Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Message, Sandy's Wrath

The Message, Sandy's Wrath

There is in every crises a message, a warning to change one's ways. Sandy's wrath was the message.

Will Man take umbrage with obvious answers and continue in his old ways ? Or, finally, will Man embrace science which tells of dire consequences if change is not undertaken by people living today ?

History will be able to tell our heirs what we did, but that's not adequate. An unknown World, one which our heirs would feel uncomfortable in, is something I am not willing to pass on.

Climate Change is a byproduct of Man's activity on this Earth. The billions necessary to clean up Sandy's destruction are in similar dollar amounts power plant operatives took in cost savings ill gotten from allowing pollutants to poison our air.

Standing alone, one plant here or there seems of little consequence, but multiplied over the Earth in almost incalculable numbers their pollutants enter our stratosphere to effect Climate Change on our same planet.

At some future date, catastrophic events will equal pollution emitters and then the scales will tip favoring mandatory change as a must. Will the Earth, as we know it today, still be salvageable for our offspring ?

Future historians hold the cards, they don't play in the games of life, they just record the outcome of those who played in the games along the way. Some of us today wish we could peer into the future and in some way alter history to our liking. Wishing has its place, wanting only an urge.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Mini - The Macro

The Mini - The Macro

I don't rightly know just how I learned about this latest scientific initiative, most likely from television's "Modern Marvels" or some other show about science. My interest, spanning well over half a life time, was peeked again by a science show which stressed that the information age is not satisfied with computers of today. They're too big and therefore far too slow.

Today's cutting edge scientists figure they can develop a one cell thick filament which would allow computers to store facts up to tens of thousands of times greater than those commonly in use today. Simpler means faster and smaller which translates into how much more efficient they'd be. Hand held models are tools in size dictated by the average person's hand girth not the amount of informational guts inside the casing. The informational guts of the future will only be a very minor portion of the total size of the unit.

Fifty years ago I attended a Sunday morning service at The Mainline Unitarian Universalist Church at Devon, Pa. where Professor Emeritus, Doctor Harlow Shapley, of the Harvard Astronomy Department spoke to the assembled congregation about our own universe.

That morning was memorable to me to the nth degree, its ora will follow me to my grave. Spring warmth was in the air brought by bright sunshine as I entered the large room for the service. Once a grand old Main Line mansion now a church used the largest room, a grand room with a huge fireplace centering on its north wall, for its Sunday services. The lectern was up front just to the left side of the logs burning in the fireplace and on the mantel sat a beautiful arrangement of cut flowers placed in quite an attractive vase. To the right side of the fireplace sat a lovely long blond haired lady playing a harp which drew everyone into a quiet mood as her cords filled the room.

A hushed quiet captured the entire room before the service which began with the reading of a number of announcements concerning church matters. Finally Doctor Shapley was introduced. Harlow Shapley was by then, the mid60's, a fairly old man with an arms length of honors and academic accolades. Doctor Shapley spoke some of his place in academia and then he began on his main theme as the audience hushed to listen. Looking to the south out the expanse of glassed French doors making up the whole south wall, he said something to this affect, referring to the sun peeking through the straight trunks of mature oak trees growing just beyond the south patio.

"I wonder what those trees are thinking of us ?" he nudged the congregation.

From there he took us into the cellular structure of trees and their place in the architecture of life. He then turned to an explanation of the universe, from the smallest to the largest, and he put humans within this scale somewhere in the middle. He admonished all of us to remember that the study of science is never finished, it is ever evolving, it builds upon the newest findings with discoveries happening each and every day all over the World.

Now, punching through way-out space, probes are on their course beyond our solar system's gravitational grasp and will continue out beyond our galaxy's pull. Also representing the macro would be the rover leaving its marks on the surface of Mars.

The micro may be realized by a pill which when swallowed sends a television signal to the doctors and lets them see the inner workings of their patient's body. And, a judicious look at the history of the silicone chip shows an ever reduction in size beyond an amateur's perception.

Somewhere between these extremes we "live our lives in quiet desperation", as Henry David Thoreau stated in his book, Walden. Our needs are realized in understanding the role of science in our lives. The scientists explain the relativity of things in the cosmos, the philosophers explain the interaction between these things, and the poets hope to bring both of their positions together.

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Humanity's Grand Mosaic

Humanity's Grand Mosaic

Within the stitches
holding together your
patch work quilt,
you live your life
just peeking out
from under its cover.

Your birth, infancy,
childhood, teen years,
adulthood, marriage,
family, midlife, old age,
infirmity, and death are
recorded with their own patch.

Each one's story, a quilt some
could easily hang on their wall.
Others would wrap themselves
snugly within its warm comfort.
While some would fold up
their quilt and place it in an old
trunk, with moth balls for keep sake.

Those, though of a shattered life, who
understand their quilt's unthinkable
nature, seek not to remember,
but, just in case, keep theirs hidden
in a safe place, there to be a reminder.

Walk down any street, anywhere,
look at the people, look closely,
are they that much different from
each other in looks and physique ?
Now, conjure up in your mind's eye
what their individual quilt would look like.

All the writers in the World,
all the singers and songsters too,
the poets, historians, and the story tellers,
have yet to unfold the totality of patch work
quilts which makes up this,
each is our contribution to
humanity's grand mosaic.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, October 26, 2012

Haiku 88 - The Value Of Women

Haiku 88 - The Value Of Women

God's child, raper,
His offspring - God's child, too -
Inhuman values.

Women under heal,
More like Islam traditions -
When to cover heads ?

Female voices sing -
"Are we at least Man's equal" ?
Superior ! Yes !

Of women we're all :
Mothers, wives, daughters, life force -
How can men not care ?

Your body, your choice.
Make your female decisions
Known by your actions.

Without women, weep,
No World could survive for long -
Females create life.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Eagle Verses Big Bird

Eagle Verses Big Bird

The eagle, life so fragile its eggs cracked,
Could not mature exposed to DDT,
Which until stopped by Federal agents,
Was everyone's spray chemical of choice.

This sixty year battle seems nearly won.
The eagle, symbol of our pride and strength,
The aggressive beak, piercing eyes, muscle
Overlapping muscle for the kill, groomed.

Many countrymen are militarist
Bent on pursuing their hawkish death dreams.
They seem oblivious to the eagle's
Earlier plight by Man's own ignorance.

The Eagle, the Flag, the Cross : are symbols ;
Each will stir man's blood to spill even more.
Their World is male dominant, ego driven,
Power imposing power, trample weak.

What has been the plight every militant
Country that history has had to endure ?
Its downfall - external or internal.
The World, slowly but surely, is leaning

Toward Peace. Yes ! Big Bird's teachings are so
Effective, that his forty year long term
Of instruction swept the World. A cadre
Of peaceful followers praise his teachings.

The Peace Corp and Doctors Without Borders
Do good, while doing no harm, free of guns.
Theirs is an outgrowth of a populous
Grounded in education, dogma free.

They project America's greatest wealth,
Freedoms our Constitution guarantees,
Which are universal to all free Men
And Women no matter their birth country.

Like the Eagle's egg - tenuous, fragile,
The World moves toward peace, slowly pacing.
It will take interaction of people
Giving up egos while blurring their turf.

Leaders better wake from their own malaise
Which draws them to do nothing, status quo.
If the World is to survive forever,
Pease must rule the minds of common people.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Body Of Work

My Body Of Work

When my finger becomes a stump from pecking away
On my iPad, with just the right hand pointing one ;
I look at my body of work, shrug my shoulders, pray
That I'm not as lame in ability as thought by some :

Then gathering myself, I think, what the "Sam Hell"
Am I doing out in this arena of original thought ?
Me, a boy of the soil, with pulsating words to tell
Audiences about education's purpose, as it's taught :

And then, a Scottish Highland stubbornness invades
My innards and rescues an inbred arrogance for life.
If not me, who the hell will write of grand parades,
Of awakening flowers, children, theirs, and my wife ?

However menial the task, it's the full effort given
Which measures a person's metal, sung by the liven.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Stone - The Stone

The Stone - The Stone

Hone yourself a sharp mental edge
Lest politicians ply their wares.
Silent with skill they drive a wedge
Dividing life into cares and fears.

"Care, yes care, I care for you."
Tongue cheeked message driven,
Script weak, thin, seen clear through.
Be self driven, fall not to speeches given.

"Fear, not me , fear the other guy."
"Believe me , I am not conceited."
Through lips drawn tight of teethe sly,
Bravado loud, dishonest call repeated.

Stone, the stone apply it often
When mind at rest in dullness creeps.
In apathy's folly the robber's hidden,
Citizens engaged, informed, America seeks.

The stone,* the stone apply it often,
Hone yourself a sharp mental edge.

Ronald C . Downie

*One of the more important tools of early America was a unique looking device, a household need and especially a farmstead requirement, it was the four foot curved handle scythe. The scythe was the premier grass, weed, grain, and hay cutting tool with about a three foot long curved metal cutting blade about three inches wide with a sharpened leading edge. Keeping the edge sharp was accomplished by a stone, a graphite abrasive stone stick six inches long, held in one hand at an angle to the cutting edge and vigorously run back and forth to sharpen the blade's edge. Scythes were very efficient when properly used and craftily sharpened. The stone was the key to making the scythe work so well and it allowed early America's life to be more livable.

Sunday, October 21, 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 onto 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

Saturday, October 20, 2012

From Adam's Rib

From Adam's Rib

When, oh when, will the shackled, muzzled majority finally awaken to throw off the mental chains imprisoning them to a subservient roll in life's structured pyramid ? When will you muted females assert yourselves to realize that your numbers are much greater than those of self the anointed males in power ?

Eve, from Adam's rib, began the mental dominance conjured up by male minds who wrote the compelling history of mankind (why not female kind?). Humans for eons have elevated themselves far above common beasts except in the realm of male superiority. Humans gathered first into tribes, then villages, now cities, states, nations predominately male led, though structured to adapt to a nurturing society led by the mothering instinct of females necessary for the guarantee of survival of the species.

Enter, the Church, male dominance personified to the extreme. Speak of the church and society can view shackled dominance not only of females but of the ignorant masses which crippled civilization for centuries called the Dark Ages.

Through the 20th Century females began stirring, finally they realized just how much under heal they had been subjugated. Their underrated strength in organization and realization of their raw numbers wakened some females into vocal action. They began to ride the tide while they trimmed their sails gaining voice in print and politics.

Now, the mighty hand of religious zealotry begins its death nell grip again choking off long held gains females thought secure, while imposing even more draconian impositions on the sanctity of both the female body and its soul.

If there was ever a time in recent history for women's activism, the time is definitely now !

When the pendulum swings back to the past, it will be suspended there for many long, hard years while the female body undergoes wholesale anatomical reorganization. Again, if this happens, the house bound female will be charged with child bearing, child rearing - whether sound of body and mind or not - and the satisfier of her lord and master, her husband. "The days of wine and roses" will be only a dream of what could have been.

The majority has an obligation not to allow this subjugation to happen. You by sheer numbers, may
if you desire, stop this insanity against womanhood. The ballot box is your sword which, in order to be of any use, must come out of its sheath and be used. Your vote is your life line that extends the worth of women forward into eternity. Your vote is a valuable asset, use it well.

Ronald C. Downie

Son of a woman, married to a woman, father of four women, grandfather to four women, one yet a preteen, and great grandfather to two young girls who will become women.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tasting Wine

Tasting Wine

Oft on a starry, starry night, I pause,
Thinking about the poem I'm apt to write.
Not so fast, a few words, simple it seems.
But, it just isn't so simple, it's troubling.
When you write you leave somethings of yourself
Behind, each or both, your heart and your soul.
Crunching words and phrases which echo thoughts
May seem easy, it isn't, it's difficult.

The reading of the combined words, a challenge,
A challenge worth the effort, time well spent.
Introspection draws from the inner self
In ways that today is less important
Than yesterday which seems to linger on
Like wine in a barrel does, sweetening.
Todays always intensifies sharpness,
In ways the sour of stale cheep wine, tastes.

Take now, I am struggling to write on
In a way I'd like to express myself.
The garble of words, of those who write use,
Lay around like dead fish on an old dock.
Every size and species passes over
The smooth surface slippery from its use.
Harvested or not the oceans pulsate
In their own time not different from ours.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, October 17, 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 non property universal method to pay for it.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On A Long Night's Activity

On A Long Night's Activity

When, in the wake of dreams unfulfilled,
Looking back, reaching for past memories,
Stirring hidden hollows, hiding strong willed
Thoughts left for a long night's sleep pleasantries.

Then, with tossing and turning, sweat arrives
From body heat captured by layers of covers,
Deepened sleep slacks as the mind's eye drives
Piercing nerve endings toward thoughts of others :

And then, over and over we relive day's events,
Real or are they derived of fiction or of facts ?
A deep night's sleep would have provided vents
For the escape from rewind or rewrite of acts.

Into this netherworld of super active long days
Take deep breaths, relax, mellow, chill out plays.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Fawn

The Fawn

The fawn taught then sent away,
Young birds lord the nest at play,
Fly they must on one eventful day,
Date you cross not different then they.

No beating drums to announce this date,
Nor Devine revelation to set your fate,
Only your power to choose love over hate,
Will the World judge the man that you rate.

Welcome ! We accept you into adulthood
With responsibilities which makes understood
The strong positions that you take only could
Indicate Manhood as they certainly should.

Ronald C. Downie
To Cameron on a birthday, 10/15/2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Death's Nemesis Is In Dying

Death's Nemesis Is In Dying

Burdened within weighted hearts and minds,
Crushed under twenty Centuries of fear;
Is Death culprit, or, is it in dying
That fear's behind reasons which curls your toes ?

As a state of mind, Death is no more than
That of an embryo not viable,
Or, of the mind just post awakened life.
Dying, though, paints a harsh reason for fear.

Ultimately inevitable
Is that state of Death cursed on each of us.
Insidiously deceptive's dying,
Hidden, multi staged, trudging on head strong.

Strokes, heart attacks, cancer, accidents, age
All unregulated, tipping icebergs.
Born, growing for half life, and then dying
For the second half life until the end.

Its time, time is the arbiter of life !
The internal workings of a body
Rusted and sluggish from abuse matters
On how and how long that flesh and bones last.

It is not the amount of years one's lived,
But, it's the amount of living one's packed
Into the years spent on our Mother Earth.
Quality trumps quantity every time.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Still rings in my ears from early boyhood.
President Roosevelt addressed us all
Putting ideas of fear in perspective.

From the first day of birth, Death is on call,
But when it comes, that could be up to you.
Healthy living, moderation, good luck
All play their part in your own "Book Of Life".

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pants On Fire

Pants On Fire

"Liar, liar pants on fire" was once a frequently heard phrase in the schoolyards of my generation. Back then these singing jargons reflected the often used catch phrases of our nursery rhyme generation.

Calling another person a liar set some to giggle but to many a boy this was grounds for a fight. Looking further back, how many duels were fought over the simple word - liar. Our medieval ancestry produced mountains of literature replete with chivalry based on resolving the conflicts from blurting out, "liar". Blood always ran deep from wounds made by a sword or a pistol, and when necessary, death would pop into the story to weave a good ending.

Literature just reflects true life, though, maybe in a more dramatic form, it sensationalizes the gory facets. Today, we seem to have grown out of using duels as a means to end a conflict, even if it's from calling someone a liar that began it.

Just think of how many times our politicians in this present campaign have called their opponents a liar. Think, how many duels would their words of today cause ? No one would be left standing to run for office. Come to think of it, maybe we'd be better off if an election were decided by a duel to the end, at least, it would have a definite finality to the effort.

The day of the duel is gone and sometime in the future the need to call an opponent a liar may follow and be gone also. My hope is the sanctity of honesty would rise up in the breasts of candidates so they, by their own doings, value honesty above all else. Maybe through a newer more sophisticated use of cyberspace a private internal fact checker would automatically prod, something like an invisible dog fence does for animals, a politician when he or she attempts to utter a gaff.

After, say 40 years of constant prodding, do you think humans would be programed into only speaking truths and shun lies and half truths in their discourse? I am told "hope springs eternal" though eternity, I think, has no beginning nor end. Hope, therefore, must be the mantra for all politicians whose goal is to lead a country far into the future. Hope has its genesis in honesty, true unadulterated honesty, which beyond all else honesty has to be buoyant and always rise to the surface. It must be the cream which surfaces and sweetens.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, October 12, 2012

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

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dry Toast

Dry Toast

Unarmed and fearless, passive, not thinking,
We jump on every cockamamy scheme
Politicians have the gaul to project.
Who is unstable ? Are we or are they ?

An electorate that's illiterate,
Or worse, unconcerned is very troubling.
Societies have withstood ignorance
But crush under the weight of not caring.

Gran'Pa Downie left this timeless message :

"Ronald, do you want marmalade on your toast ?"
I loved sweet spreads on my warm morning toast.

I replied, "I don't care !" He passed me dry toast,
Saying, "If you don't care, I don't care."
Following up, he said, "All the more left for me."

Over the years, this harsh message hit home.
Not caring is just not acceptable !

Caring is a quite active exercise
Requiring a minimum of raw
Intelligence plus desire to commit.
It stirs emotion, effects an action.

My young attitude of just not caring
Is amplified more then a million fold
When a whole society adopts it.
Its malaise easily permeates all.

Knowing this is a politicians job.
Their industry's to stroke the ignorant,
Romance the rest, don't stir the non caring.
Deception's their artful work endeavor.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

To War As Boys

To War As Boys

Broadly speaking, the story teller sighs,
Before laying out his theme's apt reply.
In a small town it's tough not knowing guys
Who'll make a difference with their goodbye.

Off in swarms on trains, they to war so soon.
Hardly roughed on chin, their pompadours wait
Floating to the cutting floor, shave by noon.
Marching, left-right, straighten the lines, eyes right.

To war as boys, their return home as men
Knowing unthinkable things, mums the word,
Until authors seek them out, use their pen.
Some relate, some not, some true, some absurd.

Effecting maturity, a war's theme,
Discounts beauty found in "The Golden Mean".

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, October 8, 2012

Haiku 88

Haiku 88

It is called "Wealth Care",
Willard Mitt Romney's tax plan -
Tax poor, exempt rich.

Fabricate a lie,
Shout it out to the nation -
Then apologize.

Create a health plan,
Sell as great legislation -
Deny existence.

Weave the Middle East
Into spheres of confusion -
Mitt stirs the cauldron.

Long distance banking,
Ski slopes, islands : no records -
Tax me, if you can.

Halo sacred walls
Always envelop Mormons -
Bow prostrate, revere.

Ronald C. Downie

Casey Elaine Downie

Casey Elaine Downie

She's first born of our son's family,
She's his family's first college graduate,
She's a young lady thrust into womanhood,
She's an apple of our eye, a tree of life.

Casey is up to any task facing her,
Casey is an example for others to follow,
Casey is a survivor beyond all expectations,
Casey always shines life's tarnishes away.

2012, befitting your birth and Columbus Day,
He buffeted head winds, both sea and man,
Heading west away from now toward the unknown,
Westerlies tamed, land sighted, a new World.

Your New World is just over the horizon
Not unlike Columbus' dilemma, trust your instincts.
Into the spirit born of learning, cast off anchors,
Set sail toward a goal you intend to achieve.

May you live up to your own expectations
Undaunted by the urging of detractors
Who want to mold you in their image.
You, Casey, are the individual we admire.

With Love & Affection upon your birthday,
Nanny & Pop Pop

Sunday, October 7, 2012



Autumn, fall, end of summer, pre winter
Treads heavily on our sense of living
Past ripening, completing harvesting,
Laying away both food and planting seeds.

Shepherds of the soil worshiped spring seeds,
As did clerics, wrapped in robes and beads
Lit by high up arching stained glass windows,
Who worshiped vessels and texts of their church.

Worship is sustenance for the mind's fire
Packaged and labeled in the name of faith.
Seeds are sustenance pent up awaiting
Sun rays, light rains, and topical stretching.

Winding down, as crops come in, corn stored
In drying cribs, all grain burlap bagged,
Pumpkins and gourds laid flat out to cure dry.
Summer culminates, efforts rewarded.

Family farm to company farms all share
In intense harvesting activities
Including soil prep for spring planting,
Always ahead, looking to the future.

Forever repeating, seasons press on
Dependent upon latitudes preset
Which segment our Earth, slicing and dicing,
Anticipating the whirl of weather.

Year after year, over and over, we
Fill our pantries with fall harvested crops.
The Cycle of Life, sometimes quite ugly,
Drones on : repeating, repeating, repeating.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, October 5, 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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

" Too, Early Old - Too, Late Smart "

"Too, Early Old - Too, Late Smart"

Go anywhere out in the farm country,
Talk to any native sod busters, you'd
Hear them, back in the era of my youth,
Speaking Pennsylvania Dutch like this.

Language of these simple souls was so darn
Descriptive that modern speaking seems drab,
So drab, we have reverted to texting
Rather than talking on the telephone.

As a society, we already lost
The art of letter writing to the phone.
Now, this same hand held device can do both,
Along with taking photos and paging.

No, we can't go back cause the genie's out !
Having popped right out of the bottle,
His etherial vapors in spirit
Joining those of all our past ancestors.

To have known another time, to assure
Myself there is more than only today.
On the shoulders of our predecessors
We stand peering beyond comfortable.

We must harvest the eatables that grow
In gardens we plant, cultivate, and weed.
Like the lines the Dutch speak : quant, impressive,
Colloquial - we harvest these - also.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, October 2, 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 of 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, October 1, 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