Sunday, September 30, 2012



Proportionality, long the mainstay of a modern society, has become a sacrificial lamb to the sensationalism exhibited by our warrior nation's attitude.

Within the time lapse of a normal eight hour work day, horror erupted in New York City, Washington D.C. and in a farm field in Pennsylvania when four huge passenger planes commandeered by terrorists crashed with three reaching their targets. The more than 3000 killed that day, 9/11/2001, exploded on our nations senses similar to that dark day of Pearl Harbor, 12/7/1941.

Calculations for the hard costs to America's treasury for the response to 9/11 day's horror has been estimated at 2.25 trillion dollars spent in the ten years we've been responding. The response is still ongoing, costs being added on, with the knowledge that values have never been placed on the thousands of lives lost or estimated for the tens of thousands of lives that are diminished because of being maimed by war. Our response, that knee-jerk reaction, to 9/11 was overwhelmingly overwhelming in a scale of time and cost to our nation.

When will our nation declare "Victory" and, with our heads held high, march out of Iraq and Afghanistan back home to the good old USA ?

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, September 29, 2012

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

Friday, September 28, 2012



Back during my own mid-life period,
Late 30's early 40's, there about ;
I would call then the prime time of manhood,
Time when I was physically strongest,
With an iron like grip beyond the best.
I never hesitated when challenged,
Out of the blue, to an arm wrestling match
Testing me far too often, I'd admit.

Time marches on, virility with it.
I look at the lack of flesh in my hands
Wondering where did it disappear to ?
The round bulb of flesh between two fingers,
Especially between thumb and pointer,
Now just skin loosely hanging with no strength.
A man is known, I've been told, by his grip ;
Where did I go, when my grip left me cold ?

"Get a grip on yourself" Gran'Pa would say.
Gripping gets tougher the older you become
Realizing an ever limiting strength
Finding loss in your own extremities.
Gripping yourself, would seem, is all mental.
Don't confuse " Seizing the day " as gripping.
Seizing is all about an attitude,
Gripping is only physical prowess.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First Blizzard Of The Season

First Blizzard Of The Season

Relish the first blizzard of the season
Watch for swirls of yellow and brown ;
Autumn early seems the real reason
All the lawns are covered in the 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 home gardens wilt the tomatoes,
Deep breaths smoke great puffs as we walk.

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

Ronald C . Downie

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Like A Jury

Like A Jury

When the weight of honesty bogs me down,
I pass judgement on our politicians,
Who, from each side of their mouths speak untruths,
While evil intended money men laugh :

Then, the duped public : asleep, complacent,
Lulled into apathy, votes without thought.
They pander to slick adds of sleazy lines
Always skirting truths, garbage in - same out :

And then, with our country in peril, wake up.
America has always moved forward !
Like a jury collectively coming
Together to find the truth, dispel fears.

Lathered in a harsh fever oozing sweat
Political hacks die slow deaths, I bet.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Haiku 87

Haiku 87
Haiku to stimulate thought :

Not algorithms,
Just arithmetic, You All -

"Quibbling" West Pointers
Are thrown out of the Corp if
Engaged in quibbling .

Am I dependent ?
A victim, a freeloader,
A 47% .

I'm too damned old,
At 77 an old throw away -
Discounted by Mitt.

Willard Mitt Romney -
Thrusts forty seven percent
Away, forgotten.

What do you expect ?
Arrogant, egotistic -
Rich are a symbol.

Ronald C. Downie



Autumn, fall, end of summer, pre winter
All tread heavy on our sense of living

Do Nothing Legislators

Do Nothing Legislators

If your work approval rating stood at 13% would you also seek to flee your work environment and try to leave this image behind you ? What you can't leave behind is your back home constituents who'll need the wool pulled over their eyes over and over again. Not being good at legislating does not mean they are not good at vacationing from their elected duties.

Only a week after coming off a five week vacation our congressmen voted after a week in session to vacation for another five weeks. Tough duty, but if you do your work poorly, it may be best not to be on duty.

You and me and Willie behind the tree are all poorly served by do nothing legislators who vacation excessively because they can't come together to make laws which benefit all of us. Even if our elected legislators can not work for us, we must work together to replace them with others who may be able to work with each other.

You have to bite the bullet and vote out all inept incumbents, especially, your own congressman. Yes, I believe, sometimes you have to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The locals are the problem since they have honed well their art of honey tongued language which comfortably pulls the wool over our eyes. We do love warm fuzzy blankets but when used rather than good legislative initiatives we are being bamboozled. It's hard for congress to get a rating much lower than 13%.

Why not join those who believe in "Vote The Bums Out" and pledge to vote out your own incumbent !

Ronald C Downie

Wednesday, September 19, 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, every one,"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

Monday, September 17, 2012

Join The Club

Join The Club Subconsciously we attach to Nature by subtly expressing our emotions whether in a sleep induced dream state or when awake thinking deeply about life. For how many eons have humans interacted with birds, humming and blue, which had proven attributes long desired by man anchored to this Earth ? Would man ever fly as the birds can fly ? He often tried, always failed. Man has a silent affinity with trees planting huge numbers in our urban areas to soften the landscape with their foliage which air-conditions the vast surrounding space and makes close living possible. He, who plants a tree under which he will not have the pleasure of sitting in its shade, is a man of high moral caliber. Man and trees is a given after all these centuries of co-dependency even to the extent of planting trees as living cathedrals meant to enhance our ceremonial grounds or grand estates. We cordon off large forests from ordinary human activity making them Wilderness Areas accessible to humans only by foot of man or by hoof of horse and mule. Take a look all around you, what do you see, see if you can pick out something, something universal. Do you see the public's infatuation with their lawns and with the foundation plantings around their homes ? It is often stated that our lawns are subconsciously thought of as our spread or our range in miniature. We, thinking back to our roots of the longing desire to be out west riding the fence rows, ride our lawn mowers as if they were horses and we were real cowboys. We tend our shrubbery as if they were beautifully tended rows of vegetables supplying our sustenance. In the not to distant future the need for more gardens will press a consuming public to clammer for many more. In the limited universe seen from my front porch, I get a birds eye view of one of the grandest species migrations taking place on our continent. Monarch Butterflies frequent our patch of butterfly weed during these later days of a disappearing summer. Their ever increasing numbers will continue until gone in one fell swoop as they, unknown to us, join their identical twins to wing south to Mexico in a 2000 mile trip.  Many will scoff at this distance knowing some birds travel four times this distance. What these people don't understand is that the Monarch's are three generations away from making this trip. These butterflies never flew this course in their lifetime, in fact, it was their grand or great grandparents who made the journey north some three years earlier. What imprint has been placed on their DNA, by what, by whom ? From my front porch I find one of the universal grand questions still pondered by intelligent thought: how does migration work ? No, I have no comment on how migration works, but, I realize I am part of the equation seeing I am an avid observer of the whole process. If you too find enjoyment in nature, if you also ponder the unanswered questions, if you, as I often do wondering about things I have little power over, come to the conclusion that life is indeed a mystery - join the club. Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's My Town Too

It's My Town, Too

I'm afraid Pottstown is caught up in the classic American attitude of superficiality by pegging the emphasis of borough revitalization to glitzing up a few blocks of High Street. Though unique, purple lights on High Street's tree trunks don't seem to have drawn shoppers downtown. Somehow shoppers need stores to shop in before they'll flock there. Lighted tree trunks no matter the color are sort of like Christmas lights, seeing them once is like seeing them enough. 

I compliment The Borough for utilizing the transit fund to plant with beautiful flowers the baskets hanging on our light poles and placing the planted flower pots in The Town Center Park, at Borough Hall's entrance, and along the length of the new transit waiting area. Flowers create an atmosphere of vibrant life which is continually growing in size
and vitality those attributes our town sorely needs.

High Street may be the face of the town but it's not the heart nor the pocket book of our community. The heart of the borough is to be found in its people who continue to plow ahead in spite of the visible deterioration taking place around them. Boarded up and overgrown properties, once very few, are now commonplace crying for attention. Businesses, where activity was once taken for granted, are now cold, quiet, and dark while loudly shouting out for action. 

A tax base drawn from home owners, landlords, commercial property owners, and industries is declining. With this decline, tax income to pay for the Town's operation and the operation of the school system becomes less sufficient each year so taxes must be raised. Is it any wonder we don't attract upwardly mobile young families here, or businesses for High Street, or light industries ? Attract we do : Section 8 housing, and non-profits servicing their wards, and Churches doing their thing, and the homeless living off their wits, so to say.

I'm sure we're not alone in those perils I describe. I, after 77 years of living in Pottstown, haven't seen a decline in our town so dire ever before. My memory vividly goes back to WW2 and the years after for three decades when industry hummed and everyone had a job, a house, a club, and finally an automobile. School was fun and anyone who wanted could go off to college knowing there was always a job back home if they needed one. 

I anxiously await the task force that was put together and is aggressively at work to stem the Town's decline. They'll need all the support that each of us can give them, in fact, I believe they'll need something closer to Devine intervention so, to everyone, pray for them too.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Crime Of 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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


          September 11, 2001
-Another Date Which Will Live In Infamy-

The twin tower's three thousand dead
- Never, ever, shall they be forgotten -
Every eye a tear, each heart bleeds red,
Homage paid to ground zero, Manhattan.

On polished brass plaques, every name
Etched true to last time immemorial.
Hero rescuers ignite their own fame
And join in their special ceremonial.

The dead laid to rest now mute and silent.
Their epitaphs cut by hammer and chisel
Onto headstones of grey hardened granite.
Each word tears through rain, snow, drizzle.

Unlike these three thousand today so honored
Are dead from past wars and gross genocides,
Who are known by count only. Acts abhorred !
Man killing man while the whole world sighs.

Iraq,  Afghanistan,  Sudan,
Rowanda,  Croatia,  Vietnam,
Dachau,  Auschwitz,  Treblinka, 
Omaha,  Normandy,  Iwo Jima,
Bataan,  Pearl Harbor,  Korea,
Hiroshima,  Nagasaki,  Libya.

Man killing man.  When ? Oh when, will it end ?

            Ronald C. Downie.      

Read 9/11/2010 at a ceremony held at The Smith Family Plaza, Pottstown Borough honoring those killed on this date due to the horrid deeds of foreign terrorists.
Resubmitted for the tenth anniversary, 9/11/2011.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spin Filament

Spin Filament 

Shimmering deep rivers running wild 
Of their birth, settle down calmly now
In vast fertile valleys as would a child
Murmuring softly to power of the plow.

Waters are banked as is blood veined,
Each eternal fluid is a life giving force.
Blood pulses sustenance to fibers trained
Eons in symphony to their energy source.

Divined up from a water birth, Man created,
Beginning the long strand in the web of life,
Unbroken since first man and woman mated.
Many heirs pound the drum, few play the fife.

Choose the instrument that you wish to play,
Not always locked away in your young years.
But my strand, I'll string to my very last day,
So spin yours, Dear Son, eliminate your fears.

Ronald C. Downie
To my son, Ronald Andrew Downie

Sunday, September 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

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Haiku to stimulate thought

Haiku to stimulate thought :

Not algorithms,
Just arithmetic, you guys -

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To See Vast Waters And Grasses

To See Vast Waters And Grasses

To see vast oceans pillow a red balled western
Sun at close of dying day, hearts our thoughts.
Ship anchorages dot our jagged shores while seas
Are pleasured by watered life old as age itself.

Great green seas, endless to the human eye, watch 
Waves of high tasseled grasses strong wind blown
Gathering in antiquity's rhythms of Earth's songs.
Feared of fire, though necessary, life force cycles.

We close each day a little wiser, dumber ?
How do we unravel the crimes of ignorance ?
Is death final or only a prelude of really living ?
Do questions come too easy, answers not easy ?

Never standing still time steps to a silent drummer,
Wearing down muscle and sinew, thought and will,
As a grind stone mashes kernels into eatable flour
To sustain life which lasts until it ultimately ceases.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Past - Future

Past - Future

Prayer - sending a message to your God -
Poetry - sending a message to a stranger -
Each from within seeking an ear without,
One strictly personal, the other universal.
Taught prayer universal when young, while
Through nursery rhymes, are taught poetry.

Maturing minds grapple with their humanity ;
Many to an unknown pray, some seek expression.
Scripting words into phrases developing themes
Jogs mental synapses into action creating verse.
Then verse pulses Earth's vibrations as thought.

Thought, caught in both worlds, real or illusory, 
Is to each person's make up as breathing or seeing,
More deeply to some, but to others diversionary.
The pinnacle of thought is wisdom, original thought.
Prayer, touted as faith based, reinforces the past ;
While poetry, gleaned from thought, seeks a future.

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, September 1, 2012



Memory is blurred colored lead windows
Life peers through,

Not bright stained glass pieces placed
In view of the pew ;

Artful are the beliefs there told to us
By a few,

Figments of the mind, when not true,
Are to be dreamt anew.

Ronald C. Downie