words I hold forever in my heart, your husband, Ron.

My Dearest

   My Dearest

Immeasurable are those strengths you play
Upon all the people you meet each day.
Your pleasantness brings them joy, they say.
I see you as they, but also, in another way.

You are like :

Sipped fine wine found deeply warm
First cup of hot coffee in the morn

Flow of a swift brook murmuring on
Charge of the Schuylkill after a storm

Energy pent up in high test octane
Soft lilting down of damp lite rain

Rhythm of waves on sand etching foam 
Heat of a shower soothing cold from the bone

Tart citrus juice squeezed fresh from trees
Flower's thick sweet nectar collected by bees

Also :

The relief of spring water's cool refreshing sips
And, especially most of all, my own sweet miss,
The loving caress of your warm kiss
Willingly drawn from those sweet lips.

   Ronald C. Downie

A birthday poem for my wife, Connie, a loving soul mate.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



Down sunup slopes piercing Arctic arrows
Feather King Boreas's annual winter's cough 
As isobar squeezed gradients loosed expectorant 
Piles deep upon cold North's cauldron polar froth .

Formed and carried grains of frozen frost
Covered each known age, just as those long lost 
In snow, whether which way from Mother Nature tossed .

Ensconced in caves man left imprints
Lit warm by strike of sparking flints .
In paint, we see their dream wall prints .

Sun, prone to sleep, night outweighs the day.
Hunter- Gatherer's time is up, gone astray ,
From force of seed kissed alive by solar's ray .

Strong roof on sturdy walls rise up supreme to rule .
Fire is furnaced, summer's heat needs air conditioned cool ,
Switch on, behemoths belch electric to turn their tool .

Cape Canaveral stallions saddled up to fly ,
They hurl Universe Masters , pad fired , up to sky .
" Challenger " ORing , Gods fed while wailing widows cry .

Rocketeers know ellipse and find slant of axis way .
But : seed sprout ,bud set, fertile flower's formed fruit
To please bowed heads around a family table at pray,

No ! No ! Not they ! No , not they !

   Ronald C . Downie  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sherri, My Daughter, Words For Us All

December 21, 2010  6:38 EST
Solstice Greetings
Best wishes for a fruitful year.
Life is fragile, precious and impermanent.
Seize the opportunity to take advantage
of our best renewable resource 
our life.................
Love recklessly,
Live purposely
Let the growing light warm our hearts,
Give us strength and remind us that each
second is filled with endless
Love Sherri
ps...2:41 am Tuesday, lunar eclipse
and check out Pliades over head
"Flock of Doves"

Sunday, December 19, 2010



"Sapphire"they called her, it's a nickname true,
Not a "Chicken Hill" mamma, but a gemstone blue.
She touched our lives unlike most people do,
Cared and she shared and she joined the few
Whose love for life embraced you, yes, you too.

A read of Nature on this day, July 14,1993 :
A flood on the Mississippi, a quake Japan sea,
Stifling heat in the east brings most to their knee.
We watch then we read it as we wait to be free
Over that we have no control, but a prayerful plea.

We, Nature's servants, our bodies are like trees
Needing nourishment, care, and prayerful pleas.
The wind, the rain, the snows, and the freeze
Are withstood by trees with the greatest of ease.
Please, Dear God, make Joyce's body equal to these.

    Ronald C. Downie

For Joyce Hall "Sapphire" Kulp on her 60th birthday
My sister-in-law, Joyce , Affected the lives of so many people
in so many ways that it's hard to describe most of them. Certainly
anyone who knew her remembered her. Please comment if you feel a need
as I felt a need to publish this poem I wrote for her seventeen years ago.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Three Treasures

Three Treasures

Break the mold
Burn the prints
Uncork the bottle
Speed the Genie gone .

Not of, but in this World,
Eye sight sharpens
Finds Nature's way
Quietly seeking silence .

Even though Nature does nothing
Nothing is left undone .
Enough becomes enough
Everything in it's own time .

Yin and Yang, the Te,
Into a family of oneness,
The practice of eternal light
Seeing small, listening more .

Keep needs to a minimum,
Wants to all but nil, for
Within each, a Universe exists
Where no storm lasts forever .

Flow as a water course
Which seeks her own level
Softly cutting it's own way
Unequaled in strength .

Surface your sixth sense :
To see, to hear, to smell,
To feel, and to taste are
Just not enough to liberate .

Cherish "three treasures":
"Courage" gained through "mercy",
"Generosity" found in "frugality",
"Leadership" developed from "humility".

Build life one brick at a time .
With a single step each journey begins .
Originating from a single source,
Existence ultimately depends on Love .

Instead of calendar pages
A slash joining four strokes .
Non-being, being, back to non-being
As the bell begins it's final toll .

       Ronald C. Downie
   -After studying The Tao-  
Erica at arriving at 21 years

Friday, December 17, 2010

Song Tune

                Song Tune

                 The song,
             The song of life,
         The song of life is played 
             In the key of time.

Seconds tick minutes into hours for days to find
As weeks couple bearing months that years combine
Into passing decades etched forever on the mind.
Friends, in chorus, help harmonize the melody divine.

              But the tune,
            The tune is ours
          The tune is ours alone,
But the tune is ours, ours, all alone to find.

              Ronald C.Downie

Song Tune is my signature poem, sort of like, a theme song of a singer or a band. You immediately recognize the association, in my case, at least I am aware.

Though we are, everyone is, all things in The Universe are part of the sounds of this great Song and that which comprises life is highly regulated. Time extends its all powerful arm as that which a blacksmith would weld.

Left to each of us, the influential living, is a highly personal element of our existence, our own tune. We and only we can frame ourselves within a theme we pick for ourselves. Each is different so it must play to music within us, "ours, ours all alone to find."


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Voiceless Is Useless

   Voiceless Is Useless
Give up, never !  Retreat, hell no !
I've staked my corners, surveyed my lines,
My mind's made up, my resentments grow.
Join me who feel, "These are the times
That try men's souls." as Thomas Paine
Did, a long two hundred years ago.
Many years back, but still the same,
Anguish bleeds hurt from veins that flow
Patriotism and family and duty to country.

Voiceless is useless in times as these.
Inadequate, no, you don't need mastery
Of pen or voice to cry out " Freeze ":
The killing fields of weapons production,
The American dependance on fossil fuel,
The politicians underhanded seduction,
The government using you as a tool, a fool."

   Ronald C. Downie 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010



Heaped full under humped canvas
Flapping wild, is their trash secured ?
Pressing west, leaving big cities,
Not treasured their trove on board.
Sleepy eyed with the hammer down
Hears his metal stallions floored,
Gulping in clean air to guzzle fuel,
Pipes puke blue, that black lung sword.

Dank smells trail to our fair meadows
Destination figured to fume you and me.
Gonads great are gorged of garbage
Which rut our lands long green and free.
When fields serviced huge landfills rise,
But you must be careful what you cannot see.
Clear treasured waters, clean, sparkling pure
-Gone- Gone just as they, the Lenni Lenape .

   Ronald C. Downie 

Garbage , Trash , Waste

   Garbage, Trash, Waste

Modern man always finds a way to sanitize undesirable elements in his life. For example read again the title of this writing,"Garbage, Trash, Waste". When I was young everyone spoke of their unwanted throw aways as garbage. Yes, garbage that guttural sounding word that deeply reflects something very bad. 

To us sixty or seventy years ago garbage fit quite well since what was considered garbage was very little. Out onto the compost pile went ashes, kitchen wastes, dead plants and leaves while into the burn barrel went newspapers, paper bags, just about anything that would burn, though we did bundle magazines and cardboard for the rag man who, by name, took rags too. He came around with some regularity so we knew he was in the area when you heard in the distance, "Rags, Paper", over the din of the day. The rag man also sharpened scissors and knives for a small fee.

I remember garbage dumps all over the place. It seemed farmers, especially those unable to make a living from the land due to sub-marginal soil, were more than willing to allow garbage men for a fee to dump their truck loads into a ravine outback, out of sight. Many of these farmers later became pig farmers when garbage men began hauling slop wastes from restaurants and food processing plants.

Creeks and streams became polluted, then sub-surface waters were affected, the public outcry forced the state governments into action. Garbage dumps were closed down as new facilities became permitted complete with bottom liners and surface water runoff controls.

The heyday of consumerism jumped up complete with a dearth of packaging material which needed to be collected and transported to a dump. About this time garbage became trash in an attempt to sanitize the process in the public's mind. Still the operations were somewhat random in nature, even so, the scale of collection, transportation, and landfilling became bigger than a piecemeal system could handle and a new day arrived.

Many attribute the likes of "Tony Soprano" and his associates for turning trash into waste. Waste became so profitable it needed to become respectable. In my lifetime garbage, to trash, to waste has made a universal transformation from the guttural to that of sophistication whether just in name or in true reality. I hope the latter.

My poem, Destination, talks to the idea of siting landfills out here away from the mega cities which generate enormous amounts of garbage/trash/waste. Do you remember paper blowing off trash trucks on the by-pass hauling the unwanted loads to our local landfills ? Does our future have in store more landfills close around us ? Please be aware.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eyes To The Heavens

     Eyes To Heaven 

Long an observer of Berks County skies
From west wondered what ruckus implies .
Could children's chatter, playground's gleeful cries,
Be so close to hear though not seen by my eyes ?

Goose and gander, Canadians, across the pond
Shallow water succulent greens they are fond.
Muskrats pull grasses in spring as they respond.
These ponds come alive as my private neutron.

Quickly I turned to the sounds from the west,
An angled V gaggle with song from their chest.
Lost count at thirty, do they circle for rest ?
No, not today, they won't land here to nest.

But why do they sound so different from norm ?
Snow Geese who were off course by a storm.
Surely I've seen a lone Snow Goose forlorn,
But a pure white gaggle's sharp V was their form.

That surprised me in both sight and sounds.
Around us - Nature - in awe she abounds.
Gone are the Snow Geese, still Blue Birds around.
My eyes to the heavens, my heart's in the ground.

   Ronald C .Downie  
Try to read from The Book Of Nature each day to help keep you on an even keel as your day unfolds.

Monday, December 13, 2010



Plundering for energy
Greed extracts with lust
Earth's horrid demons,
Let loose...extinction ?

Faint from emissions,
Clear skies polluted
From gross bunker bile
Belched aloft as vapor :
Raising Planet's temperature,
Clouding Earth's atmosphere,
Melting every ancient ice cap,
Deserts form from fertile lands.

Forests wilt and whither 
Back they must retreat
To once much colder zones,
If unable, be forever gone.
Rising waters lap over top
Engineered built higher dykes
To tame rising, angry seas
Enraged by awful, wrecking storms.

Dreamer's fond lost memories:
Azure colored embracing skies,
Soft green slopes covered of moss,
Rainbow colors pastel in flowers,
Winter's whiteness, Spring's rebirth,
Summer's warmth, Autumn's harvest.

But,"We Pledge Allegiance...",
Sing,"America The Beautiful",
Love high performance automobiles 
Which speed beyond set limits,
Desire every darn device devised,
We worship the arrogance of excess:
With 4% of World's population
We consume 20% of World's energy.

Is our future very pretty ? Or,
Are we to be like lowly Frogs
Placed in pot of cold water
Brought up to a rolling boil ?
Will we stew slowly, swimming
Happily in the warming water
Until voiceless, then croak ?
What will be our cooking time ?
Just how long can we last ?
Frogs, Frogs, you and me, Frogs.

Jump! Jump! Get out of that pot !
Holler! Holler! Don't, no, do not croak!
Honor a basic, primary oath -
  "First - Do No Harm -"
Be a doctor to the Earth
     "Do No Harm !"

     Ronald C. Downie

What's the words heard sung ? "When will we understand". Today? Tomorrow? Ever?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dream It

     Dream It

A green open field awaits - an invitation,
Enter and look all around - an inspection,
Walk it , feel it , smell it - anticipation,
Think it and deep dream it - destiny's revelation .

When plowed then sown, the yield 
Is drawn from tilth the field 
Held bosom close with heart 
And soul entwined, life's start .

Harvest that which you must
Return sustenance as trust .
The circle starts and ends 
Which part are we its friends?

When the light fades dim we turn in sad goodbye ,
Moving on only to look back with a sigh .
A dream ? Was it real ? Know, not I .
Tomorrow's tomorrow ,surely, life's worth the try.

          Ronald C. Downie

My Thoughts The Posted Poet

My Thoughts - The Posted Poet


The Book Of Life of each individual is paged open by their own Hand Of Time revealing a just completed episode in their life. There is no use peeking at unturned pages since they are still blank and not yet written.

Therefore, we must live each day as it unfolds and deal with its consequences. Doing so, we hope to gain some knowledge that will help guide us in making future decisions easier to accept.

Learning from the past makes us stronger to face the future, now unknown to us, which will arrive in its own due time. 

Then, and not until then, will another page be written and ready to be laid open.

   Ahimsa !

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grandson Evan Upon Attaining Seventeen Years

    Evan At Seventeen

Ever since the beginning of time:
When we humans raised upright,
Fought off hungry beasts of prey,
Trudged across the vast savannas,
Met wide rivers, circled huge lakes,
Scaled the steepest, bridged the deepest,
Joined the tribe, fought to stay alive,
Read cover to cover the Book Of Nature,
Sang life songs, drew life art on cave walls,
Man socialized, then bastardized our Planet.

Within each young boy struggling to emerge
Is an adult's body formed of harsh ancestry 
Tempered by eons just learning to survive.

Survival was the unlocking key for your arrival
At the broad, long desired doorstep of Manhood.

Congratulations, Evan, Wear It Well !

With all our love, Nanny and Pop Pop.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Reason For Being

 A Reason For Being

A poem like a story, a song, a yarn or a tale, or a communication or just a conversation has a reason for being. Thoughts come to mind that need to be, are itching to be, amplified. 

The following poem, A Cry From Mid-Space, was written at a time in my life when those things I dreamed about doing were not going to happen. In a long life unrealized dreams are commonplace. Moving on in spite of desires being unfulfilled enables a person to dream anew. When we lose the capacity to dream the flames of hope flicker out as the path to fulfillment blurs until a new spark lights the way for dreams to reoccur. 

What's the old adage ? "It's not the number of times you are knocked down, it is the number of times you get up, that counts."

   Ronald C Downie

A Cry From Mid-space

    Cry From Mid-Space 

God damed you dreams ! Whore no more to me, release me
To covet grayness bleating from a sullen sky .
Don't show me violets pure nor roses gay that cry
My inter soul awake . No !  I must not think free .

Chain my mind, please stem that emotion swell
Within this hide so I do not hope in vain .
In image of his maker man can train
As oxen yoked to circle round the well .

I can not define mid- space where dreamers dwell ,
Far sight a scene then slowly squint it into
Mental pictures , like a frosted pane looked through ,
Is it real ? Is it heaven ? Is it, well is it, hell ?

Theater must be a hell for a lost dreamer's soul :
Not in dance around soothing flames and crackling sounds
That flow the senses' veins ; but of grey ash mounds 
Staged of choking soot waiting to fill a dreamer's hole .

Accept the young, they have not traversed the gorge 
Left by dreamers old whose torrent thoughts erode .
Fill the young with placid manna lest they explode
With alien notions thinking they're their own Saint George . 

Dreams - damn you !  Lay not your head on my breast this day .
Free me, so I may see what our Nation antes up :
Those dull, brow bent cast of actors who hold the cup,
Which keeps America hostage and wastes a dreamer's play .

   Ronald C . Downie    

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Only The End Remains

    Only The End Remains 

Before light - the beginning - then light :
Then magma, and lava, and basalt rock :
Earth, water, and air : morning, noon, and night :
Cells, then wigglers, swimmers, fliers, man : and clock,
Calendar and hour glass : to segment and measure,
To regulate and order, to plan and design :
For goods and services, for necessity and pleasure :
House, factory, and store : and for cars made fine .

Highly speeding around a curve a car leans
Outward from center in an act of separation .
Quickening minds defiantly tug at pent up dreams
Waiting release to burst forth with sensation .

Find hidden roads to distant horizons that you seek,
Move, the sky line moves, sight it, fades another hue .
Awaken all your senses, act strongly not weak,
Be, rather then to just seem, forevermore be true .

Nearing the end, does fleeting time go faster,
Or, does awareness lost from aging veins
Deem doddering slowness become the master
Of the clock winding down ? Only The End Remains !

   Ronald C . Downie

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Memory Of Steve Kurtz

   In Memory Of Steve Kurtz

Yesterday, on the anniversary of the horror remembered as Pearl Harbor sixty-nine years prior, Elizabeth Edwards died from the scourge of breast cancer. Cancer has taken the lives of more people than all the wars combined but this crucible of death kills its victims one at a time. Each of us have experienced the death of a loved one or an acquaintance from cancer one death at a time.

Steve Kurtz, my son-in-law and soul mate of my daughter, Sherri, for forty years was the father of two : daughter, Alix, and son, Stephen. He died one year ago today, December 8th, from a losing battle with cancer. To all who knew Steve his death was a close personal loss. To number crunchers his death added one to the total number someone tallies for a report. 

This is also "Jimmy V Week" known to basketball enthusiasts when country wide donation appeals are everywhere on television to support cancer research. A much heralded basketball coach, Jim Valvano, died from cancer during his prime years, much like my son-in-law, and, to their credit, the basketball community unselfishly took up the challenge to fund cancer research and labeled it "Jimmy V Week".

Off budget our country has fought two very expensive wars while also off budget our country has decided to add nearly one more trillion dollars to the debt. As a culture America has long passed over the idea of paying for things as they occur; such as for wars or tax relief for the super rich. What would happen if a couple of trillion dollars were spent on eradicating cancer instead of buying bullets or drones or nukes?

Parceled out, one at a time, the enormity of the total deaths from cancer looses urgency in a society's psyche. The public embraces the aftermath of hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, just about any earthly malfunction since they visually abrupt the norm of the day. Cancer is stealth like, progressively declining its victim's vigor, silently encroaching on a life style, and then cancer begins its demand for its pound of flesh. Only the end remains !

The Relay For Life has taken up the challenge locally with an appreciated success for its record fund raising performances over the years. When will the spirit of The Relay For Life enter every legislator's soul to draw their thinking to make war on cancer rather than war on countries and cultures?

I think of Steve, my parents, my business partners, my classmates, my co-workers, my relatives, my close friends, my ... the list goes on and on in an endless addition. To me the enormity of just my total of cancer victims mirrors an earthly catastrophe. Legislators-where are you hiding when the sky is falling down all around us ?

   Ronald C. Downie


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bob Jones

  Bob Jones

It has been eight years since Bob Jones left the employ of The Borough as Pottstown Borough Manager. A retired Admiral in The U.S. Navy came to Town in a pivotal time in our history. Financial doom if not rune cast a dark shadow on the horizon. Bob surveyed the lay of the land, charted a new course, chose a new crew, took the wheel, and cast off into the future. Now eight years later, though times are very tough, fruits of his vision of a town surviving remain strong.

Jones by realizing the aptitude and attitude of his assistant manager, Dave Forrest, untied his hands which allowed Dave to aggressively pursue financial grants that are apparent today.

Growing up in New England's tobacco country Bob keeps a memento of this heritage, the steel head of a specialized spear point. The steel point was attached to a wooden shaft which allowed the user to thrust the spear through the mass at the base of a mature tobacco plant impaling it on the shaft. When the shaft was full of green plants it was detached from the point and the shaft full of tobacco plants was hung in a drying barn so the tobacco could cure.

Bob Jones and I spoke quite often about his youth and about some of his exploits at sea. Throughout Man's history the story or the tale has been recorded for posterity. The poem has been used also to record in a synthesized way. With the poem poets try to join the mind with the heart so a tug from emotion surfaces. In doing so we try to describe and define, record a story, or name something that can live beyond the immediate which should be left for reporters of news to tell of today's happenings.

  Ronald C. Downie

Of Yankee Stock This Admiral

 Of Yankee Stock This Admiral

Rod steel drawn, point hammered sharp
To pierce the heart of the harvest crop
By keen eyed males strong in muscle tone,
Who can thrust the spear, drive it home.

Jones left New England's warriors as a youth
For a southern education to learn the truth,
That the Earth is covered mostly in water .
"To sea in ships", Bob obeyed passion's order.

"Red at night is a sailor's delight."

Man is drawn and hammered like tempered steel,
While a ship on course is a function of its wheel.
Tempered from birth, Bob Jones born of Yankee stock,
Charts in hand, his ships will stay safely off the rock.

"Red in the morning is a sailor's warning."

That rust belt trilogy: Disinvestment, Decline, and Debt,
Could not deter a tour in Pottstown for this retired Vet.
Taking command, charting a new course, Jones took over the wheel,
Shirting shoals he found favorable currents, Bob's will-steel.

Pottstown is safely in its harbor, new charts point the way.
All assembled here ,Thank You Bob Jones, on this December day.

May all your evenings be bathed in a comforting reddish hue,
And may all your mornings be bright, may the Sun shine true.

  Ronald C. Downie
  December 29,2002

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Value OF Meaningful Work

        The Value Of Meaningful Work

For nine years during the decade of the '60's I worked at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Lower Pottsgrove .While working there I met so many self made men that I wondered what was the key to their character ? When I engaged them in conversations I pressed them to explain how their former years were spent. Most were veterans of WW11 and attributed their character to the regiment of being in the military, the act of leaving home when still young, and their realization that there is value in a chain of command system .

War was not all that formed character . The older ones, some too old to serve in the war, told a similar tale of early development . These fellows were from families caught up in the Depression with little or no family income and no jobs in sight. They also left home at an early age and entered into a paramilitary style organization, the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, a works program for young men
aged 18 to 25 .

Their tales about life in the CCC were compelling . Newly away from home and family they bunked in log type cabins erected by earlier crews of Corps workers led by men trained in carpentry and construction . The newly arrived came with few skills, though at that time in our country most young men came from a stable family whose need was a livable income . It was the mandate of the Corps to take untrained young men and give them a job needing little prior experience.These jobs were mostly involved in work at public parks, in our public land's forests, and along our meagerly developed highway system .

Three square meals a day, a regiment of sleep time, work time, break time, all in a semi-relaxed supervisory atmosphere that gave these men structure in their daily life. They each received a small allowance with the rest of their wages being sent home to the struggling families there . Each to a man felt their work while in the CCC was spent for a greater good, for the good of the country, as sort of, for a noble cause. Each expressed a feeling that their lives turned out much better for them having spent time in the CCC and had no regrets for their service time .

Today the young, both males and females, need similar structure in their lives which their fathers and grandfathers lived two generations prior which dramatically changed their lives for the better. Of course the question remains : Could the government today create a 21'st Century equivalent to the CCC of earlier times? After that question is answered, a larger question begs an answer, should our government reinstitute the CCC today ?

If you answer, Yes, to these questions you join me in my way of thinking . It seems we must move away from a cowboy mentality of : arrogant independence, gun on hip, open range to ride, dumb heifers (people) to herd, deserving mine and taking it, the Hell with you, I  got mine . 

Let's press Washington to institute a 21'st Century CCC that will give the young adults among us an alternative to a wasted start without meaningful work at home, without a personal structure governing daily activities, without some sense of order and supervision, and without a goal of common interest, namely, for the good of the whole, for the good of the country, for the good of the planet, and mainly for the good of the self .

    Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rebirth Of Pottstown

   Rebirth Of Pottstown

John, John Potts, what was it like,
When first to this place you came?
You conceived a form, a town was born,
That forevermore carries your name .

You pledged your trust to a westward bluff,
Meandering east a lovely creek ran clean   
To a river pure that had in store
The demand for the black rock glean .

The Schuylkill tamed from Holland named
She's a marriage of creeks and many streams .
But the scourge of time, discharge of slime
Was in ignorance of man's best dreams .

So, John, again we'll look to her use,
To draw life for your town worn down .
Will the river forgive past utter abuse
And revive the rebirth of Pottstown ?

   Ronald C . Downie   

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Beneath Sky Delft

     Beneath Sky Delft

Beneath sky delft a soft dapple cloud
Pillows early autumn's nodding slumber,
As cold winter stirs north slope proud,
By the seasons, four's the total number,
    A cycle repeated on Earth then etched into Eternity.

Naked trees openly pray heavenward 
Braced against a harsh winter's wroth,
Pregnant buds swell forever forward
To spring, a yearly primal lesson taught
    Of evolution, that universal biological fraternity.

A discordant man slumbers all seasons
In a blatant affront to Natural Law,
While playing God, Moonwalker reasons
Sovereignty implicit, looking up, man saw
     Vast Heavenly bodies, but completely forgot, maternity.

    Ronald C. Downie

For Daughter, Sherri, upon her birthday 

My daughter,Sherri,is an accomplished poet who,I hope,will expose more people to her creations.I think more people should allow themselves to write in whatever style pleases them. In my mind there is neither a wrong way nor a right way of writing,though,by the tests of time there are some norms most people observe and honor.

In today's world I remain baffled by contemporary poetry which seems to pride itself in being so oblique which to these writers must be thought of as being on the cutting edge.

Do you find yourself at a store looking over a rack of cards, reading one after the other, finding it difficult to choose the "just right one"? Don't sweat it, we've all done it. It was
Because of this that I began writing my poems when I asked myself, " Ron, could you write something any better?",so I tried and I've kept writing ever since.

Now if an old farmer like me,unable to spell properly,poorly adapted to grammar,equally deficient in punctuation,and grounded in the earth writes so can you. " A body at rest seeks to remain at rest,when in motion seeks to continue in motion." as I remember "The Law Of Inertia". Get moving, get writing by writing a letter to a family member, get moving.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Carousel PTC#9

    The Carousel - PTC #9-

Round and round, up and down,
Horse and lion, giraffe and hound,
Children laughing, smiling, asking,
Please, please ! Again, again !
Another ride ! Please, again !

Nostalgia, dreams, oh memory,
Young and old, all, everybody,
Climb abroad ! The organ plays 
Familiar tunes of bygone days .

1905 at the birth of Century Twenty
Wood carving artisans hew a plenty
Standards and jumpers to stencil then paints
Murals of landscapes, portraits of Saints .

The ring, the ring, get the brass ring,
Coveted is such a small round thing .
Heart jumping, anticipation high
Circling round and around for another try .

One hundred years soon gone by
Hark, listen to echoes of a joyous cry
Melded within these ancient pieces
For boys and girls, nephews and nieces .

In tribute to you fine workers all :
Helpers, investors, you believers tall,
We will honor his memory forevermore
For the living : those happy, healthy, and well
The Derek Scott Saylor Memorial Carousel .

   Ronald C . Downie 

These are festive times in Pottstown,Friday, December 3,on High Street at our Town Center Park. Christmas season is upon us with food, music, and song while lights and activity excite.
The carousel was to do all these things, and more, and on an every day basis so it would invigorate our Town worn down. More than a decade has passed since the Grand Idea of an operating vintage carousel located here in Pottstown. The staying power of those activests remains a wonderment to me and I applaud them.

When Pottstown rebounds by awakening into a new era of prosperity the things like parks, public events, cleanliness and orderliness, will be commonplace and a functioning attraction like The Carousel P T C #9 will shine through for it's foresight.

We build on the past to assure a future because the beauty of a horizon is that it shifts as the viewer shifts to expose new opportunities to achieve. I understand a new cheerleading school is forming, possibly already formed, to cheer on Teem Pottstown. Good Luck !

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not So Funny This Limerick

  Not So Funny This Limerick

"May West" twin towers
Duce my eastern sky
And harangue dawn sun's
Awakening smile.

Concrete slip formed heavenward
Now plume gaseous 
Vapors steamed hot to
Cool the bowels of
Domed chain reaction.

So long familiar
Just formed white -grey clouds
Join with crossing winds
Whose path's direction
Unknown until trailed.

East the other day
I looked in dismay,
No vapors to veil 
The violet sky. Why?

"Three Mile Island" chill 
Raised my neck hairs to stand.
What monsters eons 
Past collage synapse 
To recoil this theme?

Gone is familiar so
Instinct rules the day.

"Shut down" they called it,
"Inadvertent though",
The official line.

  Ronald C. Downie
I just caught the local,PCTV show, The Ace Report, last night about the Limerick Electric Generating Plant. Ace has a way to bury a viewer with statistics which I am sure are valid but maybe over stated to a point more like hysteria. I like Donna and Dr. Colbert a lot and I think they put their hearts and souls into their soundings of alarm. With that understanding, I sent them the above poem that also sounds an alarm, as well as,voices my display of a fear of the unknown which, I bet, many locals have. Somehow the Public must realize the enormity of the potential danger Limerick posses and gather around Ace so important questions they ask are indeed answered. We, the Public, must be more than expendable collateral damage if a horrific accident occurs at Limerick. Stories, letters, poems, songs, plays, are other vehicles needed to be used to sound the alarm that we know a problem exists there so we, The Public, can be assured our government is looking out for our best interests

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Day

          Turkey Day

High School Football season ends officially
In towns about noon on Thanksgiving Day,
Not on Ringing Hill or down Sanatoga way .
The grunt's game began at 2 PM traditionally .

In the 1950's about 1 o'clock Turkey Day 
Fellows began arriving out behind LPE School :
Young and old, in shape or not, wise or fool,
Rag tag or football wise, kick off to come soon .
R. Hill : Jack, Bill Bechtel ; Sanatoga : the Burns's,
Eddie Albert, Jack Babel, Tassy, and the Schott's
Ringing Hill : the Spohn's, Lin Bieler, the Mitch's,
And me . I played in this game for many years .

Fifty years later, memory slipping, who'd I forget ?
The Koren's for Ringing Hill ; Earnie, George for them.
Age presses up against the reality of fleeting time
To rob the picture of faces, and bodies, and play.

Rules, who worried about rules, kick off the damed ball.
No one wore pads, some wore a hat if it was windy,
But it wasn't until the shoes or sneakers came off that
A true earnestness surfaced, in barefoot, speed accelerated . 

Since August some of us had practiced in full gear,
Played a full schedule of High School Football games,
Prided ourselves in wins and discounted our losses
With less fanfare, then was anticipation for this "real" game. 

Up and down the wind blown field from sideline to sideline,
Men and boys played at blocking and tackling, running
And throwing, in an earnest effort or just to have some fun.
The yearly game of random intent came to forgotten conclusions.

Gone, but for memories, some still living others long dead,
The Prize, bragging rights for a short while, the true worth
As always, individuals banding together at some sort of play
Where the journey far outweighed the outcome of the contest.

   Ronald C. Downie

LPE- Lower Pottsgrove Elementary School on Pleasantview Road, Sanatoga,
Dedicated to many friends, lifelong closest, Jack Bechtel and Linwood Bieler.     

Monday, November 29, 2010

Footsteps Of A Thousand Generations

Footsteps Of A Thousand Generations 

Foot steps of a thousand generations
Formed my path's early morning walk
Along the river among the fowl ,
Between leafing fauna, seeking sight of 
Critters , different not that much from
Those seen by our ancestors, who
In their own good time, communed 
With our same Schuylkill River Mother.

Today's steps, increasingly halting and measured,
Drew me, while slowly shuffling along,
To observe a large family of geese
Soldering their goslings, skirting
Both swift waters and hidden shoals,
Those the acts of teaching an 
Awareness of potential dangers .

Nature repeats, repeats, repeats,
Always repeating, which forms
The waves of the living tide .

Ronald C. Downie 

The read of Nature each day is an important link to the very existence of self. We are as much Nature as the trees, the anamals, soil, rock, and all. We are of it while in it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Comfortable Host

   A Comfortable Host 

Horizons meld hills for eyes to climb ,
Far distance blurs their sharp images ,
Also , does the real passage of time .
Nineteen twenty one (1921) , vestiges

Long gone : trolleys and their rust weary rails ,
Rutted cobblestones , worn down brick ,
Etchings of wagon wheels mark their trails .
Four score years grows memories thick .

The Century Club chose Potts's High Street
Casselberry House for it's beginning .
Forty years there , double it ,repeat
Forty years while still remembering :

The smell of linseed from shoe hardened old wood
That squeaked and groaned with each foot step .
Dappled sun light peeking in where tall windows stood .
"Shhh ! Be quiet, please !" Rules strictly kept .

When words emerge from their book covers :
Distance alters and time accepts change ,
Dreams seek children , their fathers and mothers ,
Stories flow rivers , climb mountains , ride range .

Facts flow from open pages into the mind
And swells clear, deep streams of knowledge .
Wonder grows wisdom we all may find ,
Cause reading hones that sharpened edge .

Libraries draw horizons close ,
Time finds them a comfortable host .

   Ronald C . Downie 

Written for the occasion and read to the assembled commemorating  the eightieth anniversary of the founding of The Pottstown Public Library .(2001) 
A symbol of a maturing town was a library being sited there which happened here in Pottstown in 1921.It is still a major player in the town, even though, cyberspace surrounds us.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Blizzard

   First Blizzard Of The Season

Relish the first blizzard of the season
Watch for swirls of yellow and brown ;
Autumn early seems the reason 
All the lawns are covered in town.

     It is a time when :

Damp mist steams up from the river,
Foot steps leave their prints in the dew. 
Morning sun gets red and redder,
Vast flocks fly all birds but a few.

Thin herringbone clouds stripe the sky,
Heading south geese V in a flock,
Crows land and depart with a cry.
Farmers watch weather like a clock.

Goldenrods garnish the meadows
Stately corn tans tall on the stalk,
In gardens wilt the tomatoes,
Deep breaths smoke great puffs as we walk.

Pumpkins rough petal's fashion,
Straight up,smoke stretches chimneys tall.
Witch and goblin excite child passion.
Snowing down - leaves announce - Fall !

        Ronald C . Downie  
If you watched the sky you may have already seen this season's First Blizzard .

Friday, November 26, 2010

Song Tune

         Song Tune

        The song,
    The song of life,
The song of life is played in the key of time.

Seconds tick minutes into hours for days to find
As weeks couple bearing months that years combine
Into passing decades etched forever on the mind.
Friends, in chorus, help harmonize the melody divine.

            But the tune,
        The tune is ours
    The tune is ours alone,
But the tune is ours, ours, all alone to find.

              Ronald C.Downie

I consider this poem my signature poem sort of like a singer or an orchestra known by a song or tune as soon as it's played.
The Song of life is all around us in all the Sounds of the universe. But we are limited by this thing called time, the ultimate regulator of life. It is the tune, our own personal tune, that must concern us. Our own tune is ultimately all that we have of our own selves.