Tuesday, April 30, 2013


       Humanity stands at its last frontier:
       Consider it a gateway, not a wall—
       A passage to a place where minds grow clear
       And ears can hear our lofty, destined call.

       That long-denied vocation of our race
       At last attended to, will set us free
       And clear from our perennial disgrace,
       Letting us be what we are born to be:

       We are custodians of all the Earth,
       Caretakers, not exploiters, of its wealth
       Who finally realize its precious worth
       And take all proper measures for its health.

            We now see Earth as one community
            We must sustain with love and harmony.


Monday, April 29, 2013


    Should we not rightly ask what may be wrong
    With our society and then address
    Not simply what may make our system strong
    But how we may correct our waywardness?

    For how we reckon our prosperity
    And claim our greatness as a civil state
    Must be in terms of more than GDP,
    Since only equity can make us great.

    To be impartial, just and fair respecting
    All of our fellow humans’ basic needs
    But also reckoning and then correcting
    The harmful fallacies of outworn creeds.

         Above all else, we need to realize
         Those values that will prove at last we’re wise.


Sunday, April 28, 2013



    Paragonia is a vision of what might,
    With effort and imagination, come
    To be on Earth when once we learn to right
    Ourselves and our far-wiser nature plumb.

    It’s clear we’ve the potentiality
    For rising to new heights of consciousness,
    Transcending eons of rank idiocy,
    Replete with warfare no true sage would bless.

    The Paragonian way is that of peace,
    Co-operation and profound respect
    For others’ rights and needs, and the increase
    Of harmony, as souls with souls connect.

         The antagonism that so long has ruled,
         In Paragonia will by love be schooled.


    In Paragonia our benighted race
    Will have matured and grown wholly wise,
    Having explored and mapped all Inner Space
    And ultimately come to realize

    That in cooperative community
    With all of Gaia’s creatures, great and small,
    Transcending centuries of enmity,
    We’ll have at last reversed our fabled Fall.

    On Paragonia’s whetstone we’ll have honed
    The blade that cuts our egos down to size
    And severs us from sins for which we’ve groaned
    In ages past, but finally realize
        That concord and collaboration can
        Now resurrect the state of fallen Man.


    The folks in Paragonia don’t compete,
    Since competition is a kind of war
    In which opponents struggle to defeat
    Contenders in the hopes of winning more;

    Which means they have transformed what they call
    A rigorous pastime for the brave at heart,
    That used to be a battlefield of sorts,
    Into a win-win exercise of art,

    And thus a model of a better mode
    For all relationships, grounded in care,
    Adhering to an ancient holy code
    That virtue is supreme, however rare.

        In Paragonia, though, it’s commonplace
        To treat all folks with charity and grace.



      About this “Paragonia” crap I’ll say,
      Your expectations of humanity
      Are overblown if you think there’s a way
      They’ll wise up anytime this century—

      Or any other, as far as I can tell,
      For greed and selfishness and violence
      Have been their basic nature since they fell
      From fabled Paradise and lost their sense

      Of right and wrong, then jettisoned the will
      To sacrifice self-interest for the good
      Of others when the prospect of some thrill
      Derails them all from going where they should.

          Their rule is “Looking out for Number One,”
          By which your Paragonia is undone.


Friday, April 26, 2013


For all the blessings that have come to you
Whether by fortune or your industry,
There is a rightful obligation due
By fit and natural reciprocity.

For you can never claim that all alone
You’ve earned or won such gratifying wealth,
Since all your life you’ve been sustained and grown
By those who tend your nurture and your health.

Who grows your food?  Who keeps your water clean?
Who regulates the quality of air?
So many public servants go unseen
On whom you lean for sustenance and care.

     No matter how you glory in your pelf,
     You’re not an island fortress in yourself.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


     Any “religion” that would seek to sanctify
     The random slaughter of hapless innocents
     In the name of Someone Holy in the sky
     Commits a horrid, blasphemous offense.

     What could be holier than to love and care
     For the well-being of all human souls,
     And yet such holy ones are all too rare:
     In most of us it’s fear, not love, controls.

     What is the likelihood that we’ll grow wise,
     Our species in due time matured in love
     As all the sage and saintly ones advise,
     Admiring not the vulture but the dove?

          The time is now, and this is our best chance
          To live in love and let our race advance.



    The songscape of the birds this early morn
    Should elevate the weary and forlorn,
    Rousing them from their nightmares and despair
    By wafting melodies throughout the air.

    “It’s merely territorial,” some say,
    “Intended to keep rival birds away,
    Or maybe amorous, to draw a mate,
    Or oratorical—a birds’ debate.”

    Well, theorize however you’re inclined,
    I’ll still maintain such birdsong is designed
    To cheer those ears still capable of joy,
    Though in a sour malcontent’s they cloy.

      Just close your eyes, attend the various trills,
      And feel the emptiness that birdsong fills.


Sunday, April 21, 2013


   Two old men I’ve long known have lately died,
   Both naval veterans from World War Two,
   Who had found their souls and bodies sorely tried
   Then lived with fears the years could not undo.

   Though they went on to lead successful lives
   Adjusting to polite civilian ways,
   On many nights the ancient fear revives
   They said, the same horrific scene replays:

   Their little ships are strafed, torpedoed, bombed;
   The decks made slick with engine oil and blood
   And fears aroused that never could be calmed
   And decades later would in nightmares flood.

        But those horrendous memories now can cease
        As two long-suffering sailors rest in peace.



      Though you might think it works the other way,
      I write to find out what I have to say.
      How do I know until at last I see
      What in the process has occurred to me?

      Some hint or notion may have nudged my pen,
      But something unexpected happens then
      As way leads on to way and I’m surprised
      Discovering topics I’d not realized.

      One word or phrase suggests another one
      Taking me far from where I had begun,
      And then I wonder where it all may tend
      Until—voilà—I see I’ve reached the end

      Where I find out I know more than I knew
      And I’m as much surprised, or more, than you.



   We’re waiting now to hear what he might say,
   Now he’s been captured after that horrid day—
   The day he bombed the Boston Marathon,
   Leaving many wounded and three gone.
   His older brother, assumed the mastermind,
   Chief terrorist, shot dead, left him behind,
   Nineteen years old, to explain their atrocity,
   As if the mystery of iniquity
   Can ever be revealed, or hearts so dark
   Show more of conscience than a savage shark.
   And yet most evil men can rationalize,
   Gilding their leaden motives with bright lies.
        The deepest mystery of all is why
        They could not feel the pain of those who’d die.


Saturday, April 20, 2013


     Why write in rhyme and meter anymore,
     When poets nowadays have left behind
     Such labored artifice from days of yore
     As too contrived and rigidly designed?

     “Let’s set verse free from its antique confines
     And make it new, inventing different modes;
     New bottles should be found to hold new wines,
     New pathways to replace the ancient roads.”

     So said the likes of Eliot and Pound,
     Rejecting the Victorian regime;
     I’d argue, though, their reasoning was unsound
     Denying what prior eras all esteem:

          The heartbeat of such verse is metered time;
          It’s soul, the much-anticipated rhyme.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


    That we are Homo sapiens sapiens named
    Is something our behavior has disclaimed
    And at the best is aspirational,
    An accomplishment we’d deem sensational.

    Meanwhile we muddle on through mist and haze
    Far off from what may be our best of days
    If we wise up and learn at last to claim
    That wisdom doubly promised in our name.

    Yet to do that, so much we’d need to change
    And our priorities to rearrange
    Because the values of the wise require
    We live by more than whimsy and desire.

         Compassion, fellow-feeling, leads the list:
         What hurts you hurts your brother—so desist.


Monday, April 15, 2013


        Amidst our daily struggle and our strife,
        The Wonder underlying all of life
        Fades from our consciousness to be forgot,
        As if it weren’t the essence of our lot—
        For we are here with a capacity
        Unique in Earthly creatures: we can see
        In more dimensions than other creatures can.
        With memory and imagination’s span,
        We marvel at what may be and has been,
        For past and future live within our ken.
        Thus what we cannot see we speculate,
        And what is yet to be we contemplate.
        The wonder is, with all this wondrousness,
        How few perceive the wonder they possess.


Saturday, April 13, 2013


for Eldon Ward

             The wonder is we’re here at all
             And conscious of what things befall.
             We know there’s life and we’re alive
             And that for some time we’ll survive,

             But where we came from, where we go
             Remains a mystery to all below,
             Not knowing if there is above,
             As some proclaim, a place of love

             And underneath, its opposite,
             Where sinful souls forever sit.
             The wonder of our being here
             Is all I need to bring me cheer

             And prompt me now to celebrate
             What shall be passing, soon or late.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013


                 The harm you do to others shall
                           Be visited on you
                 By a wily guy or femme fatale—
                           What you did, they shall do.


Monday, April 8, 2013


                    One, two, three; one, two, three,
                        Turn round the floor
                    Forward and backward
                        With one you adore.

                    It’s Saturday dancing school
                       Where you shall meet
                    Someone whose status
                       Is of the elite.

                   Here’s where you’ll polish
                     Your manners and moves
                   Learning to travel
                      In upper-class grooves.

                   Waltz with Matilda
                      Or Deborah Jane;
                   Fox trot with Sally
                      Then slow dance Elaine.

                   But remember to stay
                       On the right side of town—
                   Don’t cross over the tracks
                       Lest your parents should frown.


Sunday, April 7, 2013


 Your grammar and your punctuation should,
 Along with spelling, syntax, usage, too,
 Be more than passable—be very good
 Before you graduate and then pursue
 Some suitable career or further schooling
 Because, though high school should have done that
     for you,
 It’s college where you get your last re-tooling,
 And if you don’t, employers will ignore you.
 Therefore, be thankful that I’m so demanding
 And labor to find out your every error:
 I want to help you reach the highest standing
 And face your tasks with confidence, not terror.
      If for no other reason, then, decide
      To master all these skills because of pride.


Saturday, April 6, 2013


            There once was a girl we called “Jane”
            Because she was wretchedly plain.
                      Then to our surprise
                      She won Nobel’s Prize—
            It turned out she’d a beautiful brain.


Friday, April 5, 2013


   There’ll come a time when you can comprehend
   How precious is this only life of ours,
   When you're no longer able to pretend
   That you'll retain and relish all your powers,

   For swift or slow, your destined end will come
   To undermine your optimistic dreams
   And urge you to enumerate the sum
   Of goodness in your mortal deeds and schemes.

   Prepare now for what late or soon befalls
   All mortal beings and avoid dismay
   While rendering your account when Peter calls,
   And justify yourself on Judgment Day.

        Or if that story does not now ring true,
        There’s still yourself who’ll be the judge of you.


Thursday, April 4, 2013


                    How curious that a caretaker
                        Turns out to be the same
                    As someone who’s a caregiver
                        Though opposite in name.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013


    Since Darwin at the least, or long before,
    Survival of the fittest seemed the way
    That Nature led inevitably to war:
    Conflict and competition ruled the day.

    And thus implicitly we’re taught to beat
    Out rivals in our struggle to the top
    Because we’re either eaten or we eat,
    No other way: this carnage cannot stop.

    Or is there a humane alternative,
    A further step on evolution’s path
    By which to live and also to let live,
    A way of peace and concord, not of wrath?

         Cooperation is the road less taken,
         That way by which the sane and wise awaken.


          Inside my head a song I’ve listened to
          Too many times keeps playing on and on—
          It’s now become a meme I can’t undo,
          A new Beguine begun that won’t begone.