Saturday, July 26, 2014



AFTERWORD


Gentle Reader,

What you’ll find below is an upside-down anthology of sorts: a journal of my frequent morning musings from January 2008 till now, in reverse order.


Much of what I write here is verse in traditional rhymed iambic pentameters, old fashioned in form but contemporary in topics and idiom. It asks to be read aloud so that the effects of rhyme and meter may be felt.


Sometimes I write brief prose essays, but even my verses are essays, or attempts, pursuing a line of thought to some conclusion, though more sonorously than those in prose: discursive verses, I call them.


In either case, you’re the reader over my shoulder as I write, which makes my writing different than when I have no audience in mind but only a vague urge to express. So I thank you for whatever attention you give my words and thoughts and feelings because you might so easily attend to something else, and you soon will.


To beguile you to linger longer, though, I’ve coupled most of my compositions with a photo or image I’ve taken or borrowed, which often corresponds with my words of that day.

Thank you for visiting here.  I hope you enjoy your stay and are moved to come back soon.



—Alan Nordstrom



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TOWARD WISDOM II

   How will we know that humans have grown wise?
   When Homo sapiens sapiens realize
   What is implicit in our hopeful name
   And can our clear benevolence proclaim.

   When humankind at last grows truly kind,
   The happy end for which we seem designed,
   And all our wicked waywardness is mended,
   We’ll reach that state for which we are intended.

   For what is wisdom but to realize
   The double prudence that our name implies?









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Monday, July 7, 2014


TOWARD A GWC

        A Global Wisdom Culture will entail
        a full critique of all the ways we fail
        by principles and practices both sane
        and prudent, calculated to sustain
        a thriving biosphere and elevate
        the consciousness of all, setting us straight
        about the wisest ways we should behave,
        devised to liberate and not enslave.

        But as things are, our race remains enthralled
        to values that must now be overhauled,
        foremost of which in our new consciousness
        is our determination to own less
        and simplify our lives so all may share
        sufficiently, for nothing else is fair.







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Sunday, July 6, 2014


THE HIGHEST AIM
OF HIGHER EDUCATION


for Copthorne Macdonald


    The quest for knowledge, one might well surmise,
    Is highest education’s highest aim,
    And yet one higher—that of growing wise—
    Makes an imperative and vital claim.

    Though learning all the truth of what may be—
    The what, the where, the when, the how, the why—
    Is a foundational necessity,
    It’s value that must finally apply,

    Which is the realm that wisdom comprehends:
    The judgment of what’s laudable and apt,
    Discerning what serves best the highest ends
    By which our errant species may adapt.

         Acquire first the knowledges we need,
         Yet realize: it’s wisdom will succeed.









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SACRIFICE

   I think my sometimes muddled memory
   Is the price I have to pay for poetry
   I write by rummaging in my mind’s hoard,
   Deranging all to find the aptest word.
   Each rhyming sound my memory supplies
   Should seem inevitable yet still surprise.
   Such seeming ease means I must wrack my brain,
   Which suffers afterwards from undue strain,
   Refusing to serve up some needed fact
   No matter how importunately wracked.
   The only help is to relax and wait
   Until the strain and agony abate.
        Though writing poems may my brain abuse,
        That is a sacrifice I’ll yield my Muse.








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Saturday, July 5, 2014


SIMPLIFY

     We’re brainwashed and addicted to our stuff,
     Induced to feel we never have enough,
     When what we need to do is simplify
     Our lives, reduce our needs and only buy
     The true necessities: good goods that last,
     Not bought in emulous fear of being out-classed
     Or motivated by unseemly greed:
     Goods only meant to serve a vital need.

     Why not indulge?  Why not acquire and splurge
     If you’ve the means to gratify each urge?
     Because the Earth cannot supply demands
     Of bursting populations in all lands
     With unchecked motivation to consume:
     For that way lies this glorious planet’s doom.








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Friday, July 4, 2014


A REPLY TO POPE’S “ESSAY ON MAN”

     All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; 

     All Chance, Direction, which thou canst not see; 
     All Discord, Harmony, not understood; 

     All partial Evil, universal Good: 

     And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, 
     One truth is clear, "Whatever IS, is RIGHT."

                        —Alexander Pope, “Essay on Man”



     “Whatever IS is RIGHT,” we might believe
     If such belief could cause us less to grieve,
     If pain and loss were part of God’s kind plan
     To demonstrate His love and care for man;
     Yet for such anguish there is no recompense,
     And human suffering has been immense
     Throughout all history: it is the norm
     To which all mortal creatures must conform,
     But most especially men, with memories
     Of personal and general agonies.
     The more we learn, the more we see our plight:
     Whatever is that’s evil is not right
     Nor rationalizable as God’s great plan:
     One cannot justify such ways to man.






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