Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Past / Knowledge - Future / Wisdom

The Past Is Knowledge, The Future, Wisdom

Water like thought calms when slowed
Into deep pools at quiet depths
Where mud and murk bottom settles
To clear the liquid for it's continued trip .

Thought, if not allowed to calm
And settle out nonessential 
Clutter keeping the mental stream
Clean, finds no clear ideas will surface .

As water makes it's long journey 
To the sea it encounters swiftly
Moving rapids and falls that roar
Before it again pools and calms .

So too, the mind's mental travel path
Must shoot the turbulences of doubt ,
Navigate trouble, and evil, and fear ,
Each cascading down until calm calms .

Ever since the dawning of time
When water appeared on the earth 
It adapted to Earth's Natural Laws,
Repeat, repeat, over and over, repeat .

In his time upright man found force
Beyond his physical prowess when
The utter strength of his mental
Ability raised him above common beasts .

The sun, the moon, stars, earth, water,
The air, the eagle, fire, wind, and rain
Man would experience and then worship .
But, as with water, strong storms disturb,

Alters flows, and interrupts calm
Quite common with Nature's way .
But thinking man dreams about the future
Thus he soon becomes uncertainty's victim .

The past is knowledge, the future, wisdom 
And through time knowledge accumulates ,
But wisdom is fickle , and the needed spark
Not timely, so wisdom has to be nurtured .

Water flows everywhere to the
Same Laws Of Gravity, while thought ,
Not contained within our physical world ,
Flows in a stream we seek to posses .

    Ronald C . Downie  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pottstown As A Community

Pottstown As A Community
   Pottstown is a small town made up of neighborhoods, which in turn, are made up of individual blocks of homes. We live within the environment of our block. The value of each person's home is affected by the condition of his neighbors' homes. The worst home on the block drags down the value of each home on the block. Municipal involvement must address upgrading the condition of those deficient homes.
Ronald C. Downie

View From My Front Porch

View From My Front Porch
   From my rocking chair I look west, north and south at a church, a rehabilitation facility, and twelve houses of my neighbors. I live in a nice neighborhood with concerned neighbors who mostly keep their properties very well kept. There are two of these dozen houses needing attention.
   Looking south/west I see the home of an elderly women who has recently moved into an assisted living facility while her house has taken on an unkept, overgrown image. I'm sure the family who comes regularly to pick up the mail sees the decline but, while trying to keep costs in check, they don't take into consideration the dragging down of the quality of the neighborhood. A block is only as good as the worst house on that block.
   Looking north/west up the street I see a house under stress needing help. For years now their three step, prefabricated, concrete entrance way has eroded away so now there is no second step but only loose, crumbled stones and concrete pieces. Above these eroded steps up over the doorway is about a twelve foot piece of raw, unpainted wood filling in a gap left where a decorative glass window once was. This enclosed front porch seems to have been in a stage of being painted but never finished. Out at the curb sits a vehicle which hasn't moved for many a month and may, if not probably, not have a current inspection let alone a current license.
   Again, a block is only as good as the worst house on that block. I suggest trying to survey your own block so you too can give credit where it's due, and criticism where it's warranted.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, May 27, 2011



  "Never begrudge a hungry person a meal", Gran'Pa Downie admonished me often. I live within sight of a church which offers meals once a week to members of the community in need. The need is there in large numbers and I commend the Cluster and their affiliated church members who make it all possible.
  But, I am also a little confused. Just how much does a cigarette cost ? 
  With the breeze coming my way, numerous wafts of tobacco smoke came to me on my porch from the church parking lot when the meal was over. I paid special attention from my vantage point to count how many dinner guests lit up as they left the church. My count told me over a quarter of the adults lit up cigarettes as they departed. 
  Who am I, a person who smoked - who last smoked a cigarette 50 years ago - to question those who smoke ? I point out this episode to question the fact
of needy people showing up for free food because they're financially strapped, but yet, many have money to buy cigarettes. I guess we all live our lives prioritizing what is vitally important to us at the time we act on it. 
  Those who supply and serve food to the needy must wonder when they see so many light up on expensive cigarettes. The Cluster people, I'm sure, know the ills of smoking pointed out by the science of medicine. The question remains, is one of the factors 
of poverty a need to continue smoking by spending scarce dollars to supply this craving ? 
  Further, should society urge the Cluster to educate their wards, the poor they service, about not only the cost of buying cigarettes, but also, about the costs involved in reduced health viability from smoking ? It seems the poor need to be fed both through their stomachs and, also, through their minds. 
  Again I ask, how much does a cigarette cost ?

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, May 26, 2011

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 then 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 new 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, May 25, 2011

Rain Forests Cry Out

Rain Forests Cry Out 

Rain forests cry out in searing pain
Listen- hush- their teardrops rain
Down in agony on thoughtless man
Whose allegiance lusts a fatal plan.

Self -centered in worship of his navel 
Believes wrongly that the Earth enable
So few use so much- unholy contempt
Of Natural Law- from which none exempt.

"Lord Of Lords", unquenched greed, bastard seed
Planted in exhausted soil . You are in need 
Of : purpose, values, and true tested honesty ,
Pillars used forever to uphold Life's Tapestry .

Hoe out noxious greed, build proper tilth
In soils of concern . There's a vast wealth
From loudly speaking out, so join with voices
Who shout, " I will not accept wrong choices !"

Ronald C . Downie   

Monday, May 23, 2011

Haiku 19

Haiku 19

Thunder and lightning,
Announce a summer's strong storm -
Sun rays breath relief.

Hollering loudly
Bitter words of harsh distain 
Reduces your worth.

Buckwheat blueberry
Pancake breakfast hits the spot -
Where is the bacon ?

Out my front window,
I spy on fine feathered friends -
They love to eat too.

Overcast again,
Sunday mornings should be bright -
Tired of news shows.

Try writing Haiku,
Three lines - five, seven, five - beats,
Express inner thoughts.

Save one breath to read
Haiku, a short expression -
Woven tapestry.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, May 20, 2011

Haiku 18

Haiku 18

I'm seeking sunshine,
Tired of cloudy dark skies -
Oh ! Forgot last week.

Green grass grows and grows,
Connie needs to mow and mow -
Slow and slow, am I.

Watch out for pot holes,
Winter leaves her calling card -
Nasty memories.

I love my front porch,
Here my universe begins  -
Eyes closed, music on.

Walkers and runners
Pass with a wave and a smile -
They enter my life.

I flirt with angels,
Memories, seven decades -
End or beginning ?

Rain, rain go away,
Come again some other day -
Old Ron needs his porch.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fiddle And Fife

Fiddle and Fife

The notes of music for this life,
Written both for fiddle and fife;
Heard as strings for dancing feet,
Leading marchers down the street.

We experience the former more today.
Thank goodness for the bands who play
Music to spirit off quite a common day.
For parades only, in step, marchers sway.

Mid-May we're waiting for Memorial Day.
Shortly, will summer bring sunshine's ray
To ward off the thunder and it's rains,
So burgers cook over coals hot flames.

We are those people of this little town
Settled here, none of us of much renown,
Who go about their business day to day,
Many loved dance, some marched away.

A town is built of sticks, mortar and stone ;
It's citizens created of sinew, blood and bone.
Neighborhoods spring from households who hope ;
The family, in it's strength, finds ways to cope.

You may find a farmer born and raised here
Caring for the field and flocks, fencing deer,
She let's us all know how FarmVille is doing,
Walks the dog, picks flowers, stirs what's stewing.

Ronald C. Downie

For Deb Mizic Downie upon her birthday 5-19-2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Haiku 17

Haiku 17

Into Earth orbit,
Rocketing toward Heaven -
Gabby Gifford's mate.

Thunder storms last night,
Tree rings in giant circles -
Will read a good year.

We cry with the sad,
We search our hearts for the weak -
We laugh at ourselves.

How important is
Education for the young ?
Country's safe future.

If you're gone Sunday,
I'll respect the Rapture -
Left behind am I. 

Tuesday election,
Incumbents' records are poor -
Think before you vote.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, May 16, 2011

May - Haiku 16

The Month Of May, Haiku 16

May Day gone away,
Mid month brings light rain today -
Choose it, work or play. 

Blow up a balloon,
Just as full as it can be -
Prick it, "bang", release !

Fill your head with fear,
Unreasoned worry stills laughs -
The World loves "Happy" !

Color cures sadness,
Each day finds a new flower -
Gardens of rainbows.

Nature's blood, raindrops,
Fills the veins that provides life -
So old this cycle.

Friday the thirteenth,
Many people will worry -
Keep your fingers crossed.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mr. Hylton's Folly

Mister Hylton's Folly

  I supported a previous school board's action plan to create a campus within the Washington Street Corridor for all grade school students. Further, the plan proposed to sell off present elementary school properties to be primarily used for senior housing built by independent investors. This and an additional economic stimulus would come from the placement of the new campus in an area of Pottstown desperately needing a physical upgrade. Combining both economic stimuli the financial viability of this action plan was well within the budget parameters set by the school board. A win-win in every sense of the word, our younger students would have won by having a state of the art facility to learn at and our town would win by reversing the downturn of Pottstown property assessments we are now experiencing. 

  Mr. Hylton railed against this plan and fanned the flames of opposition especially among the weak unsuspecting who love to be against any change since they desire to be led rather then to be informed. Tom carries the"Cross"of walkable schools beyond reason which clouds his vision for the future.
He tends to slant statistics in his favor, as he behind the scene, has surrogates inflame the public, those with little knowledge and who are very easily herded along.

  Don't get me wrong, on balance Pottstown is better off that Mr. Hylton lived here and advocated his positions even though I disagree with some of them. Primarily he championed the planting of shade trees in the borough, a true asset.

  Tom Hylton is a gifted writer and an avid walker. It is sad, in my way of thinking that he, who could have been a renaissance man, allowed himself to be caught up in a time warp that he could not escape. A loner, he lacks social skills necessary to engage in normal conversation which has a way of tempering a person's thought process. The public's perception of Tom seems to be that he is arrogantly self centered and thinks he is better than you are. This has been personified in his elected term on the School Board where each meeting is a battle, as well as, his dismissal by Pottstown's Borough Council from the Shade Tree Commission and the Planning Commission.

  Influence for the good of the whole is admirable but when used by a zealot to promote a personal agenda it is counter productive. Governing has, in the end, always leaned toward compromise limiting the far out extremes in favor of the middle ground. Public characters come and go and leave their imprints on history for good or bad. Perception carries the day in real time, although, the scorecard of history generally discounts it in favor of understanding the truth seen through the lens of time.

  "Hope rests eternal", I've heard said often so to you who have read this keep up hoping that our town survives its turmoils.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Schuylkill River Flow On

   Schuylkill Flow On 

Rain droplets drumming echo the beat
That lilting , white snowflakes repeat :
" Drink as you may , waters flow on ."
Wherever ripples heard -" Earth's Song ."

" Drink as you may , waters flow on ."

High upland grow hemlock and oak ,
Maple and pine grey clouds they stroke .
Rhododendron , fern , laurel , moss 
Drink they may , Nature's use no loss .

Pools and puddles , crevice and nook ,
Trickle to rivulet , stream from brook ,
Etched valleys cut through hill and farm .
" Drink as you may , waters flow on ."

Barons despoiled rivers for smoke ,
Vast green forests turned into coke .
Black hard coal silt mud washed on down ,
Schuylkill's high, clogged, floods river town .

Miller , tanner , iron tender's strong arm
Flushed acid wastes so terrible their harm .
Now corrected they're returned to the flow ,
The Schuylkill's cleaner , still hidden she'll go .

White birchbark canoes were clean in the past ,
Early American native life sad never to last .
Strong mules pulled barges , now motors push boat ,
Long past remembered through sojourns and floats .

" Drink as you may , waters flow on ."
Hear her , see her , do her no harm ,
Dream , redeem , unhide her each day ,
Schuylkill's a jewel at work or at play .

Flow on ,flow on , Schuylkill flow on ,
Flow on , flow on , forever flow on .

      Ronald C. Downie

The Mississippi River floods and so will our own Schuylkill flood some time in the future. We'll all complain and gnash our teeth wondering why we didn't do something to mitigate the damage done. Now, out of sight out of mind, prevails .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Property Taxation

The Crime of Property Taxation

A leader, from its inception as an original member of The Thirteen Colonies, Pennsylvania, with its abundance of swift moving streams, coal, iron ore, timber, and industrious immigrants, led the early Colonies in industry and manufacturing. The value of her real estate rose proportionate to her industrious  muscle and raw material opportunities.

In the mid Twentieth Century, post WW2, Pottstown reached its pinnacle in industrial production and commercial activity. Along with numerous heavy and light industries we were the regional hub for professional businesses, banking, and service related companies. Both laborers and their managers lived within the Boro limits as our population topped thirty thousand citizens. Property values reflected the upward vitality of the Town's strength.

Then came the crash when three quarters of Pottstown's industry began their exodus along with their payrolls, not only of the workers but also the wages of the managers, and, adding insult to injury, houses came on sale at a lower than ever value in a race to the bottom price we find now. Professionals also moved out of town as everyone became more mobile in the age of the automobile. During this fifty year decline the population dropped by ten thousand and even as the cost of living rose each year property values declined or remained flat.

The only constant during this time was the cost of education which went up each year and property taxes to fund the increases went up also. No matter how much you squeeze an orange you get only so much juice from it. As a stabilizing force in most small towns, seniors, many of them on fixed incomes, must reduce their daily living costs in order to pay the rising costs of property taxes if they decide to stay in their homes. When forced from their homes the character of that neighborhood changes many times to the negative eroding the tax base further.

It seems a consensus in public thinking that an educated citizenry is an imperative to having a strong healthy country. An after thought in an agricultural society, education became more and more important as we moved into and out of the industrial revolution and we are now in the information age where education is a must. 

Today, just as important : as highways, as bridges, as water ways and ports, as trains and air lines, is education which needs to be funded accordingly. To function in the 21st Century and beyond we can't rely on outmoded methods to raise money for schools. Anchored to the land, anchored to a community both life styles of agriculture and industry adapted to property taxes supplying funds to educate her young. Now in the information age where everyone is mobile and everyone needs more education the means to pay for it is vastly inadequate.

Education is the bridge to the future and as all bridges serve all travelers an educated American serves all countrymen. Bridges are high cost structures, education costs a lot too and as bridges need to be paid for out of a general fund so must we pay for education in the same way.

Taxing property, once acceptable when agriculture and industry ruled the economy, no longer serves a proper role in the 21st Century. Building the universal bridge through education needs us to develop a universal method to pay for it.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, May 8, 2011

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

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Green Is Spring

Green Is Spring

Looking west from my front porch
Into my neighborhood, see
Spring's green in all its glory
When yellow hues mix with blue's.

Daffodils, forsythia,
The ascending morning sun, 
Tulips and crocus burst forth
With the yellow pigment sought.

Do blue hyacinths join with
Blue lilacs and heaven's sky
To supply those pigments sought?
Green dominates my eyes' sight.

Gone again the sterile bleak
Of late winter's browns and grays
Which blankets below cold snow
And buds ready to burst forth.

Awash in green leaves tall trees
Grow straight up out of green grass.
The dominant color is green
Announcing Spring's arrival. 

Ronald C. Downie

Do you, as I do, find amazement in Spring's ability to cast off winter's whows so fast when browns and greys quickly meld into greens ? Living with cycles life processes flow on without much of a notice : we sleep then awake, we work then rest, we eat then drink fluids, we dirty then wash, all as we live in nature which changes seasons without much to do about it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Energy Policy - 40 Years Without

Energy Policy - 40 Years Without

  Alternative verses Renewable - either/or - should it be both ? Tuesday, April 19 at The National Press Club Luncheon two guys, one my age, Ted Turner, the other 6 years older at 82, T. Boone Pickens, debated their current passions. 
  Ted Turner, the man who shrunk the World when he started CNN, is the chief proponent of renewable energy today. Solar, wind, and geothermal, he claims, are the only way to save humanity as we know it because these renewable energy sources do not use the energy stored up in carbon as oil, coal, and natural gas does.
  T. Boone Pickens, a wildcatter in the oil fields after graduating college with a degree in geology, is lobbying Washington to adopt a plan to transition the USA away from gas and diesel, first in our truck fleets then to the automobile, by changing their fuel to Natural Gas. Already large fleets of busses and garbage trucks have transitioned. His success will come, he asserts, when the 18 wheeler fleets which crisscross the country delivering most everything a family uses makes the change over.
  Both men realize each plan has merit : Turner's, as a long term ultimate solution ; Pickens', as a transition from dirty oil to clean natural gas especially to move goods in trucks and trains.
  Washington, to its shame both men agree, has pandered to campaign contributors who profit from the status quo by stifling a nonpartisan passage of a comprehensive energy bill that would chart America's future energy course.
  Our future is in all of our voices joining together to demand an Energy Policy along with a sympathetic press telling the true story of the World a generation out if nothing is done. The United States with only 4 percent of the World's population uses 25 percent of the World's energy so how goes the USA goes the World. 
  Joining these two old bulls in an arena where they 
would meld their energy policies the Press Club did the country a great service. The future, I realize, is in renewables but the immediate need is to swiftly ween us off dirty oil, gasoline and diesel, as we transition to renewables. Our duty is to press legislators to get on board and formulate a comprehensive energy policy that takes both Turner's and Pickens' ideas and form legislation around them. If Congress won't move, remove them.

Ronald C. Downie

As appearing in The Mercury Letters To Readers' Views May 5,2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Thoughts

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, unknown to us now, which will arrive in its own due time. 

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

   Ahimsa !

Ronald C. Downie - The Posted Poet

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Connor Kurtz At Seventeen

Connor ( at a decade plus seven ).   Happy Birthday !

What kind of person is he yet to be
Who casts shadows like a growing tree?
Will he seek real answers to set him free
With independence ? Guess, we'll wait to see .

Conditioned safe harbors are not his style,
Undaunted quests fill his personal file.
Debate him on any subject for awhile,
Sticks to his guns, gains his point with a smile.

Correspondence and communication are
His domain which needs refinement power
So his detractors will not think him sour
When, in effigy, hang him from the tower.

Potential is the mountain of his strength
That only he may control its final length.
A dogged damed determination is meant
As a marker before Connor Man is spent.

       Love, PopPop & Nanny

Beware: emerging from his den another Alpha male cub grandson of European heritage loosed upon an unsuspecting World . He will size up his peers, evaluate his  elders , calculate the leaders , and debate any who get in his way. The Universe will be his apple to take out a great big bite . World , you are put on notice !