Wednesday, August 22, 2018
POEM: Leaves In Autumn
Down and down the leaves will fall,
To each its separate fate.
Some rush in answer to some call,
Some few will seem to hesitate.
As if in fear of certain deaths,
They float up in the sky,
Soaring on the slightest breaths,
Of Autumn breezes passing by.
One last fling above the ground,
One taste of freedom's power,
Til settled with the softest sound,
In a red and yellow shower.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Remembering You With All My Senses - Aphrodite
Remembering you with all my senses,
As a sculptor traces the lines and curves,
Of his most beautiful Aphrodite,
As a blind poet reads with fingertips,
The loveliest and most stirring love sonnet...
So too, I read you... and remember
With all my senses.
I Write Poetry... At Least I Claim I Do
I write poetry.
At least I claim I do.
Sometimes it appears as philosophy, commentary, sometimes humor, sometimes just a feeling which must be let out upon the unsuspecting world... or, at least, out of the captivity of my mind.
Most people "get" the fact that poems, poetry, may be whimsy, may even bending, sometimes, like fantasy, breaking the bonds and bounds of reality.
It's about the words, the flow, the rhythm, the feelings, sometimes deep, sometimes fleeting and hard to identify, the thought behind the thought, the image, the statement of, or misstatement of, the "facts".
In a poem, the "facts" are what the poet sees, or imagines seeing, who, like an impressionist, may "see" an image, not as others see it, but, as it appears to the poet... which can sometimes be damned impossible to put into words.
But, we try. That attempt is poetry, a poem, even incomplete or just a few lines of the initial thought (of which I have several notebooks and pieces of paper) just as some brush strokes on a canvas, or chisel marks on a block of stone are a painting or sculpture... which, though conceived, might not have been born... yet.
Often, when we ARE finished,.. and we never TRULY are, we can look at our creation and see pretty clearly our "message" or madness, whatever it was we were trying to "paint", but, sometimes the reader just does not, CANNOT, "see" what we do... as a viewer in a museum may turn their head partly upside down trying to see what the painter was trying to "draw".
Problem with painters and poets, we don't always "see" things as they "really" are... or, do we?
Read more of my poetry at http://ravensong.mysite.com or find my articles at http://ezinearticles.com/expert/Donovan_Baldwin/19345.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
No Matter What Master Yoda Says, Sometimes "Try" Is All You Get - Jedi Master Or Not
Often these days, people are praised for what they do. Not often enough, probably.
However, I tend to look around for people who try.
Everybody likes to quote Yoda (Star Wars) "Do. Or do not. There is no try."
Sorry, Yoda, while that may work for a Jedi Knight, we mortals need a looser code for daily combat with the tax collector, the traffic meter, kids, age, and the unopenable jar lid (even by a Jedi Knight).
In fact "do" often only happens after many a "try", and, a goodly number of "fails".
Don't get me wrong. I LIKE Yoda, and his homey little aphorisms. They CAN be inspiring and thought provoking.
However, just because something SOUNDS like it makes sense, doesn't mean it does.
No offense to the little green guy, and, he was a Jedi Master attempting to train his Padawan (Jedi apprentice), so he must have had something on the ball. I have to respect him and his 900 years of wisdom... which I doubt can be condensed into pithy little sayings, but, a noble "try" nonetheless.
Still, out of the mouths of babes, and little green Jedi's, can come pearls of wisdom. Often, in fact, it's not the pearls themselves, as much as the value we place on them, and what we wear them with, that makes them beautiful and valuable.
So, Master Yoda, though I may not "do", I WILL continue to "try".
Hope that suffices.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
As I Read Through Social Media Comments I Start To Feel Bad
Sometimes as I read through comments on social media sites, I start to feel bad. So many other people are posting comments that offer deep and important thoughts on life, business, politics, religion, the economy... etc.
Here I sit, chatting about climbing trees and swimming in Pensacola Bay as a boy.
I could get a feeling of value if I was an "entertainer", someone who could make people laugh and forget their troubles... or a Will Rogers kind of guy who poked humorous holes in the conceits of the rich, famous, and powerful.
Bothered me for a while.
Then, I came to realize something. Perhaps there was a niche, a need, for someone who thought the simple things were important enough to talk about, think about. Someone who thought that thoughts did not always have to start at the highest levels and tackle the toughest problems... answering the most burning questions... or even the simple little day to day ones.
So, that's who I am... old guy who still enjoys climbing trees (in his mind), walking the shore by the bay, feeling the wind, listening to the birds, and wondering what's for dinner.
I figure THAT'S important too... just being human... being A human.
Plenty of people taking on the tough questions, and plenty of entertainers... BUT, there's only ONE of me!
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
John Steinbeck and I Are Alike When A Ship's Whistle Blows, Or A Fog Horn Sounds
- John Steinbeck
I know the feeling.
I grew up on the edge of Pensacola Bay in West Florida.
Some nights, I could hear fog horns from ships on the bay.
Boats wanting to pass under the Bayou Chico bridge, a quarter of a mile away, blew their horn. The train which passed my house daily, blew the horn for each driveway and road... and there were a lot of driveways.
I would walk down to the edge of the bay, look across the water, and images and stories would play through my head, and occasionally I would make up my own.
Sometimes I could see the ships... in the evening as the night drew down, I could see their lights, and hear the horns...
Trains, ships, stories, and horns... and a young man's imagination...
No wonder, like Steinbeck, some sounds, some memories, can raise the hair on the back of my neck... and make my foot start tapping...
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
I Often Had To Be Devil's Advocate - Raining On Parades And Other Thoughts
Years ago, as business manager for a small, nonprofit, mental health center in Milton, Florida, I often had to be "Devil's Advocate" when some exciting plans were made.
It happened so often that, at one meeting, the executive director shook his head sadly and said, "Don. I keep you around just so you can tell me what I cannot do."
That's okay, he later got booted out for doing things he shouldn't have... like asking me to run two sets of books... but that's another story.
More likely than not, in most cases, I was being "negative" because I knew we didn't have funds for some new project, or that it was against the stipulations which came with the money we DID have.
Also, part of the reason, was personal... I don't like finding out why something should NOT have been started in the first place, once I'm into a "project". I considered it part of my position to prevent waste and abuse, even if it began with the best of intentions.
One other reason, in this particular instance, was that no other executive level decision maker in the organization had any real business experience or training. To them, a good idea, was an automatic, "Yes! Let's do that!"
Then they would get all excited begin talking excitedly back and forth, and start planning and projecting... until I had to do my "ahem" thing. Once I had their attention, I explained why it couldn't be done.
I don't like raining on people's parades... but, you know what?
Sometimes the parade DOES get rained out.
As a father, an army sergeant, as manager of various businesses, as the adult, I've had to be the one to say, "Sorry. No can do."
It's great to have wonderful plans and ideas, and to throw yourself wholly into some plan or project, but, sometimes it just ain't gonna happen.
Some poor "boss" is going to say, "No", and everybody's going to be mad at him or her... not understanding the reason behind the decision.
Saturday, August 11, 2018
We Protect Our Children. That's Only Natural.
We protect our children. That's only natural.
When I look back on MY childhood, in a much different era, place, and with different dangers, I am sometimes surprised that I survived.
I spent days alone in the woods climbing trees, encountering snakes and strangers, finding all sorts of things which I inspected without fear of contamination, including discarded magazines which enhanced my knowledge of anatomy... somewhat, swam in Pensacola Bay, shot guns, used knives, threw rocks and shot whittled arrows from a homemade bow, at people doing the same to me.
I rode my bicycle in traffic every day, in my early teens getting up at 3 A.M. to ride my bike to an isolated place to get my newspapers and deliver them in the dark by myself.
Had the usual boyhood fights and arguments, and no-holds-barred football games and wrestling matches. Climbed everything... trees, walls, and even a couple of buildings.
Still, somehow, I made it here.
As a grown up, in dangerous occupations, I survived, at least in part, because I knew what I was doing.
As a kid?
Not sure HOW I made it.
Just a spin of Lady Luck's wheel, I guess.
Anyway, that, and Sister Mary Fides, and that dear little storytelling Irish priest, Father Cunningham, set my imagination in gear, and on fire, so that the boy's body, and mind, took it from there, and always did something with the memories.
Just meandering thoughts arriving here this morning.
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Poem: A Tail That's True, Sir...
I once went strolling by the shore,
Looking for a mermaid, Sir!
Such a clever chap as I,
She never would evade, Sir!
One day I spied the lady,
Swimming in the sea, Sir!
I marveled at the wondrous sight,
Unveiled that day to me, Sir!
Her hair was long, a deep sea green,
She had quicksilver skin, Sir!
And, oh her eyes, how to describe,
They'd drive a man to sin, Sir!
Her breasts; two full and floating globes,
Each with a coral tip, Sir!
Why, overall a charming lass.
Oh yes, she was a pip, Sir!
There's just one thing that I might change,
If I could have my wish, Sir!
I would love her just the way she is...
If the bottom half weren't fish, Sir!
I Like Sometimes To Reflect On Things I Have Learned
I like sometimes to reflect on things I have learned over the last 73 years simply by being around long enough to learn them.
That's part of the learning process, whether it's in elementary school, university, a career, or even life.
Learning, not just a simple skill, such as threading a needle, but, a range of "tasks" or skills which make up a larger whole... takes time... and effort... but, that's another discussion.
To my mind, and in my experience, every day is a day in class.
Just as a student of mathematics, physics, literature, biology, zoology, all the -ologies is NOT finished until "the end", and, either all is learned, or the student is no longer capable of learning... so it is with life.
Learning doesn't end with today's "class". It starts with tomorrow, and, making final judgments based on our, so far, incomplete curriculum is a bit rash.
You may learn something tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade, which makes you understand and appreciate all the "learning" which went before, often with it's aches and pains and efforts and successes and (apparent) failures.
Whatever you're learning... give it time.
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Tuesday, August 07, 2018
Poem - Late Spring
The trees have not sent out new leaves
Although the snow declines to fall.
It should be green and spring by now,
But, the clouds above pretend to be,
Prepared to drop white crystal flakes...
Surprising from such filthy rags.
Perhaps the trees have eyes which see,
And fear the fate of tender leaves,
If the clouds make good their promise...
Trees may be smarter than we think.
Sunday, August 05, 2018
I need not cadillacs, or caviar, or crowns.
Wealth to me is time and chance
To choose my words and thoughts
Pasting them upon some pristine page,
On days I choose to make the effort.
Power is to have another
Read and understand
Those words I have written
Taking some of it away.
Fame is to toss out
Some small thought or song
Or simile or metaphor
Picked up by someone else forever.
Food is cheese and bread,
Slice of meat, bowl of salad,
Simple lettuce and tomato,
With a cold glass of beer or wine.
Peace is sleeping each night
Waking to sun or rain,
But not to hatred or death,
Of friend or stranger.
Saturday, August 04, 2018
Blow wind, and drive away
Demons of earth and air.
They do confuse the minds of men,
And bring nearer the hot breath of death.
I seek not for myself,
Nor teach my children,
A hatred for "them",
Especially based only
On the fact that "they"
Live there and we live here,
Fearing us as we fear them.
I would offer out my hand,
And speak the word for "friend",
If "they" would/could do the same.
But, "they" don't trust me,
Although "they" have never met me.
My leaders say that "they" are evil,
Their leaders say the same of me.
I believe most are no more "evil",
Than you and I.
Perhaps the "leaders",
Theirs and mine,
Should go somewhere, and,
Have their own war,
And leave "us" out of it.
Friday, August 03, 2018
Where leads this beckoning road,
This silent, time-worn street?
Does it lead to secret places, where
Angels and demons meet?
Or, does it fade with forward steps,
And slowly cease to be?
Perhaps it reaches unknown lands,
Which I am doomed to see.
For I can never long ignore,
Nor allow my steps to turn,
From each strange path to somewhere,
And the something I must learn.