There is new news all day long, and every single minute,
radio and Internet constantly immerse us in it.
On our televisions, they repeat and repeat
every warlike action, every athletic feat.
We know before their spouses do when politicians slip,
view every starlet’s nightclub spree via a Youtube clip.
Stock market scams and Ponzi schemes and other news that scares
as big guys pick our pockets in order to line theirs.
Sans Blackwater and Monsanto, we would be better off,
but we’d still be deluged by news of Enron and Madoff!
We consult Wikipedia to see what it might say,
keep up with the Kardashians a dozen times a day.
It’s hard enough to keep abreast of those they might be bedding,
let alone to know the date of their most recent wedding.
Who has gained a pound or two or who’s the most hirsute?
This information makes our lives a Trivial Pursuit.
There are so many details that come at us day and night,
filling up our minds until our craniums feel tight.
We’re stuffed with sound bites, news clips and every TV show
until it is inevitable. Something’s got to blow!
No wonder that we can’t remember names of our best friends
or what we came out shopping for or how that movie ends.
We can’t remember song lyrics or what we meant to do.
We came in here for something. Was it scissors, paint or glue?
I am forgetting everything I always used to know.
Every mental process has just gotten kind of slow.
It’s taking me much longer now to ponder each decision—
a factor that the younger folks consider with derision.
Like-aged friends agree with me, for they all feel the same.
They all have minds stuffed just as full, and we know what to blame.
There’s too much information, and like any stuffed-full larder,
to locate things within them gets progressively harder.
If we could sort our minds out the same way that we pack—
putting unimportant stuff way at the very back
and all the more important things in front and at the top,
we wouldn’t have to search our minds and wouldn’t have to stop
to figure out the names of things or places or of folks,
and then we wouldn’t be the brunt of all their aging jokes;
but it seems that we can’t do this so perhaps the answer is
to just turn off the TV news and gossip of show biz.
The scandals and the killings—all the bad things that astound us—
we’d leave behind to concentrate on happenings around us.
We’d notice more the little things in our immediate world:
the spider in the spider web, the bud that’s tightly furled
and notice when it opens, and the dragonfly that’s on it
and take a picture of it, or perhaps construct a sonnet.
See the children who are hungry and instead of our obsessing
on matters where we’re powerless, instead bestow a blessing
on all those things around us where we have the power to act.
When we see whatever needs doing, to take action and react.
Perhaps then all the horrid facts that rise up in the mind
will settle to the bottom and then all of us will find
the keys we’ve lost, our glasses, and remember why we came
into this room and how to recall every person’s name.
And all the time we save we’ll spend on the important things
and feel the sense of purpose helping others always brings.
The world is too much with us with its bad news of all kinds,
and all this information simply freezes up our minds.
Perhaps with much less input, there would be less to astound us
and we could concentrate on what’s important close around us.
The prompt word today is athletic. This is a rewrite of a poem written three years ago.