Sunday, March 31, 2013


   The course of human history moves toward
   A time of global wisdom and accord
   Among once warring factions, thus matured
   In humane sanity and hence secured
   From ancient outrage and the tragedy
   That long has passed for human history.

   Or so we now may hope and must believe
   Is something we can consciously achieve
   Through more than merely faith and urgent prayer,
   But by a recognition of what’s fair
   And equable, compassionate and just:
   The Golden Rule declares how people must
   Behave if they would live in loving peace
   So anguish and injustices shall cease.


Saturday, March 30, 2013


        The morning songscape of our neighbor birds
        Expresses vernal joy in all but words
        Or, if you will, it’s territorial
        Assertion, or trying to cast a mating spell—
        Whichever way you hear it, it’s still song
        That lifts our hearts and carries us along.


Thursday, March 28, 2013


     I find myself reborn and called to write
     New dramas for this so-much altered age
     In language cultivated to delight
     The modern auditors who view my stage.
     And yet for all I’ve heard of what now passes
     For dramatic dialogue, they have lost the art
     Of eloquence, and poetry alas is
     Banished from the boards, its very heart.
     No, I’ll content myself with forgery
     And make my living as a scholar who
     Will unearth long-lost manuscripts and be
     The publisher of Shakespeare’s residue
         (Along with evidence of who I was,
         So much maligned by current scholars’ buzz).


Wednesday, March 27, 2013


    For more than forty years I’ve written verse,
    Some gathered up in photocopied sheaves
    That I’d among some willing friends disburse;
    The rest a row of three-ringed books receives.

    Decades ago, I printed one small book
    Of light verse, called Ped-antics, to amuse
    My friends and colleagues, but never undertook
    What every dedicated poet pursues:

    A volume that a noted publisher
    Agrees to pay for and promote among
    That niche of readers who sometimes prefer
    To read aloud what’s best when said or sung.

         That’s now my goal, to harvest and to sell
         My winnowed store at last—so wish me well.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013


     That Romeo and Juliet are doomed
     We know before the play even begins:
     In tragedy their deaths must be assumed,
     A consequence of their or others’ sins.

     And though we wish and pray for otherwise
     Each time we see the play, that by some grace
    The plot will deviate to our surprise
     And take us to a tragicomic place,

     It still persists along its fatal course
     Proceeding without remedy toward doom,
     For destiny will carve its way perforce
     And find what is inevitable—the tomb.

         Our lamentations, though, may help avoid
         Some future grief, our rashness being alloyed.


Sunday, March 24, 2013


for Copthorne Macdonald

     If being wise is knowing what is good
    And acting in accord with how we should
    To bring about what is most valuable,
    Then truly such a life were beautiful—

    For Goodness, Truth and Beauty reign supreme
    In constituting our kind’s grandest dream
    Of living in accord with what is wise:
    That motive we need most to realize.


Saturday, March 23, 2013


    Who else but we can wonder at it all,
    Possessed of an intelligence that quests
    Beyond necessities that must befall
    All creatures: safety, food and mating nests?
    We, all alone on Earth, can speculate
    And ruminate on more than what we chew
    And would digest the world and then create,
    Beyond the scope of nature, something new.
    Ambitious, reckless questers, still too young
    To comprehend what’s best and realize
    On evolution’s ladder our next rung
    As Homo sapiens is growing wise,
         We now stand on the brink of that event,
         Which all along, we may surmise, was meant.



The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves.  Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain.  To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity.  We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women

~to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion
~to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate
~to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures
~to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity
~to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.  Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries.  Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity.  It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.



for Karen Armstrong

     Compassion does not ask you to believe,
     But feel another’s pain with empathy
     Then act in such a way as to relieve
     That anguish, just as you would wish to be.
     No faith, no doctrine, no restrictive creed,
     Just common personal experience
     That lets you recognize another’s need
     Will prompt the charity you should dispense.
     And yet belief, when rightly understood,
     At root means loving, prizing, holding dear;
     A creed is a commitment to do good
     And knowing this, what’s right to do comes clear:
         Do unto others as you’d have them do,
         If you were in their circumstance, to you.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013


    We have the wit and savvy to perceive
    That consciousness like ours is marvelous,
    And for the universe thus to achieve
    Such self-awareness now obliges us
    To honor and preserve what seems so rare,
    Perhaps unique, then evermore explore
    How we may grow more canny and aware,
    Arriving, fully formed, at Wisdom’s door.
    That Wisdom is our fate we have foreseen
    In naming our kind Homo sapiens,
    Yet while our species’ intellect grows keen,
    We still lack aperture in Wisdom’s lens.
         We’ll know we’re wise when we are all inclined
         To love each other well because we’re kind.