Friday, December 30, 2011

Highways In Life

Highways In Life

Ever wonder why highways must cross
One another, intersecting as they will,
Generally in quite opposite directions,
Seeking a quick escape from the other.

Not everyone goes the same direction,
Though homogeneous, we're individuals
Bent on pursuing a destination sought.
Is your's that differently from mine ?

Many are seekers of far off horizons, 
Seen through clear eyes, while traveling 
The highways which cross one another
In directions familiar or unknown to them.

Some seek a clearly defined destination,
Others are satisfied with the trip's lure.
Getting somewhere has its own merits, 
Travel for travel's sake is often desired.

Being of the latter persuasion, I trust
The road to be my instructor  of choice,
Leading me toward new horizons melding far
Off hills with lush valleys' verdant meadows.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Haiku 70

Haiku 70

Haiku to challenge you to change the players :
Do Nothing Congress -
Bench the starters - send them home -
Vote in a new team.

Let Haiku set the stage for you :
~Home for Holidays,
~Congress gathers for eggnog -
~Unconcerned for us. 

Haiku looks at Washington's Holiday Season :
-A lump of black coal,
-Nothing else for the stocking -
-Oh ! It's stuffed with shame ?

Haiku is for both dreamer and somber thinkers :
Speaker is weaker,
As the tail wags the poor dog -
Where's his leadership ?

Haiku urges answers for questions you may raise :
Hold their feet to fire -
Congress is supposed to work
For all citizens. 

Try your own Haiku for the Holidays :
It is the season,
To be healthy, happy, well -
Days getting longer.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Haiku 69

Haiku 69

Tis the season to be Haiku jolly :
Winter Solstice Day, 
Shortest day and longest night -
Wish ahead for spring.

Haikus may not be true, but they're fun to do.
Most Medieval Courts
Had a Jester, law made fun -
Congress full of them.

Tweed'l dee - tweed'l dumb, Haiku for the fun.
"A bird in the hand 
Is worth two birds in the bush"-
Two month extension. 

Haiku is simplicity with words :
Prose - words, best order -
Poems - best words in best order -
Both tame ignorance.

A Haiku moment, thinking necessary :
House Republicans,
Tone deaf, they love super rich -
Hate the middle class. 

We need to ask local politicians by means of Haiku :
Boehner's off line,
Leading us into black holes -
Where is Jim Gerlach ?

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Generation

What Generation

Born in 1930 my brother, Andy, missed by a year being a member of The Greatest Generation and I missed by six years. Andy spent four years in the Navy during the Korean conflict, while at Penn State, I had three semesters of ROTC. Neither of us achieved the accolades garnered by those of an earlier age but I'd like to tell you about our lives in Pottstown, a college town, which molded us creating who we have become today.

Brother, Andy, returned from the West Coast when his enlistment expired. He had married a local girl while still in the service so upon arriving back to the area both got jobs and he sought tutorial help from a Hill School professor so he could academically apply for college. His application was accepted at Muhlenberg, Allentown, and with both working and him getting financial aid from The GI Bill, Andy graduated and accepted a high school teaching job in northern New Jersey. After a few years there he accepted an English teacher ship at Morris County Community College where after many decades when in his late 70's he retired and lives today nearing 82 years in Boonton, N.J.

My story parallels the boom and bust which portrays Pottstown's, which is finally a college town, history during the later half of the 20th Century and into the first decade of the 21st. Generally, if something had happened in our town during that time, I'd have known about it or had been part of it. Let me tell about the goings on in the late 1940's and early fifties.

This was the era of deep longing for your own car, an automobile, which was in such short supply because none were built during the war years and the returning vets were gobbling up used one's too quickly. So, young men enamored with motors and their chassis migrated to be around cars when they met at their favorite service station to work pumping gas and changing oil when on duty, and when not working, just to hang out. The gas station was the proving ground, the training field for their generation. There at service stations young men of this generation achieved adulthood through trial and error's unscripted associations, also then, by running through the gauntlet made up of their peers.

Informal groups formed and evolved from boys turning into men at nondescript locations like : Merkles, Epiheimers, Chick Wades, Red Arrow, Jacks, Gauglers, Merits, and numerous others. There was no demarcation time line when the locations changed from gas stations to drug stores : Ellis's, Carmel Corn, Sheridan's, Rosenberry's, Pete's, Peoples. It was at these places boys met girls and the next generations began to evolve. Here, also, the juke box and the pin ball machine made noises over the talking, joking and the loud music couples danced to while forming close relationships as youth moved into adulthood.

To the Reader's who remember those times, please fill in the voids I leave unrecognized in this written exercise. Through your memory, life take on meaning personal and, if you wish, private. Maybe you could write your own story to illuminate your family and friends of the early years.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Thoughts Of The Posted Poet

 Thoughts Of 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

Namaste, an Indian greeting
Ahimsa, all life forms sacred, so avoid all forms of violence.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holy Matrimony

Holy Matrimony 

When adoration sings out to tippy tops of tall trees, 
Trilling a warble reminiscent of yon highland clans;
The beauty of love's florescent blooms, so to please,
Bursts memorable colors of rainbow's arching bands :

Then, the truism of love's adventurous wandering
Settles into places yet to know, like ancient caves
Adorned by artistic etchings found on walls depicting 
Life not seen millenniums, but like love, time saves :

And then, the bonding of almighty heaven heaves
The chests in want of foreverness, emitting sighs.
Two into one, giving over getting, each one believes
Their longing is real, their love sincerely justifies.

In my quest for life's fulfillment, you are my Heaven
And Earth, bound in Holy Matrimony. I shout, Amen !

Ronald C. Downie, a love sonnet,
To my wife of over 47 years on this her 72nd birthday, 12/23/2011 with all my love gathered but unspoken yet to her.

Friday, December 23, 2011

When Love Is Harbored

When Love Is Harbored

When love is harbored in a safe port
Snugly moored to a very sturdy dock,
It rises and reseeds like tides court
A lunier's pass, heaven's Earth clock :

Only then, the maturing pangs of love
Exercise a wanting nearness of desire,
Which unfolds as ageless as time's dove
Hovering, pointing a path lovers require :

And then up anchor, heading out to sea,
Watching Westerlies, eyeing the horizon,
Maturity nurtured love, sails set for lee.
It's an aged forest, ship's masts are from.

The Universe in all its wonderment created women
To birth and nurture beings, our World calls Men.

Ronald C. Downie, 
A sonnet to Connie, my wife, on her birthday after 47 years of marriage.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Particular To This Day

Particular To This Day

Particular to this day and time
Unable to squeeze out a rhyme
I look for some type of awakening, 
An epiphany, to stir up my thinking.

"No jobs"the mantra of our leaders.
Offshore, from those true job bleeders,
Those who ply the corporation's creed :
"First, maximize profits; Second, weed

Out workers; Third, give parachutes golden
To corporate executives who are beholden
To their own well being and a few friends.
To maximize wealth's their long loved trends.

When will the masses understand the purchasing 
Strength of the super wealthy whose underlying
Lust is power, unremitting power, that of life
And of death. Forget the masses and their strife

Since they have exercised little voice while being
Processed as would hulls from kernels, or gleaning 
Of an ear of corn from the fodder of a tall stalk,
Or, as ten pins falling in spite of the b'ball's walk.

Where are we, those great in number, small in voice
Masses ? Are we hiding behind timidness by choice ?
When will we lift our heads from being bowed down
In some notion of servitude scared of a rich's frown?

Small is the initial gathering of disenchanted groups
Which grows in numbers as fears wane. The troupes
Gain strength from the number of kindred spirits
Gathered, but it is you, the one who it really merits.

Ronald C. Downie.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011



Heaped full, under brown humped canvas
Flapping wild, is their garbage secured ?
Pressing west leaving East's big cities,
Not treasured, their trove's on board.
Sleepy eyed with the hammer down
He hears his metal stallions floored,
Gulping in clean air to guzzle more 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 ugly landfills rise,
But you must be careful of what you cannot see.
Clear treasured waters, clean, sparkling, pure blue
Are gone, gone just as they, the Lenni Lenape .

   Ronald C. Downie 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Haiku 68

Haiku 68. ( 17 syllables in 3 lines of 5/7/5 each )

History records,
Press informs, novels foretell -
Topic : Occupy.

Target your local
Federal legislator -
They failed test, flunked out !

Home for Holidays,
Your Congress loves vacations -
Hell with tax payers.

So sad, not funny,
That Congress is so inept -
Fire the whole damn bunch.

Do you really want,
A divided government ?
Our job, hire all new !

One percent blue blood's,
Ninety-nine, American red -
Money sings the blues.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, December 19, 2011

That Social Machine Called Work

That Social Machine Called Work

America must retool its social machine called work. The definition of work has to be changed from the one my children, myself, and my parents grew up with. Words icon on my iPad lists in long lists, 7 noun category definitions and 27 verb lists for work. To us oldsters, work was an occupation for which you are paid, when thought of as a noun and, as a verb, to be employed. Both cases brought into play a person exchanging time an effort for a payment in some mutually agreed exchange value, usually a wage in dollars and cents.

As we go deeper into the 21st Century, time and physical effort once carried out by human beings is now being carried out by robots. Factories once employing thousands now need only a few hundred people to produce the same amount of product and produce that product with a better quality.

So how in the world does a society develop a method to exchange dollars and cents to the masses of unemployed or underemployed so they too can live this American Dream ? Not living in opulence but in a dignified lifestyle having adequate shelter, food, health services, education, and cultural opportunities is The Great American Dream.

We must define work as effort expended for the good of the whole of society; such as, retrofitting urban blight, building and maintaining our public parks, maintaining our public lands, forests, waterways, and highways. These jobs have in the near past lost their importance, lost their value, lost the public's will to fund them.

We will pay for these jobs from the proceeds of those who have extracted value from investments that the whole of society has made which allowed the well off to gain vast wealth while taking advantage of what all of society has already invested. Included would be the value of products found underground, on public lands, or any other public asset.

We move into the future by realizing there was strength in the ways of the past which we best revisit. There was vast strength in the way the village operated. Those with ability were expected to provide for those of lesser ability : the aged, the young, the invalid. Each contributed to the sum total of whole through their ability to do work and took from the whole as their needs required. 

Look around you and think how you would want our town to really be, then imagine how we can  get there. If getting there requires some effort, think what work that isn't being done, if done, would get us there. Even if this type of work is now thought menial, this work is of extreme importance to us all.
This work has value to the whole population of the town. 

"Make work", most called this effort in the past. True, and the key word is "work", newly defined to fit into our future. Effort extended for the good of the whole must take on a new paradigm for the good of the future. Rethinking our entrenched ideas of how people fit into the old molds must take place sooner than later so new molds may be created.

Ronald C. Downie 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Haiku 67

Haiku 67 ( 17 syllables in 3 lines of 5/7/5 each )

If words can't move you out of apathy, what can ?
*Forget about lines,
*Vote out these mad line drawers -
*Take back your country.

A Haiku to tame the savage beast :
"Give me liberty,
Or give me death." sings out -
Stirs the blood of Man !

A Haiku which leans on your shoulders :
Ask : why should I care ?
Answer : if not me, who then ?
Leaders energize !

Are words in Haiku able to make a difference ?
Like a bad penny,
My Haiku's image my mind -
No followers, though. 

Haiku to express utter shame of education policy.*
Where is the damn shame ?
48% schools fail !
Shame on your damn watch !

Someday Haiku may allow you an eureka moment.
When asked what we did ?
Found a good cause, then acted -
Made the difference.

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It All Depends

It All Depends

It all depends :
Upon your dreams
Behind closed eyes,
Drifting in and out,
Nodding off and on
Until total emersion.

Subliminal are images
Beyond the conscious 
Activities of the day.
Retreat, or to attack,
Go far away or return,
Be of a party, or not.

Immersed in reality,
Tempered by hot fire,
Clothed for deep cold, 
Hair finely brushed, 
Bathed in redemption,
Lost in a wilderness. 

Finding one's own self
Throwing off shackles,
Demanding of a mental
Strength deeply internal,
You gather up yourself 
For life's universal battle.

You ask, "Who am I ?"
And, "Why am I here ?"
Paging your remembrances :
Being in and out of faith,
Does science make its case,
Who pulls Heaven's strings ?

You think the unthinkable :
Do we pass only once through
This conscious state of life ?
No beginning, so there's no end ?
What is my next form to be ?
Am I bound up in this body ?

How these questions are answered 
Before an Endpoint of active life
May make a tremendous difference
To those you lovingly leave behind.
But, my friend, to you, the dismissed,
Heaven awaits your elements' arrival.

Ronald. C. Downie

Friday, December 16, 2011

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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

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,
Dream it for life's destiny  - a revelation.

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

Harvest all which you must
Return sustenance as trust.
The circle starts, as it ends
From a point, we are friends?

Light fades dim, turning in sad goodbye,
Moving on only to look back with a sigh.
A dream ? Was it real ? Know, not I.
Surely your life is worth another try.

          Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This Day

    This Day

You nihilist, night,
Cloaked in shadows
Darkened until light
Marauds horizons east
And lips rolling seas and lands,
Crouching tiger, demon beast .

Dollop madrigals, sun beams,
Wind and rain, painful sorrows,
Exhilaration, troubled dreams,
When logged, lock boxed
Safe as Social Security,
Morning's Sopranos out foxed. 

Mercurial High Noon Azimuth 
Plotted, slipping ever west
Drowns in punch bowel vermouth,
Sweet and dry, a sobering song,
Evening stars, lightning strikes,
Twelve step prayers to come along .

Jim Lehrer, C Span, Brokaw Live,
Copland and Bird, Frank and Barbara,
Recliner, refrigerator, back again, TV's jive?
Of all the days, this damned day, today
Is begging for its very existence .
The shades drawn, it ends in anonymity .

Ronald C . Downie      

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Haiku 66

Haiku 66

"Give them hell, Harry !
I just tell them the truth and 
They think it is hell."

Is government bought 
By campaign contributions ?
If big enough, yes !

Term limits, your choice -
Senate, two; House, four; vote out
When they reach limit.

When government stinks,
"We The People" have to act -
Inaction gains squat. 

Best, take what they give -
Hell No ! Demand much better !
Not pawns, but People.

Twenty First Century,
Men bought are newly made slaves -
Auction ! Congress sold !

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Love The Art In Stone

  I Love The Art In Stone

I love the art in stone as shown less, these days,
When hung framed on walls of homes, in ways,
Absent of a stone mason's style of art, he displays,
With hammer and chisel his love of stone, he plays .    

Gathering in fresh farm springs
Country creeks flow downstream
Eroding outcroppings of hard rock
Strata used as wagon crossings
Later becoming bridge locations .
Near these, built at creekside,
Stone walls rise four stories tall,
Deep window sills mark each floor,
At the peak a hoist beam extends .
Below is an arched stone mill race,
Where channeled swift water turns 
A huge drive wheel that transfers
Power by wide leather belts up to
The grinding floor where grain is 
Fed between a flat stone face and
Another stone face that is turning .

Flour feeds an early struggling Nation .
Cut stone seeks a past's artful relation . 

Mills, Roller Mills, Flour Feed Mills
Still stand tall, their art's in place,
Family named, silent, strong the walls.
Their need is gone, now long forgotten .

You. - cameras, You - pencils,
You. - water colors, You - oil pigments,
You. - Have you captured their souls ?

I love the art in stones when built as walls.

  Ronald C . Downie


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Schuylkill 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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Occupy The Voting Booth

Occupy The Voting Booth

I have a nagging fear building within me that the youngest and brightest among us, those caught up in the Occupy movement will, in their zest for the big picture, forget that all politics is local. These activists need to hone in on those politicians who got our country into the mess we're in. As Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican, stressed recently : congress needs term limits, but until that happens, voters must vote out the old bulls, those whose primary objective is to get reelected. I would add, voters must also throw out those newly elected who have obstructed rather than govern as required when they took the pledge to uphold The Constitution of the United States Of America.

History will probably record The Occupy Movement as a successful exercise of expressing disgust in the inequities between the haves and the have nots which were brought about by governmental actions. I only hope history will also record the movement spun off real change in how legislators adjusted to a new era of governance. Not all revolutions need to be bloody.

In the long history of Man upheaval happened often. Many were very bloody as each side shouldered their weapon of choice : a broad axe, a spear, a lance, a pitch fork, but mostly a gun. Gandhi, nor King, nor Jesus chose any of these weapons and their results seem much more lasting than any violent one's, even so all three lost their lives trying to effect change.

Pottstown also needs to shoulder its weapon of choice and I contend that the weapon be a long handled broom accompanied with a sturdy dust pan and a hefty trash bag. Only an army of sweepers with their boots on the ground can make this sow's ear into a silk purse. 

The real test of the soul of a town is not in it's downtown main street or it's prime residential neighborhoods but it is found in how the condition of it's worst allies are. If they are relatively clean and fairly well kept you can bet the main, highly visible areas of the town will also be clean. Once upon a time, Pottstown was that way, not from an army of cleaners, but from each and every household being prideful masters of their own domain. Maybe they didn't own the property they lived at but they took pride in the property they lived in. Pride is always an exercise in self worth and fulfillment, traits lost in our race to the bottom world we find ourselves in today.

It will be a tough campaign in the war to take Pottstown back from the entrenched profiteers who treat our town as a throwaway place. It will be extra tough cleaning up after them when they are cleaned out of our town, but it will be worth it. 
Shoulder your brooms, fall in, the spring offensive is creating a battle plan, 

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, December 9, 2011

Winnowing Wild

Winnowing Wild

Winnowing wild western winds work
Their will among the towering pines
Thrashed to and fro, savvy to storms.

As is a spider's web spun flexible and
Strong yet flapping wildly anchored 
On limbs to catch their wayward pray.

Politicians spread falsehoods around too
Easily, so small minded people declare them 
Truths, but the learned few know differently.

Should we be caught up in savage winds that
Bend the towering pines close to breaking ?
Better we settle in the calm of soft breezes.

Better yet, the learned must make a difference 
By pressing truths onto the prevailing breezes
Which nurtures understanding and firm action.

These learned are wise to the ways of spiders
Who lay out their webs silently though strong.
They work their will through both storm or calm.

Ronald C. Downie 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

At A Pivotal Time For Sherri

At A Pivotal Time for Sherri, Random Thoughts.   
Up from all fours, erect, mobile,
Scared by cold ice and scorching heat,
Thunder and lightning, rain and snow,
Struggling for power, attacking for 
Dominance, man verses beast and man.
Gathered tribal, rapes and plunders,
To feed their wants, demand their needs.
Profits from World riches plundered
For personal gain by a scoundrel few
Who elevate themselves disguised 
As corporations claimed immune from
Universal Law meant to protects life.
Unquenched greed drives obscene profits
Wrung from degradation of Earth's environment
Despoiling life giving, life sustaining elements :
Waters become polluted, friable soils spent,
Our air choked with unspeakable contaminants,
Great forests withdraw under constant assault,
Ice caps melt away, vast seas and oceans rise,
Shore lines sound retreat, islands washed over are lost.
Man verses diseases as cancers populate vast clusters
Fanned by chemical pollution obscuring Universal Law.
Brash ignorance prevails but harsh power assails
To pervade the Holiness of our good common sense.
The overabundant Earth is a living, breathing sphere.
It is our bodies that are grim, beaker less test tubes,
Over analyzed, shocked at the findings, disease rampant.
For hope The College Of Doctors seek garish chemicals,
Their practice is to probe and probe with answers few.
More chemicals, for profit not cure, masking men's deeds.
The Human Dilemma: Not if, but when? Not how, but why?
We cry, eyes red and teared, for answers, hear,"I don't know."
From nonbeing, into being, finally back to nonbeing.
Since our genes have passed through living as stardust
Many times before, they will recycle again and again
Before the Earth crisps into dust and rejoins as elements.
Matter is never lost just changed in its composition.
Energy as a force just shifts from one to another form.
We live within our consciousness, in Universe Time, a moment.
The shock of inhumanity where wild greed prostitutes Man's ego
Exposing a weakness in him that acting for self chose flight or fight.
Wealth worshiped as God though money only is the Devil's elixir,
Power is the true Deity, power to lord over a crumbling planet,
Power to pollute water ways, power to deforest, expand deserts, 
Power to despoil land, sea, and air; to deny the public true health.
What is the true cost of health, of life?
Through introspection we will act
With sound reason, with intelligence 
To arrive at answers we find acceptable,
With emotion we act in knee-jerk ways.
Always challenge wants and needs,
The Big Picture is always necessary.
Strong of will are challenged to lead,
Leading requires a great strength of
Character found only in a very few,
You, Sherri, are one of those few.

 Ronald C. Downie, (Dad)

Haiku 65

Haiku 65

Abe, Teddy, Ronald,
Giants of the Grand Party -
Dwarfs : Newt, Mitt, Michele.

Race to the bottom,
How much crap must we endure -
Lagers not leaders.

They pass in review,
Do they really pass muster ?
It's your turn to judge.

Brother of Hard Ball's
Chris Mathews is indicted -
Commissioner Jim.

We deserve better,
Will Democrats so govern ?
Our county struggles.

Greed may rule the day,
But honesty wins the race -
Only if you act.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

So Grows The Tree

So Grows The Tree

When I strike a match to light the village fire pit,
Flames illuminate faces of our own fine family tree.
Nearly six decades of bearing and raising young fit
Members, trained to think, to act, raised to be free :

Then, these young accomplished see the World stage
Spread out beyond their horizons awaiting discovery.
Poised in innocence, thoroughly tutored beyond age, 
Finding their footing, they're off to life's pageantry :

And then, capturing the day, making way, work acts
To temper aggressiveness in some structured setting.
"The art of the deal" attracts some lacking of facts,
Most will attest education displays their upbringing.

"As the twig is bent so grows the tree", sings to me
Song lyrics, pressing achieving progeny, lovely to see.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

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 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 far off 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) 

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 7, 1941

December 7, 1941

This "a date which will live in infamy" expressed by then President, Roosevelt, resonated in Pottstown, I'm sure, with shock. But, over in the farm country of Chester County near Harmonyville where we were living then, a quiet hush filled the air when we first heard the message.

My mother's cousin from Scotland, Jock Piggot, arrived here by train from Philadelphia the day before, a Saturday, for his only ever visit here? He was the Captain of a British transport ship in port at Philadelphia taking on supplies for the English home front already at war. 

On Sunday morning we had a leisurely breakfast and after it Dad and my brother both queried Jock about his sea faring, with me nearing the age of seven, I was popping in and out the room. Mom was busy preparing a large meal for mid-afternoon and I, as usual, was her go get it guy when called away from the conversations.

Normally on a Sunday if we hadn't gone to church, as happened that day, Dad would read his paper while listening to the radio. His favorite station was WOR out of New York with Rambling With Gambling a staple. My brother, Andy, and I would have been outside for sometime by then. Our life on Houck Road just off Harmonyville Road was then recorded in memory as either before or after indoor plumbing. That meant an outhouse or an indoor cellar toilet ; a bath in the cellar in a large metal tub with water heated on a wood-coal stove then poured in the large tub sitting on the floor or taking a shower in a simple cellar stall with water heated by a bucket a day coal stove.

After our big afternoon meal Dad and Jock retired back again to the living room for more talk. It would be getting on to late afternoon and Dad, a news junky, finally turned on the radio. Nothing but the attack on Pearl Harbor was heard with endless reports from Washington and where ever else. The first bombs fell at Pearl at 7:55 AM so east coast time would have been five or six hours later, or early afternoon. 

Jock was ashen when he stood up dressed in his causal clothes and announced to Dad and Andy that he must get back to his ship. With that up the stairs he doubled stepped coming back down fully outfitted in his dress blues complete with his Captain's hat a suitcase in hand. Will you please take me to the train station in Pottstown, immediately, Alex ? Dad did so after a hurried good by and we never saw him again though we heard he had a ship or two blow out from under him during the War. He, to our knowledge, lived through the War and for sometime after hopefully in good health.

I remember the Second World War as a young boy being scared when the Light Warden rapped at the door at night informing Mom and Dad to pull the special black curtains closer together because a sliver of light was peeping through. The sound of an airplane engine sent many a chill up my spine.

The Second World War altered the way Americans have lived ever since. The ever ongoing tragedy, seems to me, to be that winning this war did not herald in a century or two of peace and prosperity that we thought we fought for. Might not always turns out to be right; rather it sets up a King Of The Hill attitude in the World where defending turf is paramount. Why, oh, why ?

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Grandson, Connor Kurtz

Grandson, Connor Kurtz

When a grandson takes an oath of allegiance to 
Uphold The Constitution of The United States Of
America, he joins a select group of citizens. Few
Are willing to be put to the test candidates love :

Then, when voting is long over and true work begins :
Reading, understanding, corresponding, and debating
Takes a good deal of his time. Do young one's whims 
Revolve around time budgeting, rather than dating :

And then, the rigors of meetings, schedule shifts, 
Want of necessity seeking an answer, finding none.
That noble cause grows a film of tarnish, not gifts
Once thought. Plow on does he, this gifted grandson.

A field of battle is not always fit for fife and drum.
It's for the tenacious, gifted solder who gets it done.

Ronald C. Downie
A sonnet to commemorate Connor's swearing in at 18 years of age to his local school board.

Friday, December 2, 2011

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 Devine;

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

This poem I cherish as my signature poem.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Andy Grey Downie

Andy Grey Downie

Gran'Pa Downie was a wizened old wise sage
Who's needs were few, his wants even less.
With a huge bald head, both forearms bowed,
His spine was so calcified it bent him forward
Making him unable to look up without sitting down.
His Scottish brogue, heavy RRRs, spoke of his birth.

His physical look told a quite different story.
This ship's joiner, carpenter, traveled Cape Town,
South Africa to home port, Glasgow, Scotland.
His disfigured physical features developed from,
We thought, deficiencies in his diet during long
Trips at sea aboard tramp steamer cargo ships.

Is one born a sage or does it slowly develop 
Through adversity during a health decline ?
Or does Man temper, as steel from iron does,  
When it's super heated molecules implode   
Making them much stronger through firing ?  

From this sage we find his strength in words.
           Gran'Pa said : 
" A good job is it's own reward ."
" Please measure twice so you cut just once ."
 "A job worth doing is worth doing well ."
 "I don't care ! " "Just is not a good answer ."

In Love For My Grandfather, I Am,
Ronald C . Downie