Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sorry I Asked

Sorry I Asked

Have you ever thought, "sorry I asked", when in a conversation especially when you're talking to your doctor? That was my feeling recently during my last doctor's visit. He calls himself, my health supervisor, who monitors regular blood test information and reports from other health professionals I sometimes have appointments with. A visit with Doc always starts with," How are you feeling?" Of course my reply is, " Ok, I guess. " really though I rarely feel ok, rarely feel good.

During my latest visit when I told Doc I was tired of going to doctors, since I had just gone through multiple visits to a dermatologist who operated on three skin cancers, he looked irritated with my response. Then came my question, "Don't most elderly get these feelings?" 

My doctor, my health supervisor came out with it. He said, "The elderly are just living too long !" Yes, he hit the nail on the head, yes, oldsters like me should have expired years ago. Medicare and social security would then be saved and our country's books put back in balance.

I've outlived my parents by over a decade, my brother a decade and a half. Neither of us is living our older age comfortably, both have age related nonreversible physical problems. Our doctors are unable to help us live in a degree of comfort without pain which debilitates us and essentially imprisons us to limited surroundings. We're among many millions who are much worse off than we. We still have our mental faculties, at least, I hope so, but, there is a real bummer lurking out there when many elderly with pain free physical health have lost their cognitive mental health to Alzheimer's. 

Now, I don't know who I should apologize to : my wife, my family, my friends, or to the whole world for staying alive mentally though my body is fully spent. Sadly modern medicine has few real answers to give you unsuspecting young other than quit smoking, eat better but less, drink herbal tea rather than any form of alcohol, exercise daily for the rest of your active life. Good luck future oldsters !

"The elderly are just living too long" is an undeniable truth unthinkable to the young of our World who will realize in years to come this harsh fact of life. 

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lone Voice

Lone Voice

I am a lone voice speaking for retired home owners still living in Pottstown. We wonder where our tax dollars have gone, where has all the money gone, which we believed was invested in an improving school system ? Yesterday we learned the Pottstown School District has been put on notice that the High School is one of four Montgomery County Schools in Pennsylvania listed as a low-achieving school.
We oldsters have over the years made huge investments in our school district by paying property taxes on our homes which continue to lose value. The value lost is caused by the market which reflects a buyer's desire not to purchase a home in Pottstown. If you were a buyer would you come to Pottstown and bid up the price of a house so you could bring your kids to a low-achieving school system ? 

Our local school system is broken. Taxing of property for education is broken. Out of every five dollars of annual taxation four of those dollars go to the school district. The Pottstown District has been singled out by the state as a poor administrator for the money's invested by "we the people".

My wife and I are caught, as many other old couples are caught, in a home lived in for scores of years as the value of our house, once our largest investment, continues to plummet in value. This is like being caught in a "catch 22", damned if you do, damned if you don't. 

Being taxed out of your home is a stark reality for many retirees who can no longer work and must rely on social security and savings until that runs out to pay ever rising school taxes which seems to be wasted by the administration. 

My true disgust can not be set in printable words for public display. As a graduate of Pottstown's schools, a school board member for four years, and in Pottstown's inner circle of governance even now, I am ashamed of my inability to change the direction our hometown has taken. We need elected officials much better then me !

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Policy Over Personality

Policy Over Personality

A forgotten lesson in organization surfaced last week at Penn State University. That principal which is often ignored is that all businesses, governmental agencies, all organizations must conduct their affairs based on stated policy rather than on personalities. Too often policy is pushed aside when an individual of commanding authority rises above an adherence to a well thought out policy. Similar to the too big to fail syndrome is this idea of the man being greater than the organization he works for even if, in fact, he started and built the organization. 

When policy is either ignored or bent because of a particular person's importance or power position the very structure of the organization weakens and, in Penn State's case, is broken down completely. If the University had a policy of zero tolerance for disclosure which was abridged by the school and the athletic department because Coach Paterno was involved, personality trumped policy. If the school took into account the the Division 1 football wins record looked at by fans and pundits for the last few years and put off disclosure because of that, it certainly would be personality trumping policy.

Policy must always come out ahead of personally if the wheels of society are to continue turning properly. Constancy is rooted in policy which is the stated procedure independent of who is directing it and transcends particular individuals as they pass through the organization. Policy is timeless if it was well thought out and universal in its construct. Policy becomes the very backbone of any desirable organization that is worth its weight. A great university should have adhered to its stated policy and, if it had, Penn State would still be looking to advance a winning record beyond catching.

Ronald C. Downie


Friday, July 27, 2012

Haiku 83

Haiku 83
( Haiku - 17 syllables, 3 lines of 5,7,5 each)

Willard "Mitt" Romney -
Beating plowshares into swords,
Rattling sabers.

Willard "Mitt" Romney -
His Olympics needed a
Village to succeed. 

Poor "Mitt", says was born 
With silver horse shoe in mouth -
London press tells all !

Forgetful, our "Mitt"-
Trouble communicating,
British underwhelmed.

The World is watching
Presidential candidates 
In their work habits.

Hope the horse dances
To warrant a tax credit -
Seventy thousand $ !

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sheer Church Steeples

Sheer Church Steeples

Sheer church steeples spire to prick the sky,
Breach through which archangels can fly
Down, gathering in souls, their earthly try
To populate Heaven for their Lord on high.

Celestial maypoles heaved up by man
Anchored earth mud mired to the land.
Escaped the cave, down from the tree,
This two legged being in want of just be.

Just be, quite difficult alone by the sea,
Span of the Universe,"Immortality" asks he.
By chance or was Homo-Sapiens planned?
Heinous horrors logged under his command.

Pinioned in amber, preserved through time,
Cenozoic bee found perfect pre-pre-mankind.
Pollen's magi while lowly sperm still slime
Never dreamt God imaged in man's own kind.

Eternally fanning frenzied swift on wings
Pungent waif of sweet bloom nectar brings
Worker collectors with their death they atone
Their universe, Queen Bee, almighty on throne.

From your garden gently lift an open rose
Bring it within the scent stream of your nose,
Petal vapor ? Bee scripture ? Could be, I suppose.
Neither crucifixion nor armageddon myths they chose.

Ronald C. Downie.     

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Song Time Tune

Song Time 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.

Song Time Tune,   www.thepostedpoet.blogspot.com
Song Time Tune is my signature poem suggesting time is the greatest regulator of each of our lives, segmenting periods of it at song, culminating finally in our own personal tune. It is the tune, stupid !  

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Light Warden

The Light Warden

Born of The Great Depression, I entered
A World of constant turmoil, endless strife.
Lazy year, 1935, of drab malaise,
Heralded me on this Earth a poor boy.

The only constant of first memory
Was of moving, it seems we moved yearly.
Older brother, Andy, changed schools often 
Every elementary school saw him.

A knock on the door caused an instant fear,
But it was usually the light warden
Telling Mom and Dad to close our black blinds.
The War could bring German planes overhead.

We lived in northern Chester County
Just north of Harmonyville on Houck Road
Next to Camp Rock Run, a teenaged girls camp.
Sadly, I was too young for girls back then.

With War's end we moved to Lower POttsgrove 
Township on North Keim Street, at Ringing Hill.
Completed schooling at Lower POttsgrove 
Elementary then into Pottstown.

Since 1950 I've anguished over
Sixty two long years of man made carnage :
Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Sudan,
Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, more.

Will I reach my natural end before
Man causes an unnatural World's end ?
The twenty-one trillion hoarded dollars
Off-shore World wide can't buy eternity.

The fear of light peeking out when a boy
Has been replaced by all the lights going
Out when the electric power grid goes
Down imploding under its own vast weight.

An ineffective person that I am,
A farmer by nature drawn into words,
Feels lost looking at the peril facing man.
Are my words inadequate for the task ?

Hell yes ! Each must speak up and shout it out -
" We are sick and tired being lied to."
The cesspool, political rhetoric,
Is as pungent as down wind sewage spills.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, July 22, 2012

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, July 20, 2012

Beyond The Senses

Beyond The Senses

Clambering for acceptance,
Mediocrity cast, bogged down,
Not understanding why I am
So serious while the World
Wallers in its superficiality.

Is my life a drama or a dirge ?
Can I accept universal song ?
May I see nirvana in the arts ?
Will I, the painter's eye, perceive ?
Is this me or is it a mirror of me ?

Ankles swelled, strong hands shriveled,
Eyes sight hindered clouded with tears,
More gum, not white what's left in tact,
Like Spanish Moss grey, less head hair,
Dropped chest rests like a flat tire,
Hobbling's more than a pain in the ass.

No longer pungent are tasteful smells. 
Where did my fine feeling fingers fly ?
Horizons, once sharp, bleed as if in mist.
Guttural rumblings mute my Earth's Song,
Flavors of a bountiful table have escaped.
Pre-eternity lives as an indomitable spirit.

Value an acceptance of yourself
Within the boundaries that society
Permits you of being a roll model. 
Be yourself, not that method actor
Slipping on and off center stage.
With issues grapple, set your goals.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Favorite Professor

My Favorite Professor

From my favorite professor these words of wisdom given annually on the first day, first class to young wide eyed students acting as sponges though wondering, "how's this old guy going to mark us ?"

"Ladies and gentleman, your attention, please ! "

"In this class of English Composition we will wrestle with the understanding of the following statement :"

"I don't know what I mean until I can see what I think."

Andrew Downie, my older brother by more than four years, was this professor of English. Andy urged everyone not just to read but, also, and maybe even more importantly - to write - so you can literally see what you were thinking about. 

Writing, in my mind, is so important because it forces one to pick a theme which is then introduced, expanded, then summarized so a reader has a chance to be exposed to the writer's thought process. The exchange of ideas is a dominant desire born of every generation. Through expository writing humans have handed down the accumulated knowledge of the modern world allowing nuggets of wisdom to be passed on for the betterment of all mankind.

It's Wisdom stupid !  Don't forget it !

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, July 16, 2012

Circle Of Life

Circle Of Life

Joined hand and hip, an unbroken circle of life
Dances around the fire pit, in an endless chain
Pressing forever forward seeking the unknown,
Accepting bits and pieces, building knowledge.

The human race is caught up in fervent prayer
To myriads of deities seeking : grander cathedrals,
Higher mountain top monasteries, ornate robes,
Gold leafed hymnals, silver chalices, sweeter wine.

Forests and savannas, seek not, accepts life's terms :
Birth, struggle, growth, unfolding, reaching life's end.
The Circle realizes all life prospers to its potential
Half Life, then degrading becomes the spiraling down.

Even icons of faith's founding pillars never reached
Their nirvana of Half Life. Grossly cut down while
Still in unfolding periods, their rabid faithful anoint 
Their lost presence through images ever expanding.

Images were designed to press an emotional response
Bypassing Man's innate desire to think. Thinking, he  
Gains wisdom drawing him away from a blind faith.
Reading from The Book Of Life he found necessity.

For millions of years upright Man processed through 
The cycle of life creating The Circle surrounding us.
Those who sought power needed shackles to control 
Ignorant masses. Image based faith their answer.

Though still popular today, faith, continues to lose
Its underpinning as more people gain fruitful wisdom,
Which draws them into reading The Book Of Life,
While they join hand and hip expanding the Circle.

Ronald C. Downie 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

When I Tremble

When I Tremble

When I tremble under weight of reason
Built on strong earth pillars sunk hard rock deep.
I see a ship under sail in season,
Charting tight courses, me rocking to sleep.

A land lubber, I'm anchored to the Earth,
Have realized value of both sea and land
Beyond dreamt horizons cloaked in rough surf.
I envision Man's purpose as he planned.

Captains sail seas, generals rule the soil,
But, whose money's bet on the lost teachers
Who taught them all, also, "Blood, Sweat, and Toil"
Man's demons follow after lust's seekers.

Since, painting on cave wall days, Man's dark pasts
Are bathed in horror, Almighty's death masks.

Ronald C. Downie
In English sonnet form

Saturday, July 14, 2012



A pillar of our nation, John Adams, in 1776 feared that the newly formed Continental Congress' decisions would be dictated "by noise , not sense ; by meanness , not greatness ; by ignorance , not learning ; by contracted hearts , not large souls." His conclusion is as appropriate today as it was then : "There must be decency and respect and veneration introduced for persons of authority of every rank or we are undone. In a popular government, this is the only way."

Where are the thinkers of today who see our country's demise due to our elected leaders lack of sense, lack of greatness, and lack of education ?Where is their desire for decency, respect, and veneration ? We seem to be led by very unpopular representatives unresponsive to a new century's desires and demands. Or, do they just reflect the sour attitude of we who elect them ? We must do our job better.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, July 12, 2012



The City Of Brotherly Love's team is on a non-losing streak these last four days of the major league All Star break. Thank goodness for mid-season breaks ! 

I recently read a critique of "Four Poems for the St. Louis Sporting News" which observed this, "are some of the saddest love poems ever written, envisioning a world in which impermanence rules and all relations are determined solely by how they fail." Continuing the reviewer adds, "Having lived near Philadelphia where fans expect to be left down, ... ,  was seeing in baseball, a Philadelphia of the heart."

Yes it seems in my mind, that Philadelphia teams do just that - leave their fans down - while all the while overpaid, out of shape players spend their time reading accolades of their past having little concern for the job at hand in the here and now. I extend the intent of these comments to not only the players but also to coaches, the front office, and the owners.

When " a Philadelphia of the heart " finally sinks in to the attention of its fans, will they will show their distain by not buying tickets and filling the stands ?But remember the previous observation, Philadelphia fans expect to be left down, so is our area inhabited by losers rather than by winners ?

Which are you ?j

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Our Favorite Destination - Circa 1946

Our Favorite Destination - Circa 1946

Too far, took too long to go thirty four miles east to Philadelphia and still not be in center city. Reading Pa., just named as America's poorest city, was our destination of choice twenty miles west when I was a young teenager. Then, Reading was a prosperous city drawing like a magnet not only the young but adults of all ages. Whether action or entertainment was desired Reading had it all : two or more bars, it seemed, on every corner, seven or eight movie theaters, and the Fire Tower and the Pagoda looking down on center city drawing all visitors to take the winding drive up to get there. Restaurants were galore championed by the Crystal on The Square or, if wanting a lighter fare, the White Towers served hot dogs and burgers by the hundreds. 

A couple of times at about twelve or thirteen years of age I was an unwitting passenger in races to Reading. Raymond, son of my family's pastor, drove his 1936 Buick four door sedan in these races against the clock. Those bragging rights were based on honor, verifiable honor, and it needed passengers to take the time back to the gang hanging out at O'Dell's gas station on west High Street in Stowe. 

I was the youngest passenger squeezed in the back seat between two older guys closer to Raymond's age of about eighteen. The clock started as we dug out going west from the light at Hanover and High about ten o'clock in the evening. This timing was planned so as to avoid township cops who usually returned to their buildings then to write up their reports before eleven o'clock quitting time. There was little traffic on 422 at that time of night and Raymond spared no horsepower on the double lane highway knowing he had to make up time there because who knew what traffic we'd hit in Reifton, Mount Penn, and Reading. 

The clock stopped when we crossed Fifth Street on Penn. No, I don't remember the exact time but below a mile a minute has stuck in my mind these many years. Frequently over the intervening years I driven to Reading to take in a movie, eat a good meal, attend a show, or to work at my profession as a landscape nurseryman. No matter when I took the trip, I never forgot those harrowing races against the clock which had often left me with shaking knees and a sour feeling in the pit of my stomach. 

Reading, Pa. once home of Joe's and Stanley's, the Reading Phillies, a brewery, Pomeroy's, the Peanut Bar, The Reading Eagle, and The Outlets is now of some prominence as the poorest city in America. What went wrong ? A bypass does wonders for an urban area, it keeps traffic out of the downtown. Concentrating social service agencies downtown brings there all the indigent needing help. These clients stay close even though they have little or no disposable income to support stores in the area. Sadly their presence deters former customers from shopping where they once did. The downward spiral builds upon itself setting a low point and only after a short time setting another low until now, the poorest city in the good old US of A.. Harrisburg, Scranton, Reading, so who's next ? Watch out Pottstown, a college town, beware !

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Haiku 83

Haiku 83

Middle Class demand,
Able to purchase made goods -
Puts people to work.

Kill the Middle Class -
No ability to buy
Goods - stops things made. 

Demand translates jobs,
Kill goose laying golden eggs -
Middle Class golden.

What would Jesus do ?
Help the poor ! Feed the hungry !
Out money changers !

Inept Congress sucks -
Hear, see, say - nothing at all -
Rotten to the core.

Throw out of office - 
Arrogant, inefficient,
Nay Sayer servants.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, July 9, 2012

What A Waste !

What A Waste !

Poverty prevails throughout our World as millions go to sleep with empty bellies night after night. All the while, two political parties here in the USA are in the midst of spending up to a "billion dollars" each on the presidential election of 2012. What a waste !

Cancer invades multitudes with no cure in sight for generations to come. Down the rat hole goes the money political parties spend on elections instead of funding a cure for Cancer. What a waste !

Potable water is becoming more scarce even in First World Countries. Instead of funding research in creating more sources of potable water to supply a thirsty World, billions are paid to other billionaire media moguls so they further spread half-truths to an unsuspecting public. What a waste !

America's main electric grid is just pieced together awaiting collapse, her bridges are in a state of disrepair, highways if not buckling in the heat are crumbling into potholes, her dams if full, leak, her schools are declining in World ranking for excellence, and "gotcha" politics spends its capital on electing an image. What a waste !

Should I waste my time on writing on this subject ? If you care less, I guess, so should I !

What a waste!

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, July 6, 2012



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

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

American Patriots

American Patriots 

Upward summer thermals spiral gulls so high,
To see them we must pierce the grey ashen sky
Aloft, one eyed squinting through man made haze,
An act made necessary to see, not just to gaze.

Crafty politicians knowingly look straight at you :
Two eyes forward looking, through and through.
They will not ask your mind to squint or pierce,
Sound bites of promises are enough for you or worse.

Truths and lies are mixed and then matched 
In mental cauldrons where schemes are hatched,
Then fed to you as rare inspired dreams.
Your vote through ignorance, it only seems

Their plan's to catch you unprepared. Say, No !
Denounce their logic and reset your mind to :
Question, broaden, be completely informed, and then,
You are "American Patriots" you women and men.

Ronald C .Downie