Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Saskatchewan, plain and tall.

Saskatchewan is a minimalist's paradise.

My wife's dad would joke,

"Art is easy there. One straight line across the page,

and you've drawn the landscape."

Yes, hard to pronounce--easy to draw!

Look hard enough and squint,

you see the back of your own head.

I know all the jokes.

The joke is the poor BC people.

I was one not long ago.

They are so blessed by a bounty of beauty, 

they cannot see the elegance of solid simplicity.

There, a curve is just another one of many.

Who notices?

But when you drive like an arrow and then get thrown a curve ball,

it's exciting!

Hills, valleys, rivers? They've got hundreds, each prettier than the last one.

When you suddenly drop out of the monotony into a dale

out here, you really notice it.

Then there is the sky, the endless, ever changing, panoramic, living skies.

We are people of such faith we said to the mountains,

"Be thou removed and cast into the sea."

They were blocking the view.

Out there, it's like, "Look at the beautiful sunse...oh it's gone behind a hill."

As we drive, we see a miles high cloud bank like a great wall.

To the left is azure fields of sky with wispy sheep of clouds.

To the right is God's own pastel palette air-brushed by the setting sun

and decorated with brushstroke slashes of rain falling miles away.

Behind us the night is steadily sneaking up like a swarm of grasshoppers.

You just have to open up your heart and see.   


Friday, 26 October 2012

Forgiveness is...

First forgive yourself.
Open up to
Repentance and receiving
God's love
In your heart of hearts.
Vindication takes
Effort. It is
Not as
Easy as
Simply
Saying,


I'm
Sorry.

...cutting the cast off a broken wing so you can fly again.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

I met a girl in a coffee shop.

I met a girl in a coffee shop.

Shy. Letting her sister do all the talking.

She never even remembered me.

I remembered a mass of flaming ginger hair.

She was ten years younger anyway.

The girls and a brother came to our poetry group.

Still shy. She quietly read her poems.

We all read our poems round and round the circle.

Poems are our past sins, present pain, and future hopes. 

We friends heard heartsongs some lovers never do.

The siblings and I would hang out after each poetry group.

Not so shy. She spoke up and joined the conversation.

We spoke of wars, and treks, and rings and heroes, occasionally reality.

One summer, she and I were the group, as her sister married.

Too much stigma to say 'just friends', mere acquaintances then.

A little braver. She started coming to my church, meeting my friends.

To hang out after church, I needed to give her rides home.

 Was it mom's pie, or her that made me stay so late each Sunday night?

Confident. She moved into town and the home of  'sister' from the church.

Everywhere that Esther went Mark was sure to go.

Trips to see sister and nephews were fine wine of time spent well.

We were like an old married couple, but 'never dated'.

Bold now. "Am I your girlfriend or not?"

Two days before my birthday. Best birthday yet.

No money. No career. No clue. No problem--she loves me!

Finally she said, "Here's the ring I want. Propose when you're ready."

I did. I was. We married.

Two days before my birthday. Best birthday EVER!

A carefully laid foundation makes a home that will last. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bone density

The prompt today: write a 'bare bones' poem. Take a page of a book, take three random words, and make a Poem. The closest book was a bible. The page was Ecclesiastes 9:6-10:9. The words I picked: Might, war, eat.

War is not might.

Though you might think so.

The foe to beat?

Do your poor eat?


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Adoration Radiation.

The challenge was to read an old poem out loud and post the audio and/or video. We don't have a video camera, but recorded the audio. My awesome wife used her computer whiz skills to scrabble together some free pictures to go with it.

The most challenging challenge

We were tired and she was coughing.

At first we couldn't find the right pictures.

Then we found too many and I was getting picky.

Then she got impatient and pernickity.

Then she kinda yelled at me,

"WE NEED TO GO TO BED"

That made my decision.

Here's the finished product.

We went to bed.

She rocks. 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Blanks for the memories

Blank

Blank page

Blank book

Blank look

Blanc mange

Blank cheque

Blank mind 

Blank wall

Drawing a blank

Fill in the blanks

Blanks in the gun

Billy Blanks workout

Blank out

Hug your blanky

Blankety blank

Fill in the blanks

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Let it flow.

The prompt of the day is "When life throws you a wrench..."

And I say, "...fix your car or the plumbing"

What ever gives you flow, I guess.

What ever unstops the blockages.

Purged

Cleansed

Renewed

Purified

Catharsis

Pruned

Renovated

These are all synonyms of a word in John 15:3

"Now you are CLEAN through the word (teaching) I have spoken to you"

In the Greek {Katharos} 

From which the words Catheter(TMI) and Catharsis come from.

Pardon my crudity, but basically, a soul enema.

So what is your spiritual, mental, and emotional laxative?

Do you sing or scream or cry or laugh or dance or romance?

Do you do all of the above at the same time?

Do you "sit at the table and clamp [your] thoughts on paper

so they won't bother [you] any more."?

Do you stab the quill into your heart to use the pain for ink?

Do you play out the anger until your instrument gently weeps?

They may say you are unhealthy to let it all hang out.

Well shake them up and see if they don't blow their top all over the room.

Let go and let The Word bubble up in your spirit

Like with peroxide or hyssop impurities must surface.

Soon it will be a cleansing stream flowing from your inmost being.

This old house--renovated

The fruitless tree--pruned

Rottenness removed --catharsis

Precious metal--purified

A dusty passport--renewed

Filthy rags--cleansed

A clenched stomach--purged

Let it go. "Let it flow.

Let it blossom. Let it grow."















Saturday, 20 October 2012

A shapely poem

                     She
              bows
her head.
Like golden gossamer
         wings of angels, her hair cascades down
                                           Like a thousand pristine waterfalls in the heart
                              of creation, doves take flight, strong men softly sigh, and
                                             God smiles. She is his precious child. Just like
                                                           when He spoke to create light, He says,
                                                                    "She is good." Behold
                                                                             and I say
                                                                                      she is
                                                                                             good           
                                                                         

A poem in motion.

Sometimes you have to 'seize the day',
Get up, take your shot, and walk away.
I was in high school at the time.
My moment came and it was prime.
Rick Hansen's world tour was in his home town,
And a letter came around.
"Would you choose one student
To represent and to present?"
Our little Christian school had a chance
Our reputation to enhance.
I stood in line and watched the crowd.
Our group was small but proud.
I watched the students waiting on the grass
Happy to be in the sun and out of class.
This is a once in a lifetime chance to be heard.
The Father had called me to spread the word.
Each student would simply proclaim,
"On my school's behalf, thank you for your campaign."
Terry, our other envoy wanted to be present but silent.
His eyes grew wide when I told him my intent.
As I thought about what I would say,
My friend desperately began to pray.
"Now the representative from Full Gospel Christian School."
I swallowed hard and tried to keep my cool.
As Terry gave Rick the card and shook his hand.
I nervously approached the microphone stand.
"Thank you sir for your sacrifice and faith
You've given us a hero to embrace.
You make me think of another great man.
Jesus, who came to fulfil God's perfect plan.
As you have taken time, given sweat, and faced strife,
Our Lord was also willing to give up his life.
He paid our debt, no longer due.
That is why in His name, we honour you."
That is the gist without the rhyme or eloquence.
My little speech was met with thunderous silence.
I honestly don't remember if there was even polite applause.
I just ran off the stage without a pause.
The acclaim, that's not what I need.
I only hope that in the dark, I planted a seed.


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Tender talking rhyme

Hickory dickory dock,
 I wish I could stop the clock.
The clock struck one
When I was young
Hickory dickory dock

The clock struck two
The world was new

The clock struck three
I felt so free

The clock struck four
I wanted more

the clock struck five
I was alive

The clock struck six
I chased some chicks

The clock struck seven
I thought working was heaven

The clock stuck eight
I found a mate

The clock struck nine
I made her mine

The clock struck ten
We said I do and amen

The clock struck eleven
I felt as light as leaven

The clock struck noon
I'm over the moon
I feel like June
I'm whistling a tune
She makes me swoon
Our love is as deep as a bassoon
She makes me act like a buffoon
We want children, a whole platoon
This poem will be done soon
Very little rhymes with twelve
And military time is confusing
Hickory dickory dock.






Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Queen City Exposition

 Regina is a grand old dame.

She has a slightly frayed elegance but well preserved.

She enjoys her theater, sophisticated art, and fine music.

While senior, she is healthy; not a pile of bones yet.

Her husband, the Regent of Regina is an earthy fellow,

not quite politically correct, but hard working.

A man of land, and sky, and wind, and dark clouds.

He may thunder, but he always feeds his children.

It must be his green thumb, which he wears to cheer the team.

Their children, Prince Albert and Princess Victoria,

Are perpendicular to one another, polar opposites.

The Prince runs from northern chill to southern heat.

He works like a buffalo to keep the economy going,

And to attract visitors to the kingdom of Saskatchewan.

There are broad entertainments at the royal gaming house.

Fine minstrels and even jesters can be found.

From the time the sun rises in the east,

Victoria provides a home for her many children.

Also being as shrewd in business as her brother,

She looks to the west for expansion out of bald prairie. 

They must have rubbed the fabled Elphinstone for luck.

Even for those poor folk down on their luck,

there is a soul's harbour for the weary gypsy spirit.

Thus a mosaic of people gather in the cathedral area,

and celebrate new friends from afar and old ones come back home.

 **FYI: This is about the city of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. There is also a street called Saskatchewan, as well as streets named: Regent, Albert(Prince Albert is also a Sask. city), Victoria, Broad, Queen, Princess, and Elphinstone. Mosaic is the multicultural festival. The arts fest is held in the shadow of two cathedrals. The local soup kitchen is called 'Soul's Harbour Rescue Mission'.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Fence defense.

I am not pro-choice. I am pro balance.

I look at pictures of dirty workmen's hands.

They do not remind me of my father.

Not that he did not work hard or was unwilling to get dirty.

He is a pastor.

When I think of his hands, I see him preaching.

He would say, "On one hand...but on the other hand".

The most important thing I learned was the concept of balance and reason.

God is quoted saying, "Come let us reason together."

It is often demanded that I 'take a side, make a stand!'

Why do I have to choose now? 

If I don't give in and agree with your brilliant opinion I must be as ignorant as them evil fools.

Does that makes me weak, wishy-washy, and lack courage?

Until I am emotionally invested and must take action, I want to weigh both sides, all sides.

If there are two sides, I want to be the third side or the arch that touches both.

Like the dusty old theological argument, "Are you Calvinist or Armenian?"

Stick a tulip in your gospel gun and call me a Calmenian!

In politics, I look at the ballot. I would choose none of them.

If I choose not to choose I choose anarchy and  that's not my choice.

Yes, I am a fence sitter, but not the tightrope kind.

Nor is it an narrow splintery American white picket fence.

My fence is more like the great wall of China.

I could go for miles either way and comfortably live for years on my fence.


Monday, 15 October 2012

Hallmark Shakespeare

(I once tried to read a page of Othello to a friend with bad vocabulary, and my two young nieces. "I will never get it" ,one said. I began translating/paraphrasing it in words they understood. Today I am trying probably his most famous speech from Hamlet--to be or not to be)


To live or die, mmmmm?

Is it braver to take the bad stuff life throws at you, to choose life,

or fight the bad stuff by choosing to end it all?

 To die and look like you're peacefully sleeping.

To stop the pain and problems of living sounds like a good idea for a moment.

Is death like being asleep? Do you dream?

Yep, these two opposing ideas will chafe your mind raw.

If death is like sleep and you dream, you don't know what kind of dreams you have.

Really makes you stop and think.

It's not being sure that makes a long life kind of sad.

If you knew all the bad stuff in your life, like:

The scars time leaves on your body and soul,

Or how mean bosses and bullies can be,

Or how many arrogant jerks you'll meet,

Or how painful rejection and lost love is,

Or how little justice is in a legal system that doesn't help in time if at all,

Or how corrupt, lazy, or unfeeling those in authority can become, 

Or what a kick in the behind it is when you work hard and do good,

Yet some undeserving snake insults you and takes the credit or profit themselves.

Maybe if you tore open your shirt and plunged an actual knife in your heart,

They would all shut up and leave you alone--make your own peace.

Why do we choose to sweat and grunt under the heavy burden of this weary life?

It is the dreadful fear of something after death.

Death is a foreign place we have never personally experienced.

It is a one-punch permanent ticket with a no return policy.

That is what confuses the mind and makes the will run around in circles.

We end up putting up with the bad stuff in life,

rather than blindly jumping into an open grave with no safety net.

Our conscience makes cowards of us all.

The original bold plan to end it all is watered down by fearful thoughts.

So to keep from following through with it or even thinking about it,

We find a hobby or project that seems important and takes a lot of energy.

I better quit talking to myself, I hear my girl coming. She's so pretty.

When she prays, it's probably all about things I've done wrong. 



                                                              






Sunday, 14 October 2012

My favorite dessert.

Warm

Soft

Sweet

Spicy

Gooey

Rich

Tangy

Succulent

Not too syrupy

Not too flaky

She is my apple pie

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Cultured humour.

Ah guffaw. 

Laughter.

This is what one of the human connections.

One connection spanned across the world and culture.

His name was Ole. He laughed when I pronounced it wrong.

"Not like oil of Olay, It is like '<oolah>"

He had come to Bible school from Norway. I am 1/4 Norwegian, so we talked.

I wanted to learn some ancestral language so I bugged him to teach me. 

He shrugged his shoulders and handed me a English/Norwegian dictionary.

As I hung out he showed me a magazine from home--with a topless girl!

"Your mom sent you a dirty magazine?!?" 

He chuckled, "Vat? No, is like'People' magazine. She's not doing anything. Uffda, Canadians."

We started a cultural exchange of jokes. Some didn't translate. Some were off color. All were funny.

Some girls would ask, "How are you friends? He's so tall, and handsome...I mean serious and mysterious."

I tried to help him. "But Mark, why would I smile, unless something is humorous?" he asked.

"To smile when you meet is a social convention. To laugh when it's not funny is polite."

I watched his somber point-A-to-point-B stride halt suddenly.

He spun and held a poor girl's gaze. Frozen with attention, he grinned at her with all his teeth.

"Ja, is good to see you." he said and marched off. Leaving her bewildered and me howling.

On a weekend conference with this Norwegian, a Japanese girl, and me, (sounds like a joke),

They asked 'Brother Jones' to pray, I stood and orated a wonderful prayer. They meant someone else.

He teased me often, especially in the cafeteria, "Brudder Yones, I'll bet you vant to pray."

One day as a rambunctious fellow with an explosive braying chortle stood out in the dorm hall,

I found the word 'latter'(laughter) in the lexicon and giggled at the archaic definition: guffaw.

Ole looked quizzically. As I tried to explain, a deafening example boomed from the doorway.

Instead of explaining further, I simply pointed and stated the fellow's name.

Ole raised his eyebrow, and said two words that set me off, I still hear in my head,

"Ahhhhhh, guffaw"    


Friday, 12 October 2012

Singing in the sun

One of my passions is music.

I like to listen. I like to sing. I love to play.

I lack great skill or training, but I have worked hard to learn.

I have played on church worship teams. I have jammed at coffee houses.

Where I found the greatest pleasure is in playing for change at farmer's markets.

There is little I enjoy more than to sing in the sun and get rewarded for it.

To see a variety of people and sometimes make a connection.

It is a rich artistic outlet. It makes me happy.

One of my passions is music.


Now I am sad.

I am also quite mad.

Why rain on my parade?

The season is over now till spring.

That happens every year with out fail.

What really bugs me is the copyright Gestapo.

Socan protects all musicians so they say.

But they're going make the market pay.

If one song is not public domain.

Or one of my own.

That is so sad.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

All men ARE pigs.

(The daily challenge? Write something unsaid, taboo, or controversial. I wasn't brave enough to be brutally raw. I had to hide behind light hearted sarcasm. There is still truth here, but sometimes humour is the sugar that helps the medicine go down)

"All men are pigs!" she spit out stomping her jewel encrusted stilettos on the cafĂ©'s patio tile. 
Her hairy chested man guiltily swung his gaze from the nymph that was flouncing down the street.

I had been studying the shape of his wife's shapely calf wondering to myself
If the line in the fishnet went all the way up, and then if she really was a blond.

"How could you look at her if you're with me? You must not really love me, you swine!",
Said my wife as she dumped ice water into my lap. She had seen where I had been looking.

"All men are pigs!" our goddesses thundered in unison as other daggered glares cut off our manhood.
They marched out together to powder something and engage in an Olympic bout of man bashing.

The other Neanderthal and I looked at each other, grinned,  and shrugged.
We grunted a couple of times, put our heads down, and continued to eat our rare steak.

That night as I lay against a cold shoulder and even colder feet, I began to think:

Why are we such pigs, and what did pigs do to deserve the insulting comparison?
I suppose it is their speciesist stereotype as mindless insatiable gluttons.
They are never satisfied with just one bite from their own dish.
The slop is always sweeter from another pig's trough.

In all my sister's stolen Harlequi...I mean text books about sex, I thought 'insatiable' was a good thing.
As insatiable as the constant, need for one more pair of shoes, because what if I see a better pair?
Or drooling over the glossy airbrushed centerfold in 'Better Homes and Gardens: Celebrity Edition'
Thinking 'I wish I could find someone with the tools to trim my hedges with such flair and prowess.'

Alright, here it is, the secret that will probably get me drummed out of the loyal order of brotherhood.
Yes! All men are pigs.

If you are 9 or 99 years male you cannot not look when, for example, the wind blows up 
The skirt of some pretty young lady, even if it's only on Youboobtube on that intraweb thingy. 

Some will say it's simply evolutionary, dear Watson, a biological imperative for the survival of the species.
Some will say it's an act of intelligent creation our mind hardwired for the act of procreation.
The question is not, "how could he?", but, "How could he not?"

The dilemma is in the flawed presumption, 'If he ever looks, it means he must not love me, or ever did.'

Sighing as a Lamborghini races by on the highway, does not mean we are looking for our pink slip.
We're not looking for a junkyard to dump what we drive while planing a high maintenance  trade up.

So when (not if) he 'checks out the traffic', the real question you should be asking yourself is two fold.

First, how long does she hold his attention?
Is it often, and for more than a minute or two each glance and he's licking his chops and miming sex?
You need to grab him by the short and curly...tail that is--he's a pig!
It's high time to grease that sucker and let him go or have a Luau or make some bacon jam.

Next, ask yourself, does he quickly catch himself, look guilty and acknowledge me somehow?
If the answer is 'yes' then, sister, he's yours, he cares, and he loves you.
The guilt is a good thing. It means he's thinking with his heart and not that other part.
The glance back, the smile, the chuckle, the arm stroke, the gentle hip bump.
This is just our Kindergarten school boy awkward way of saying,
"I just see her body, but I see your heart. If I even had a chance and it was offered, 
I would still choose you. Everytime. Forever."

Is he still a pig? Of course he is. We all are. 
Except that he is a cute, cuddly pig capable of understanding love, like Babe or Wilbur.
       



  

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

An old poem.

Just a note: I am cheating a little today. Not only am I not following the prompt, I am not writing a new one. While this is an old poem, I referenced it in The Light Side of the Moon which is a new poem. It was the first poem that was not romantic or spiritual. I tried to be a 'real' poet, whatever that is. Some one said it was too depressing, so I tacked on that last line. So you choose the ending you like.

The Man in the Moon Turns Thirty

I too, feel old for the first time today,
Like the silver-orbed moon last night
With it's weak effort to reflect the blazing sun's glory.

I too, am plump and swollen,
Like the poster child for emotional malnutrition,
With my big sad eyes and soulful sighs.

I too, sense that I am diminishing,
Like the slivers of my life are disappearing
With each day I slowly move around the earth.

I too, will soon be thin and slightly curved,
Like a boomerang that has lost it's will to come back,
With the barest wisp of cloud obliterating me.

I too, sense myself ceasing to be seen on the earth,
Like one match of a pack, flared and discarded,
With none but wolves and stars to remember me.

I too, hear the thin laughter of the lean new moon,
Like a green recruit replacing a scarred sergeant.
With the wise hindsight of a thousand other moons, I'll fade away.

To be with God. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Kablooie!

On-----o-----mat-----o-----p(o)e-----(i)a

On----o----mat----o----p(o)e----(i)a

On---o---mat---o---p(o)e---(i)a

On--o--mat--o--p(o)e--(i)a

On-o-mat-o-p(o)e-(i)a

Onomatop(o)e(i)a.Onomatop(o)e(i)a!

What a long mantra making word.

It means sharp and punchy words, but is neither.

It means words that sound like sounds.

It sounds like nothing I've heard.

If I heard a thing rasping like that in the dark,

You would hear the slap of my feet on the floor as I fly.

There is a repeating rhythm to it's staccato syllables

Like a conga line melody.

OnomatopoeiA!(shake your hip to the right)

OnomatopoeiA!(shake your hip to the left) 

There is a cruel irony to it for those who can't say words.

Almost as cruel as using the word dyslexia for those

who find reading and speaking complex words complicated.

For a word about the full richness of sound written down,

Why are silent letters softly squished between the others?

Oh, but this is all tongue in cheek, whatever sound that makes.

As a child of the era of comics and the funny pages,

I have been spoon fed and loved these chaotic, crazy words.

BAM! POW! ZIP! ZAP! KABLOOIE!

BIFF! BLAM! KLANG! KA-KA-KABOOM!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Last minute poem.

A week or so ago I was going to write a beautiful poem about Autumn sights.

 About warm rum butter afternoons and chilled apple cider nights.

I was going to write a cheeky poem about the season of Fall.

Garish lifesaver colors of red, yellow, and orange but deeply rich like the belle of the ball 

I was going to write a hearty poem about the harvest time.

The cornucopia of a farmer's market square with a busker singing folk songs for a dime.

I was going to write about the end of summer and the start of school.

Reluctant adventurers are wrangled indoors and hope they remember how to be cool.

I was going to write a heart-warming poem about Thanksgiving.

We are grateful for the warmth and plenty of the table, and amazed we're all still living.

I was going to write this poem but my inspiration cooled.

Like dry crusty leaves snowing down from the trees my ideas in the gutter have pooled.

My notebook is as bare as the skeleton trees.

Like a chorus of bamboo wind chimes my thoughts also rattle their knees.

The words were as elusive as the last turkey at 4:30 pm Thanksgiving day.

This meal for the mind is all I could scrounge up. It's all I've got to say. 




   

  

  

Sunday, 7 October 2012

My best friend.

I have friend that is more like a brother.

I don't talk to him as often as I should.

My wife is also good friends with him.

We met because of him.

It was at a poetry circle.

The three of us have recently set up a regular breakfast date.

He helped me from going down a dark path.

He forgives each time I fail.

When everyone else rejects me, he is there.

I used to just work for him but now he calls me 'friend'.

He helps me through the hard times like he was born for it.

Together it's us against the world and we are greater.

My belief in him is what drew us close.

His great sacrifice will keep us together.

He gave up his life.

His name is Jesus

He's my best friend, my teacher, my Lord

Saturday, 6 October 2012

I want to be a stuntman.

When I was born, man walked on the moon,

It was the 'Summer of Love', the age of Aquarius, and Woodstock,

Easy Rider, Monty Python, and Sesame Street began.

Eight years later things had changed.

Hippies are dancing to disco.

That's when punk was born.

Vietnam is over, Nixon is done and the peanut gallery takes over.

I didn't know, I was watching Scooby Doo, and the Muppet show.

There were Happy days, Waltons, and Little House on the Prairie.

I guess what I liked best was action.

Charlie's Angels, Chips, and Starsky and Hutch were my favorites.

There's one dream I remember from that time.

I wanted to be a stuntman.

At least that's what I told Grandma on an old 'cassette letter' we unearthed.

I would run, jump, roll around, fake fight, and pretend I was wounded.

I would purposely fall down carpeted stairs, climb trees, take dares, and jump off stuff.

Now I'm not young or small or active.

Except in my mind.

I run my mouth off. I jump to conclusions. I roll out of bed. I fight my demons. 

I act wounded. I slide down slippery slopes. I climb into bed.

I dare to be different. I jump into new things with abandon.

Maybe the stuntman is still around in there somewhere.





Friday, 5 October 2012

An eccentric haiku and a rant.

*Everyone you know,
deep down, is an eccentric.
So what does it mean?*  
What does it mean to be eccentric? Or even just eclectic? Does it feel electric?
No person, not even  a twin, is exactly the same as any other person.
Why do most people nervously smother those tendencies and act like sheep?
I do understand that there is a wool-over-the-eyes warmth in the anonymity of the herd mentality.
Do they bleat out nicely that you're quirky, or better yet kooky? or not so nicely a crank or a quack?
**
     The truly bizarre thing is that few have the desire, the courage, the confidence to express eccentricity.
All your life you are told: "Be normal, the same, uniform, one of the team, fit in, be well adjusted, ordinary, common, true to your school, one of the gang, a team player, another brick in the wall."
This makes everyone afraid of everyone else.
**
     Throughout history, it was the privilege of the rich to be eccentric. The poor were not allowed.
They could ill afford to be extravagant in mind, or dress, or conduct, or speech. 
Consider, however, the greatest achievers of humanity in the arts, science, medicine, or statesmanship:
Almost all could have been described as: eccentric, erratic, unpredictable, unconventional, unusual, strange, unique, sensational, whimsical, unafraid, non-conformist, idealistic, curious, stubborn, outspoken, and not influenced by the opinions of others.
These are the hallmark of genius, a sign of intelligence, the impulse of creativity--a mind so original that it can not fit into societies norms.
**
     The problem comes in form of the degree of balance. Life is a juggling act on a unicycle on a high wire.
You are crazy to be up there. You are crazy to stay, but it is dizzyingly invigorating.
Lean too far one way or the other and it may all come crashing down. 
While I support the effort to throw off the shackles of the tyranny of the majority, beware!
Curious focus becomes obsession. Odd habits become compulsion. Deviate to far from the center you become a deviant. Push people away too harshly, they may stay away or put you away. Living on the edge may unbalance you. Following the vagaries of genius may turn you into a vagrant wandered to the point of no return, and here be dragons.
**
     So let the people you love but may not understand you be the safety line that tethers your balloon to the ground. Don't worry about being lost in the haystack as the old proverb assumes. When the harsh light of need, necessity, or invention sweeps into the dim barn, it is the needle that gleams and shines. The straw people will continue to sit in the manure of mediocrity. When a like soul casts the magnet of ideas, vision, and dreams, the needle will come forth. Those around will not understand the pull, the attraction. It is those needles we need on the fringes to keep the common fabric of society from coming apart at the seams.
*Everyone you know,
deep down, is an eccentric.
Is that what it means?*          

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A modern old tale.

There is a grim feeling to be all alone and looking deranged, 
Especially when things around  you get really strange.
When people get hurt or angry they seem to change before your eyes.
You seem to be the only one who is able to see through the disguise.
The only one who believes is your crazy aunt but no one cares.
You  battle the tribes against you and go where no one dares.
Even those in authority might be in on the plot.
Some of those you love forget you and that hurts a lot.
You've grabbed a hank of trouble and know how this must look.
At night you try to find an answer in some dusty old book.
Then a ray of light shines in this gothic darkness
A comrade starts to notice that you may mostly faultless.
In the nick of time he stands up by your side,
giving the devious ones one less place to hide.
It's a real relief to know that while you may be in a crazy zone
at least now you know that you are not alone.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Driving the vultures away.

My wife and I were doing devotions out of Genesis 14-15. As I read Gen. 15:11 "When the vultures came down...Abram drove them away." For some reason, it reminded me of old folk spirituals. I could almost hear the choir humming sweet and low. I sang in my head, "Abram drove them vultures away..." The verses became a little more poetic, but here it is:

Chorus
When old Abraham was young Abram
He got up and he went out,
and he drove them vultures away.
He had to fight all day,
and he fought all night,
and he drove them vultures away.
Abram drove them vultures away.

In the book of Genesis so, the story goes,
Abram was told to sacrifice some birds, a cow, a goat.
The vultures came swooping down to try to take them away
To disturb his worship and stop his prayer that day.
He rose up from from his knees and gave a mighty shout.
He pleased the Lord who lit his altar with a fire that would not go out.

chorus

The greedy king of Elam sent his army to the land.
He said, "Take everything you see load horses and wagons with what comes to hand."
They came swooping down laughing, yelling, and taking what they found.
Any man that stood up to them, they ganged up and beat him to the ground.
They took the goods and captured women and men like nephew Lot.
Uncle Abram and his fighting men to back what the scavengers had got.

chorus

Like Abram, I left the old land to try to find a better way.
I try to sacrifice my will and worship the Creator every day:
But, the Devil, that old vulture king wants to kill, steal and destroy.
He's got a sneaky bag of tricks to bring me shame and take my joy.
He swoops in with thoughts of doubt and fear to keep me in sin's quicksand.
I'll put on my armour, take up my shield, pull out the sword, and make my stand.

If I have to fight all day,
If I have to fight all night,
I'll drive those vultures away! 


Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The reluctant haiku

 Today is lazy.
I won't write some poetry.
Oh wait, I just did.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Light Side of the Moon.


I saw my old friend, the moon, today hanging out in the bright Autumn sky.
I said, "Hey man, whatcha doing? Haven't seen ya for a while."

He was supposed to be full, but was a see-through disc, thin and watery.
He said, "Not sure. I'm not usually up this early. Ya know, graveyard shift."

My knotted back, aching feet, and chafed hands throbbed in a sympathetic symphony.
I said, "I hear ya, I'm not where I should be either. I'm a dishwasher again."

His sigh echoed through the empty space and then he chuckled with a cheesy grin.
He said, "Remember when we thought we'd blaze a trail around the world like the sun?"

Like me he is a glimmering reflection of former glory's falling star.
I said, "I guess we both know how cycles grind us in the gears of time."

Yes, full seasons and fading ones; hanging by a fingernail, disappearing, then finding a crescent of hope.
He said, "Besides work, what's your new moon, and I ain't talking vapid vampires here."

I wasn't sure and then it hit me; he'd enjoy this as the subject of many well meaning poets.
I said, "Like an old vet in a threadbare uniform, I'm dusting off my poetry notebook for a contest."

Quizzically, his head tilted on its axis, then he startled the stars with his booming laugh.
He said, "Remember that poem you wrote about me that was really about you?"

Oh yeah, the last time I tried to be a serious wordsmith with a somber theme.
I said, "You mean that birthday poem, 'The man in the moon turns 30'? That one was good."

With a twinkle in his eye, he solemnly shook his head, put on his empathy face, and patted my arm.
He said, "I'm sorry to be the one to remind you, but that was more than 13 years ago."