Monday, July 29, 2013

The Man with a Hoe

"The Man with a Hoe"

"The Man with a Hoe" by Edwin Markham, 1899, was written as a verbal response to an earlier painting by a French painter, Jean-Francois Millet, in 1863. Both painting and poem have been "moving testimonies to what the too prevalent Inhumanity of humanity can cause.

Ever since first reading Markham's poem, fifty/sixty years ago, I've frequently conjured up the image of modern man caught in his current escapades of being inhuman to his fellow humans. I think of war, of slavery, oppression, and hunger. I see the sophistication of methods to kill, to oppress, to enslave. Markham saw these too a hundred years ago and wrote his compelling commentary about what inhumanity of humanity can cause.

I urge everyone interested to pull up on your devise "The Man with a Hoe" and determine for yourself the image Markham leaves you with.

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Universal Themes

Universal Themes

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 who are unresponsive to the 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 25, 2013

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 from a pain in my ass.

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

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

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fiddle And Fife

Fiddle and Fife

The notes of music of this common life
Are written for both fiddle and the fife;
Heard as lilting strings for light dancing feet,
Leading marchers down middle of the street.

We experience the first more today.
Give thank goodness for the fine bands who play
Music to sweeten a quite common day;
For parades only, in step, marchers sway.

June's gone, awaiting real Independence Day.
Shortly, summer will bring a sunshine's ray
To ward off the thunder and drenching rains,
So burgers can cook over hot coal flames.

We are those people of this little town
Settled here, none of us, of much renown
Who go about their business day to day,
Many loved dance, some marched away.

A town is built of sticks, mortar and stone ;
People created of sinew, blood and bone.
Neighborhoods spring from proud owners who hope ;
The family, it's strength, finds ways to cope.

You may find a farmer born, and raised here
Caring for the fields and flocks, fencing deer.
Some tell us how Pottstown's really doing,
Walking dogs, picking flowers, stove stewing.

Ronald C. Downie.

Monday, July 22, 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 normal 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 sticks together will give them strength,
But, bundling thoughts takes wisdom its full length.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Measuring Richness

Measuring Richness

"A country is never as poor as when it seems filled with riches", Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, verbally
expressed this to his Chinese followers in the 6th Century, BC. How many centuries have passed since he observed this condition in China ? I am amazed that I, in this 21st Century, can think similar thoughts about our own country, the USA.

Of our 330 million citizens how many are really rich ? Statistics show the top 10% of our population have 70% of the country's wealth and this discrepancy is growing ever wider. Wealth, though, is not only calculated in currency but it is also represented by what Adam Smith stated in his book, "The Wealth Of Nations". He talked of "the dignity of the sovereign,"- activities that are to be financed by fair and clear taxation, and of the creation and maintenance of public works that contributes to commerce and education for all.

How would Smith grade our union today ? How would you rate your federal representative in keeping "the dignity of the sovereign", the compact legislators have with their constituents ? I believe the public is correct when they judge Congress as inept, only 10% give Congress a positive rating.

I believe our legislators, in fervently chasing reelection rather than their elected duties, have broken their pledge to the citizens of our country and they must be relieved of their elected positions. You, the public, are vested with a tremendous power, that of voting one into office or out of office.

The wealth of our nation rests in your vote !

Ronald C. Downie

Shackled Two Millennium

Shackled Two Millennium

Tribal God seekers understood
Gospels desired a certain style :
In a robe, tall, slender, beaded,
Long locks curling, wearing sandals,
Their messiah gained a human form.

Now, image is twenty-one centuries old
And still held onto by man. Religion
Imprisons it's believers into a rigid faith,
When disallowed to dream, man stagnates -
Wrapped in the Bible - he is shackled to Christ.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A ReasonFor Being

A Reason For Being

A poem like a story, or a song, or yarn, a tale, a communication, or just a conversation has a reason for being. Thoughts come to mind that need to be, are itching to be, amplified.

The following poem, A Cry From Mid-Space, was written at a time in my life when those things I dreamt about doing were not going to happen. In a long life, unrealized dreams are commonplace, they move on in spite of your desires to be fulfilled. They enable you now to dream anew. When we lose the capacity to dream the flames of hope flicker out and the path to fulfillment blurs until a new spark lights the way for new dreams to occur.

What's the old adage ? "It's not the number of times you're knocked down but, what counts, is the number of times you get back up.

* * *
Cry From Mid-Space

God damned you Dreams, whore no more to me, release me
To covet grayness bleating from a sullen sky.
Don't show me violets pure nor roses gay that cry
My inter soul awake. No ! I must not think free.

Chain my mind, please stem that emotion swell
Within this hide so I do not hope in vain.
In image of his maker, common man can train
As oxen are yoked to circle around the well.

I can not define mid - space where dreamers dwell,
Far sight a scene then slowly squint it into
Mental pictures, like a frosted pane looked through,
Is it real ? Is it heaven ? Is it ? Well, is it, hell ?

Theater must be hell for a lost dreamer's soul :
Not in dance around soothing flames and crackling sounds
That flow the senses' veins; but of grey ash mounds
Staged of choking soot waiting to fill a dreamer's hole.

Accept the young, they have not traversed the gorge
Left by dreamers old whose torrent thoughts erode.
Fill the young with placid manna lest they explode
With alien notions thinking they're their own Saint George.

Dreams - damn you ! Lay not your head on my breast this day.
Free me, so I may see what our Nation antes up :
Those dull, brow bent cast of actors who hold the cup,
Which keeps America hostage and wastes a dreamer's play.

Ronald C . Downie

Monday, July 15, 2013

Song Tune

Song Tune

The song,
The song of life,
The song of life is played in the key of time.

Seconds tick minutes into hours for days to find,
As weeks couple, bearing months, that years combine
Into passing decades etched forever on the mind.
Friends, in chorus, help harmonize the melody Devine.

But the tune,
The tune is ours,
The tune is ours alone,
But the tune is ours, ours, all alone to find.

Ronald C. Downie

Song Tune,

Song 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, people; really, it's your tune, people !

Monday, July 8, 2013

Facebook Overload

Facebook Overload

Worn out, I find myself worn out from too, too much Facebook. Some responders - I was guilty of what I'm claiming others are doing now - post incessantly taking up pages of posts which now turn me off just like political advertisers at election time of the year. The overload is quite apparent with only a cursory look at the page. Look for yourself and tell me what you see.

I think Facebook is defined as "social media", if so, I've dropped clean off the modern social calendar. I've lost my mojo, don't have a camera, don't know how to repost effectively, yes ! the muse has gone away. I've dropped out so those with more important things to tell or show you aren't interfered with by me. Be careful, over exposure may blemish your image, too!

Ronald C. Downiej

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Gay's Perspective

A Gay's Perspective

Black , the cloths of this grey morning
Stood covering Larry, the messenger,
Whose task: inform every passenger
Of Mother Earth an omen . A warning ?

" I don't ask you to like me."

Forces empirical pressed his breast
To exhale a plea embodied in each
Homager under heal, in simple speech,
"Just allow us to live as free as the least."

" I do not ask you to accept me."

A job , a home , freedom to social life ;
Most of all, in a measured , bleating
Monotone," Please allow our meeting
The reaper in loving dignity- not legal strife."

"I only ask that you tolerate me ."

Not outstretched arms of warm embrace,
Nor cold palms on stiff arms so very cool;
Just white knuckles ,teeth clenched ,taunt jaw , stone face.
AHIMSA in want of a better word or tool .

Is there to be found in the reborn beat ,
" Don't stop thinking about tomorrow,"
Unity when all hands come together ? Repeat,
" Yesterday's gone," with it - much sorrow .

Ronald C. Downie

AHIMSA is a Sanskrit word meaning to do no harm and that all forms of life are sacred .

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Brains Grab The Reins

Brains Grab The Reins

Women may understand their lot in life has stemmed from an ancestry formulated on the proposition of "might makes right", meanwhile the physically mightier male has dominated all aspects of living beginning with the lording over of a dwelling place through the eons of hunting for game to eat. Human history has been one of physical imperialism ?

As do the tides change, so does the evolution of the human species change, not by lunar pull, but by a gradual learning force pressed from trial and error exercising the mind rather than the skeletal body. Now society is adapting to "brains have grabbed the reins".
The proper time has come for some women, but others under ignorant subjugation, will have to struggle longer. The patriarchal bondage has cracked with the genie escaping for many. For those freed, their job is ahead of them, they must secure a no going back policy while helping those yet in bondage to free themselves. As tides never end, so never ending
is the struggle for freedom, just look at the never ending battle over race relations here in the cradle of democracy.

The female gender must emulate water, by being of the softest element, but yet, being able to grind down the hardest rock; being the life blood of all living things, but yet, never depleting itself. The Captains of Industry will try to stem your advance because they fear your new thinking will upset their power dynasty. You may rock and roll as the tide pulled by the moon rises and falls, but in the future you may have to become like a tsunami, over powering, wild, making your own waves, washing over all who gets in the way.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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 ;
It needs you to write it out, to bring it the light of day.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fourth Of July

Fourth Of July

As I sally forth for the next four days, The Fourth Of July will begin with a parade down High Street. Marching troops, military and other, will join with the music of parades tapping out the rhythms the marchers and spectators will move to. I especially look for the kilted pipers who squeeze their bagpipes into submission and, as I imagine, I want to dream of myself in the highlands of Scotland a chasing the deer if ever I could.

A parade is the manifestation of the public's attitude about our past, about our present condition, and says a lot about where we go as a nation in the future. The past is what was, the present is fleeting each moment, but the future lies ahead and will test the metal that our country is made of.

We're all familiar with the normal peopled parade events : certainly the marchers, the bikers and automobile drivers, the fire truck drivers, the dignitaries, and all those flesh and blood participants. I have yet to see for parade review the corporations recently classified as persons. Are they cloistered somewhere turning their counted money into speech as also determined by our high court. As antithetical as corporations seem to me to be participating in a parade, I wonder, for the rest of you, does this sentiment carry over into your daily life ? The true nature of a Fourth Of July Parade is up to each of you to determine; what our for bearers fought for and what we honor is at stake each and every July 4th. It is also at stake each and every election cycle we participate in. Who said, something to the effect of, 'it's our's if we can keep it'.

Enjoy parades but it's elections which count !

Ronald C. Downie