Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stars And Stripes

- Thinking about the Forth Of July coming to us this week -

Stars & Stripes

First star showing I'm alive
Was posted in year, 1935.

Tartan threads grow the field
Accepting stars of yearly yield.

Stripes are custom, long and lean,
Marking vision's a yearly scheme.

But my banner's incomplete,
I write to people, I'll never meet ;

Do I really write for all of them :
The strong women, thoughtful men ?

But for myself, a rhyme is sought,
No meter's found to further my plot,

It is only by chance or is it a struggle
That word by word grows my puzzle.

Somewhere there's another Plowman's Bard
Walking the furrow's straight, deep, and hard.

He tramps God's Earth in want of nourishment ;
His mind's at work for destiny's encouragement.

One is so boldly driven for its benefactors ;
Other, dreams of clouds, as if they're actors.

Lasting the longest, beyond a generation,
Some build a society, some feed a nation.

Who said, "Man can't live by bread alone."
We think of dreamers where ever they roam.

Poets subsist on a sparse spartan menu ;
They write words for all the World to view.

So soon, "I'll lay me down for a long night's sleep".
Not knowing, if any words my readers will keep.

But that can't drive my lust to keep on writing ;
I write for me, then for thee, then the unborn waiting.

Forgive me for being so overtly aggressive,
For In my cluttered dreaming mind, the mess is.

To start a poem is not all that very hard,
It's been done fairly well by many a bard.

It's ending a poem that's a poet's blank wall,
The reader seeks closure, we hear its clear call.

Ronald C. Downie


Friday, June 28, 2013

Only Knowledge

Only Knowledge

When, looking into the mirror of hope
I find far too many so deep in despair
Who willingly slough off a need to cope,
Leaving them vulnerable, requiring care :

Will it be an epiphany that grabs the scene ?
Without something like that, what's then ?
Do spots disappear, stripes fade, does fat lien ?
From nagging disappointments, hope comes when ?

Realizing a personal attitude becomes the key
To unlocking the potential energy pent up now
Awaiting release. Learning wisdom's wise old plea,
"Only knowledge sets Man free", showing him how.

History records, rewrites episodes sad or proud ;
While shunning facts, destiny floats on as a cloud.

Ronald C. Downie


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Is Your Powder Dry ?

Is Your Powder Dry ?

Ignorance is pervasive among those of all ages who put faith above science, who give no credence to evolving facts, who bow to the self elevating leaders, who ignore the building blocks of all life. The acceptance of an unexamined life is too, too pervasive among a lethargic public intent on going along to get along. Ignorance has a brother in complacency where the two work off each other to find the lowest level they can sink to.

Knowledge, or the pursuit of knowledge, has no steadfast goals but that of an ever aggressive need to press ahead, to see the next hill and scale it, then to see the next and so on. Most humans have the aptitude to pursue knowledge but need a nudge to muster the attitude to get on with it. A country with an attitude not to accept ignorance as acceptable is a country poised on great things.

Those among us in leadership who seem to accept or, more wrongly, coddle ignorance must be rooted out of office, voted out of office. Individually, each of us has an important job to do from now to 2014 election. Shoulder your muskets and make sure your powder is dry!

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Black Holes Of Ignorance

Black Holes Of Ignorance

Ardently claiming insight into the black holes of ignorance, the learned, through their writings in books and articles, try to pierce the bleak of darkness in hope of enlightening the World. The World, in its enormity, has a vastness which covets darkness as it tries to suck in all ambient light.

Through the millenniums, the learned have built upon their counterparts over the passing centuries who had cast off the darkness of ignorance through their understanding of mathematics and science, history and astronomy, along with the social sciences. Light is emitted wherever learned knowledge is allowed to prosper; whether in a single mind or expanded out unto a population.

Find politicians who bet on ignorance, for they are the proponents of the black holes driving down the brightness of creation, and make sure these legislators are voted out of office. When these leaders trick us into stepping backward, we trip over ourselves, so civilization is stymied for a while from taking giant steps into the future.

Our ancestors, especially of pre agriculture era, worshiped what they could readily see. The longest day was evident for they could sense the days increasing in sunlight, then the change, as the days of decreasing sunlight were observed. Solstice, the day we now celebrate, was extremely important to our fore bearers because it defined a specific day for the grand change of daylight's duration. The change, even though so gradual, the learned of the tribe was charged with its determination and setting the date.

For you, who seek light over darkness, you have a job to do, a very important job. You must muster strength enough to vote out any legislator who promotes the opposite of your desires, that of demanding light which casts illumination over darkness.

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Love The Art In Stone

I Love The Art In Stone

I love the art in stone shown much less - these days,
When hung framed on bare 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 .

Stone is an art form when an artisan plies his trade.

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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Casey Downie

Casey Downie

Advancing age has a dumbing down effect on an elderly's thinking, mine included. But, a wakeup call came this morning from my granddaughter, son Ron's daughter, Casey.

Over the years, I turned my interests in books over to writing short verses to commemorate important dates :
birthdays, holidays, family deaths, graduations. I hoped my words would be inspirational at the time and their meaning last long into the future.

Then this morning on Facebook my granddaughter, Casey, posted my poem written to her on her eight birthday. Giving recognition to earlier written verse is only surpassed by a hug and a kiss in current time. I am blessed, now, by having the best of both worlds.

I'll be interestingly surprised to see more of her discoveries that she finds while cleaning out the attic treasures. Try it, you may also be surprised.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Labyrinth's Omphalos

Our town, every town, needs a labyrinth to give its citizens a visible means to engage in personal introspection. Ask: when is it coming to Pottstown?

A Labyrinth's Omphalos

Enter at your own peril,
Caution, not too fast.
Seems meditative to those
Who slowly move forward
One step at a time, deliberate,
Like to a metronome's beat.
To the right, to the left, winding,
Ever winding, seeking a center's point.

Red robin alights, cocks his head,
Either listens or feels for a worm.
A hidden worm's movement makes
A sound or makes a faint vibration.
He hops lightly, cocks his head,
Pecks the earth. A worm, maybe ?
Deliberate, poised, an outcome sought,
A calculated return pays dividends.

Arriving at the center is half the effort ;
Reluctance to begin is the other half.
Slowly winding along the serpentine path
Allowing an open mind to dart and flit
Capturing memories, mulling adventure,
Muddled merging become quite cloudy.
As the sun peeks around a huge cloud
And breaks bright, the mind does similar.

Pearly luminescent bundles of spheres
Appear submerged along the water's edge.
Big and deep voiced the old bull frog
Gently, for a moment, hovers over the
Eggs and clouds the water nearly opaque.
Older than thought, black dots begin life.
Billions of years evolving, born in water,
Then extending their life breathing in air.

Returning from the center is a little less
Deliberate, common the sighted destination,
Familiar and ordinary. Coming home, as would
A family's trip, feel. The more familiar the
Surroundings to mind and body comes ease.
Reflection rolls on and on tumbling in the mind.
We live within our mental state prodding memories,
Realizing facts, pulsating on our course of energy.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

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, but so powerful.

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, where he stressed the mini and macro of space.

That morning was memorable to me to the nth degree, its aura 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 centered 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 a quite 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 services 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 poets hope to bring both of their positions together.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, June 10, 2013

Trial And Error

Trial And Error

When in the surge of history, we brace
Against the breadth of inane ignorance,
Which permeates those persons seeking grace
From worship, instead of, perseverance:

Then the tide swings toward understanding
The limits of man's faith in modern world.
Scribes write their definition of meaning,
Describing the shackles, flags are unfurled:

And then, the inquisitive seek science
As it builds upon trial and error,
With preponderance on thought not seance,
"This I Believe" just's a broken mirror.

Faith's failure leaves many disconsolate,
Though science, may they all repatriate.

Ronald C Downie

Friday, June 7, 2013

Seeking Our Resolve

Seeking Our Resolve

"When in the course of human events", do we stray
Or remain in a direction that speaks to our resolve ?
Making a mark in life, our resolve. What is the way?
Ancestry commands all of its strengths must evolve :

Then, from the fringes into the middle, a line's struck
Marking the optimum course to achieve desired goal.
Familiarity captains ship, reads charts, exudes luck,
All the while the groove is ground etching the soul :

And then, the die being cast, you put your shoulder
To the task ahead committing yourself into action,
Finally realizing, an unexamined life's not only bolder,
But one swinging widely poised to gain more traction.

Life marked to succeed by person's true grit gathers
Many followers. Desire to win with a winner, matters.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, June 6, 2013



Long in years,
when passions pout -

Old's seen change,
heard hymn and shout -

Wondering still,
what life's about -

Fire in the belly,
long turned to gout -

Thin's in,
so we shun the stout -

The long haired poet,
termed a lout -

His poetic wish,
to shout it out -

Wisdom through thought,
to live without -

We are the lesser,
left yet in doubt -

Deep in years,
time when passions pout !

Ronald C.Downie.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013



I am a planet, just as you are;
I am opposing hemispheres, as you.

I was started from a seed fertilized,
As was a stalk of grass, or oak tree.

Or whale swimming, not in prairie seas,
Or elephant amerced, not in ocean fields.

Each to its own, in its place, so it is fixed.
Planets are calved from a fertilized seed.

Me, anchored earth through Mom's umbilical cord,
Me, sprouting like a blade of grass, I reach for light.

Hemispheres reaching in opposite directions;
Half, in the air ; other half, rooting for sustenance.

Enfolded am I in the universe I've entered,
As each life form born, enters a universe.

We all are reluctantly building our own futures
Thinkingly independently but acting in concert

With our animal and vegetative counterparts,
Mingling as we must, to build grand empires.

Empires, though, are just constructs of man
Succumbing to his wayward ego, regretfully.

The universe we all inhabit is so demanding
Incorporating all life forms in the chain of food.

Eating, being eaten, growing - not knowing if we
Are to be eaten - a trip each life form travels.

Our consciousness forgets we're on this continuum,
It's hard for humans to understand their own frailty,

Since life's battle is to be the,"King Of The Hill",
Man can't fathom the free fall from top to bottom.

Death returns all life forms to their basic elements
Reducing the whole of each into their components.

These released components are now free to link up
And form new life forms completing the grand cycle.

Whether flying or swimming, walking or anchored,
Simple or complex, planets, small or huge, are calved.

Life never stops evolving, calving is commonplace,
All around us life never stops pounding the drum.

Into the eternity of time and space we meander
On trails blazed or unmarked feeling our way.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, June 3, 2013

Lashed Together

Lashed Together

When rolling swells from humanity's wake
Rocks life's boats, tethered safely at ready.
Sailors seek rising tides for sailing's sake
As Moon mass draws up sea waters steady:

They look to stars and charts to map the way
Off shoals, between buoys marking channels.
Seeking guidance demands society's say
About norms in living, choosing panels:

Panels representing will of people
Who, when lashed together, become stronger,
As bricks and mortar raise up a steeple
To tower cities with shadows longer.

Bundling together sticks will give them strength,
But, bundling thoughts takes wisdom its full length.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, June 2, 2013

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

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

No going back cause the genie's out !
Having popped right out of the bottle,
His etherial vapors in gypsy spirits
Join 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 Dutch speak : quant, impressive,
Colloquial - yes, we will harvest this - also.

Ronald C. Downie