Wednesday, January 29, 2014


The decade of the 1950's, some sixty years ago, was certainly an eventful time in my life. I graduated from Pottstown High School, spent a year in center county at Penn State University, plied my physicality on the gridiron, married and fathered two daughters, returned to PSU for another semester, and interspersed throughout this entire decade, I worked for the same man I began mowing grass for in the late 1940's while just a young schoolboy. 

Henry Fox, while employed by Doehler Jarvis, began mowing lawns in the late 1940's as a summer's second occupation. He went into his own business in the 1950's and built a formidable landscape nursery company.  Fox Landscaping became a frequent recipient of highway restoration contracts which were awarded directly through the state. Being state contracts the wages paid to the employees doing the physical work were paid at state regulated prevailing rates. The rate for landscape laborer was $2.10 an hour.

This amount of $2.10 per hour paid to the very lowest level employees working on state jobs 50/60 years ago seems awfully low by today's standards. But, when all costs of living adjustments could be calculated and applied up to today, this hourly rate would probably be well over $20.00 an hour. 

With this in mind, what in the world is so great with a rise in the minimum wage to $10.10. I was able to start a family, go to school, and buy a drivable car while receiving the minimal wage 60 years ago but I couldn't do it today at $7.25 an hour or even $10.10. 

Our federal congress is today over half populated by millionaires and those, not so affluent, are still damned well off. This Congress, under the cloud of their personal affluence, seem bent on bringing back the legitimacy of an aristocracy complete with a hoard of serfs who resemble us, the 99%R's. 

These legislators have never had to deal with poverty as an aspect of daily life. They've rarely had to pay on a student loan, or seen their homestead worth less then the mortgage written on it. The glasses legislators look through these days are flowery rose colored devoid of viewing the World as it lays before them. Rather, they worship at the well of the few who are spoiling all the other wells around long available to the masses which kept them from dying of thirst.

When not poisoning wells these range bosses are discrediting the very jobs they were voted in to do and, disgustingly so, are denigrating the role of women as our mother's, our daughter's, as our care giver's, and as the majority, by gender, of American citizens. When the courage of women manifests itself in a loud chorus  of their members shouting their worth from the mountain tops, then they will vote to throw the bums out, the bums who wish to keep females under heal?

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, January 27, 2014


Contrary to a popular notion, that
A person like me is indispensable,
I'd like to put this thought to rest.

My willingness to write is quite commendable ;
My ability to write may be truly questionable ;
But, on and on I go, writing words of valued trash.

I question authority without due cause,
I refuse to listen to reasonable chatter.
I am an icon of an ineffective communicator.

Those like me are seen daily on Facebook,
Always posting their image, good or better,
They feel images are better than new ideas.

Impervious to reticule, their facial expression
Shows they're the real deal, truth exudes.
All's alive, not from information, but by photos. 

Narcissistic are our own Daphne's and Adonis' 
Capturing their faces, not in pools, but on line.
Angelic are spirits of the super self important.

There I go again - King of the Hill - that's me,
Over stuffed, overly old, too unimportantly brash.
Don't listen to me, I am really inconsequential.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Long Strides

Born into this World from an overt act
Each our fellow beings resulted from.

None of us can reach back and undue it,
So the dye's cast, the future's our soul's path.

Gestation, those 266 days of formulation, 
Is only the rehearsal for life's play.

It's a child's parents through their union 
Which transcends generations, leaps forward

Quickly, as the child gains raw knowledge
And takes positive steps in their own world.

They prepare for their own future linage
Drawn from family, spirited through time.

History's long strides can be best measured 
Not by duration of gestation, nor 

By abundance of productive unions, 
But thru the result of the best coupling.

Then a spirited offspring, receptor 
Of knowledge, an ambassador of life

Enters the World to make a mark on life,
Indelible as a tattoo, it's not.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


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
Thinking 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 


Friday, January 17, 2014

Martin Luther King- Celebrating His Birthday

From the bayous to the mountain tops Doctor King promoted non violence while urging his followers to march in unity which expressed their discontent of having to live their lives as second class citizens.

Martin Luther King followed Gandhi and Mandela in moving the World toward "A More Perfect Planet".

 *    A Special Day At Second Baptist    *

A tall steeple spires Pottstown's highest hill
Above strong walls of matched field stone.
Within, tone pitched voices heavenly trill
At Second Baptist, their soul's spiritual home.

   Are there shadows dark enough to hide
   A light within shining from deep inside ?

Below, in the valley of the Schuylkill River
Arched trees gracefully mark her gentle banks.
Finally, she's clean, clear flows this life giver.
Man's new conscience commands our thanks.

    I ask. Are there shadows dark enough to hide
    A light within beaming bright from deep inside ?

Up there, somewhere on mountains high
The heavens open, down strong rains pour
Streams, creeks, and rivers from the sky.
Water flows for all, for rich and the poor.

     Say, are there shadows dark enough to hide
     A light within glowing bright from deep inside ?

Not all rivers flow deep from recent rain water.
Thought streams and brooks of want gather
Carrying dreams for humanity's peaceful order.
We are immersed in life regardless the weather.

     Who could light dark shadows which tries to hide
     An illuminating message from the heart inside ?

King ! Why King could ! Yes, Dr. Martin could :
Spark a flint, light a candle, could ignite a flame,
Have a dream, a dream that inspired all who would 
Listen. Spread light, sing out, Proclaim ! Proclaim !
      There are no shadows dark enough to hide
      A bright light radiating out from deep inside.
      Proclaim ! There are no shadows so dark to hide
      A spiritual blessing sent from the Lord On High.

Ronald C .Downie.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sonnet 2

 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 some 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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sonnet 20

Spiten Spittle

When readership expresses to little
Interest in my subject as written,
That my mouth drys up with wasted spittle,
I take some water, gargle, start spiten :

Then, access the topic again, rethink
My propositions, rewrite if I must.
It is the public who wishes to drink
From my word fountain; needed is their trust :

And then, when the steel of my conviction
Gains temper, hardens, and affirms my thought,
I write for self without old restriction
Between me and my reader, I am caught.

The World exists in spite of my being,   
I write for myself to find some meaning.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sonnet 13

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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Wheel Able Garden

For so many years, at least those when I've been around a radio on a Saturday morning at 11AM, I've listened religiously to "You Bet Your Garden" on NPR.
Mike McGrath, formally Editor at Organic Gardening,
is the show's host and chief proponent of home gardening, especially, if you use large quantities of homemade compost. When fallen leaves are crumbled, chewed up, and aged on a pile then, anyone doing this is making compost, often referred to as black gold. 

These days Mike is championing raised gardens. These gardens are raised six to twelve inches above present ground level by means of some edge retention of diverse composition : wood, stone, brick, cement, etc. One dimension seems imperative, that's of width, which optimally should be four foot. Four foot wide allows you to not ever walk or stand on the soil placed in the beds where plants are to grow. Length is arbitrary only to be judged by what seems comfortable for your working of the beds. 

A recent listener called in to discuss the lack of sunlight hitting an area were he could place a raised bed garden. Mike replied that sunlight is one of the mandatory elements needed for good plant production, so if it's going to be lacking, all other elements must be optimized if acceptable results are expected. Mike further urged that finding a spot with good sunshine is an imperative.

Thinking about Mike's comment on the sunshine's availability, especially eatable vegetable production, I thought : if the sunshine won't come to the vegetables, can the vegetables go to the sunshine ? 

Since there's a construction element in making raised beds, why not make some of these beds mobile by building them as carts on wheels ? Then an avid gardener with limited sunshine on his property could maximize the sun's effectiveness by moving the planted cart in the path of the sun's rays as it moves during the day. Certainly this wouldn't be universally   useful but could be desirable to those would be gardeners with sunshine limitations. 

Raised gardens have replaced the old truck patch mentality by improving yields and reducing work. The emphasis on the vitality of compost, the relative ease of producing it, and the nature of compost being quite lite in weight makes its use ideal for both raised beds and for my proposed wheel able carts.

I bet somewhere today someone is nailing a cart together. How the plants react to moving will be the real test. I grant you the concept is simplistic, there for, it will probably work well. When I see one at work in town I'll get that "Ah, Ha" moment and get a smile on my face. 

Ronald C. Downie

Bonnie Lea - Happy Birthday

When hearing the toll of New Year's bells
I step back realizing what another year tells,
January 11th, date of eldest's birthday has 
Arrived, pushing three score, dancing to jazz.

Do I hear a tap, tap, taping on the floor ;
See a deep long swaying move and more ?
Has music in her feet, singing on her lips,
Her perpetual motion has swaying of her hips.

Bonnie's odyssey with sister, Sherri, began
Early in life due to imperfections of bad parents.
Rising out of these shadows she's won battles,
Bore two, Cameron-Kendria , married Kenny.

Caught up in the cold Polar Vortex, long
Forgotten thoughts drift away from memory.
You'll find the lyrical music of song 
Which describes early life, your own story.

Birthdays, believe me, continue to come
No matter how much we want to forget.
It's best to embrace them, but there are some
More memorable, they're without regret. 

Happy Birthday !
Love You !
Dad & Connie


Friday, January 10, 2014

Sonnet 11

Verdant Valleys

West, from a bluff, I see a verdant valley
Clothed in varied greens that eyes sight.
Unfolding leaves wishing deep green, dally,
Waiting for high skies, warm days, sunny bright :

Producing chlorophyl is their desire,
Multiplying in numbers to pump breath
Onto Earth. Exchange is what leaves require,
Plus sunshine, water, and food from soil's depth :

Life's food, pressure squeezed into fossil fuel
From deep down, this carbon now seeks release
For what ? Pollution, climate change, storms rule: 
Twentieth Century found power, not peace.

Advance walks giant strides, mostly thought blind ;
Words state facts, time arbitrates for the mind.

Ronald C Downie

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Who the hell do they think they're kidding ? Not enough money, they wail to all who'll listen, to all who eat at their trough, to all who are duped by the rich's lust for wealth and income leaving little, if any, for the rest of us.

The haves perpetuate the idea they need more from the pie in order for the rich to continue to have the economy prosper. Hog wash, I say, just like the old feudal system when the aristocracy took more and more until the system imploded.

They built more castles, thick walled and moated to keep out the peasants until the beat down, downtroddened  peasants revolted. The mortared walls of castles still stand although their rich occupants fled long ago trying  to preserve their ill-gotten wealth but to little avail. 

"Fools and their gold are soon parted."

Not enough money to raise the minimum wage, nor enough to extend unemployment insurance, or  enough to provide health insurance is a guise by the haves to deny the have-nots. 

The One %ers portion of wealth and percentage of income has risen about 300% while the middle class income shrank 10%. Such a disparity can not continue without a disruption from the denied against the too, too well healed. Not enough money for everyone, my ass, there's plenty if it's spread around properly.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, January 6, 2014

When Love Is Harbored

When love is harbored in a safe port
Snugly moored to a very sturdy dock,
It rises and recedes like a tides court,
A lunier pass, our heaven's Earth clock :

Only then, the maturing pangs of love
Exercise a wanting nearness of desire,
Which unfolds as ageless as time's dove
Hovering, pointing a path lovers require :

And then up anchor, heading out to sea,
Watching Westerlies, eyeing the horizon,
Maturity nurtured love sets sails for lee.
It's an aged forest, ship's masts are from.

The Universe in all its wonderment created women
To birth and nurture beings, our World calls, Men.

Ronald C. Downie, 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

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 only 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

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Beneath my hardened exterior beats a wanting not yet fulfilled. Am I like you? Are you like like me? Are we the disrespected among the mass of our community because we speak softly, with opinion we write, we keep to ourselves, are we a hidden muzzled minority?

Does History record our achievements in grand headlines or can they be seen in the script of the measured advance of civilization recorded by the multitude of post episode reporting? I hope so.

As Americans, we decide whether or not to live our lives in quiet desperation or on the thin edge of emotion. Passions are birthed out of the bubbling cauldron of emotions stocked full during our youth but, through time, diminish from the riggers of aging as I try to describe in the following.


Money to incarcerate, none to educate.
What's our future, where's our priority ?
Dumbing down America toward Third
World status. Vote all of them out !

Have you no shame? College students 
Must borrow to learn, their learning 
Improves the lot of all Americans.
Congress is eating our seed corn !

Holidays are a time to give honor 
To those who give of themselves,
Who willing give making your life 
Safer, happier, and worth living.

If your not of immigrant ancestry,
You're of Native American linage
Who are awash in casino gambling.
Immigrants learn gambling easily.

It's will to live, beyond all else,
That drives people to longer life.
Having the will, is no guarantee,
Breathing longer is the answer. 

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lily Noelle

Lily Noelle Kurtz is a millennium grandchild,
Born 1/2/2000, she'll see this full Century
And make her mark on life, you bet she will !

"Absolutely not, no sir, she's not pretty" !
"Lily is beautiful"! At fourteen she's a beauty
For her age, like a lily flowering in the garden.

So superficial, pretty is lightly veiled;
Beauty, though, is raw, sound features:
Jet black hair, dark eyes, coy smile.

Wings on heels, strong heart, stride thighs, 
Crack of the gun starts both legs pumping,
End of straightaway tape awaits disruption.

Classrooms develop into a comfort zone,
Words and numbers are pleased with use,
But, pictorial composition draws her further in.

Lily's brothers set an awfully high bar to top,
She's up to the task, her eye's on the mark.
Education counts in a household of learning.

Just as May Bells delight, could Lily's smile
Ignite pungent fragrances in garden's path?
The beauty of the lily's both in sight and scent.

Lily will affect life as day lilies do for gardens,
Creating composition with color combinations,
Vast patches, diverse colors, eyes pleasured.

With open arms the World awaits you.
You'll arrive in good time. Don't rush !
Maturity is time sensitive, it develops. 

With All Our Love,
Happy Birthday !
Nanny&Pop Pop