Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Well, two days left in this home we have lived in for 51 years. We'll be on the road to Saugatuck, Michigan for about two months, while we wait for our new home in Macedonia, Ohio to be ready for occupancy. So I'll be pretty much silent during the interim, since we will only have a slow laptop in MI, and not very conducive to posting, etc.

So, so long for now. I'll be back with more poetry in a couple of months, I hope.

Angry Grandpa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I've been re-reading Karen Armstrong's Holy War. For those who are not familiar with Armstrong, she is the author of the best seller A History of God. In Holy War, her theme is the Crusades of the 12th - 14th Centuries, and their impact on our current perceptions of the Niddle East. And I have derived a much better understanding of the situation viz a viz Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel must, I repeat must recognize that the Palestinians are now in the same position as the Jewish people were in until 1948. They have no nation, no home, and deeply feel that they are in exile. Like the Jewish people, they look back upon their one thousand years of life in Palastine, or falastin as they refer to it. They feel very deeply the actual disgrace and defeat of losing that homeland. Their poets express it better than I ever could.

The Palestinians, for their part, must recognize that that past is gone, and work to establish a rapprochement with Israel. From what I read, the PLO did have that as an objective. But some in the PLO weren't willing to accept co-existence with Israel. They see Israel as a western incursion into the Middle East, a further colonial expansion. In the face of humiliation, and an apparent denial of their right even to exist, it is no wonder that tempers are high.

The three Abrahamic religions all share a common base of compassion for the downtrodden,
peaceful living, and love of neighbors. Each now reads it's holy books to justify the violence that is tearing the Middle East to shreds.

So - a message from and Angry Grandpa to all who will listen. Stop the shooting, cease the demonizing of your fellow man, shut and listen to the man in the street, the poor and underclass, to reason instead of emotion. Think about what you are doing to your own people in the name of your common Creator. Violence only breeds more violence, and gets you absolutely nowhere. Indeed, in the case of the current situation in Lebanon, it's moving you back in time to a previously unacceptable condition.

THINK, LISTEN, TALK to EACH OTHER as members of the human family, not as demons to be destroyed.

Unfortunately, the demonizing became a central process early in Western European history, with the Crusades. And it has become an underlying thought process in Western Europe and America ever since. So the United States must work overtime to rectify it's failed policies in the Middle East. Demonizing nations as "Evil", as in "the axis of evil" certainly is an expression of this deep and mistaken attitude.

If this nonsense doesn't stop, the world could see this as the opening skirmishes in Word War III, which none of us want to see.

So - get this message across to whomever you can, and perhaps it will reach the ears of the makers of policy around the world.

Angry Grandpa

Monday, August 07, 2006

Same sex marriage is back in the news this AM. In New Jersey, two male Episcopal priests wish to marry. The church won't recognize the union, and the state won't permit it.

All folks want it equal rights. Why not just change the language? Marriage seems to be the trigger word that everyone argues about. Why not a civil ceremony, recognizing equal rights, but not given the name of "marriage". So "marriage" is reserved to the union of one man and one woman - OK, that's clear enough. But why deny other decent people their rights over the meaning of word?

And why should some people who read the Bible one way have the right to enforce their interpretation upon everyone else? It just doesn't seem right, or just, does it?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Well, it's been qute a while since I added some more of my poetry. We've been very busy with packing, etc. The new home is progressing very nicely, and the packing as well, so we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, to continue the Puzzle Boxes poetry, here goes!

LISTENING

Listen to the teacher! Hear the teacher
Talking - expounding, explaining,
Telling - the voice of authority!
To play the game, you must listen
For clues, or cues - words that
Must re-appear at the right time
Or place - usually on a
Test (or exam, if you prefer
The more academic sound of it) - to
Be graded, commented upon,
Criticized for accuracy, fitness
Or such other standards as may be applied.
Perhaps, one day, a question may result
From listening? Properly phrased,
In the preferred tone of voice,
An answer may return. Did you
Hear it? Are you listening?
Or, were you, perhaps, listening to
Another voice; a small but insistent
Voice inside the box of yourself?
Was it, do you suppose, seeking
Your attention too? Why so?
To try and fit the pieces of the puzzle together?
Life, yesterday, tomorrow, sunshine,
Or rain; love, feelings, hate,
And more. What have they to do
With listening to the teacher?

Who else but I ever listens to me,
To my inner voice? Who cares
That I have a question more important
Than that before the class, before the
World or the system?
A friend - perhaps - but they are so
Few; parents - yes, but then -
How make them aware? Why not the
Teacher? I can feel and think a
Connection -

Listen to me! How does this subject
Fit my quest into the puzzle
Of myself? If you can help me
With that, maybe I can listen
Better, come alive to your teaching.
And, just maybe, we could converse -
Have a dialogue - learn together?

Listen to me, please!
CONFORMITY

I'm like you and you're like me, and we might
Be twins, at least in dress and thought.
For that's where safety lies, among the
Boxes. Outwardly each box is
Angular, Rectangular, "square? Oh, my,
Even THAT idea creates discomfort
Somewhere, in some corner of some other
Box. Mustn't do that!
We think, falsely, that being different is being
Controversial, and that controversy
Intrudes upon learning. Oh, it can, at times
When learning's misunderstood.

Conformity's one of the toughest things
To forego, when young, and insecure, and
Doubting much. Conformity creates
False security, when insecurity's so strong.

But why insecurity at all? Why
Are the boxes so in doubt of self
And others? Why fear that, here, mobilizes
Hatred; there, submission; in yet
Another, secrecy? Is not each a form
Of conformity? Of course, not always,
But at times, not so?

And how does conforming further learning, growing?
By making all the boxes seem adjusted?
By making the system flow smoothly on,
No bumps or bruises? Where's the learning
In conformity? Where's the growing in thinking
Only thoughts already thought; repeating
The same old cliches; feeling only what others,
In their conforming spirit, will allow?

In sameness there is only sameness; no Bach, no
Einstein, no Will Shakespeare to carry
Mankind forward in the search; no art, no
Music, no creativity at all - humor
I suspect would not long survive. So open up the
Classroom box; transform the rows; engage
The mind and heart; and enter into the life
Of growth, and change, of loving and of
Learning - please,
don't
just conform!


CREATIVITY

Puzzles puzzling on puzzles
Can be annoying, when
Done aloud. Or when the confusion
Infuses itself into otherwise
Orderly discussion. Fog becomes
Clouds - clouds become
Thunderheads - a storm impends.

The storm crashes 'round, blowing
Where it will, bending, breaking,
Flooding its way; bright flashes
Now; great crashes then; and
When it's spent, what's left?

Oft this is the creative act, but
Not always. Other times it
Comes creeping in silently, intruding
Upon the reverie of aloneness
And Summer silence.

Somewhere in the midst, there is found
A divergence - a splitting of one
Into two, three, more - ideas, persons,
Sentences. Or convergence, when
Of a sudden, wholeness steals across
Subconscious fields to rest,
And wait.

Creativity is like this: art,
Music, humor, letters, all
Share this undefinable moment when
Something new is born. Or
Something old resolved, perchance,
Opening new fields, new vistas
And paths before unseen.

Try to grasp this in the net of
Order, discipline, it oft
Will slip away, unseen, unfelt.
Within the order of whatever
Sort, there must be room for chaos,
Momentary, silent or noisy,
Yet ordered, managed, contained
Within its own deep logic.

Measure it? Teach it? Hardly!
Facilitate it? Try! Encourage?
Certainly, if you dare, and choose to
Take the risks.
Provide a place for it; a spirit
Upon which it can feed;
Give tools, place and space,
And share the chance.