Image by Samanta Sabina on Unsplash, used with permission
Our nation’s growing jittery. It seems our ruler’s broken.
In the land of liberty, freedom is just a token.
Surrounded by his family, his fumbling words are brisk.
He issues crazy edicts, putting the world at risk.
As he pens crude letters to men of more distinction,
we cower in our houses. fearing mass extinction.
He poo-poos all our scientists. The climate’s doing fine.
Who cares if the whole planet is headed for decline?
Glaciers swiftly melting. Forest fires raging.
He overlooks the hurricanes, intent upon his caging.
Children are the biggest risk, so he sends them packing.
Makes military decisions with very little backing.
On his situation comedy played on the largest screen,
he spins out the same old story: our country has grown mean.
“How green is blue?” the child asks,
“What is the taste of pink?” A prodigy koan-master with a novel way to think, such problems keep a child’s mind engaged in matters other than all the daily problems of a father or a mother.
No spider ever stumbles when spinning out her strands, for the feet she walks around on
are really only hands. No specter of a problem
ever plagues a goat. He simply feeds upon the world
and lives his life by rote.
And so it is with children.
They go from thing to thing with no worries of the outcomes
that their acts might bring. They leave to human adults
the worries of such things and simply live with pleasures
that every new day brings.
In honor of Canadian Thanksgiving and looking forward to ours later this month, this poem is dedicated to Morrie and Diego, who profit from all culinary events in my house:
Leftovers (Dedicated to Two Hopeful Dogs)
Crying for our leftovers won’t bring you any favors. You will not taste their textures or masticate their flavors if you stand there begging. Those winsome looks aren’t working. Nor are your lapsing manners—your twisting and your jerking.
Hunger doesn’t justify your unwelcome behavior. Before we even sat down, we saw Grandpa was your savior, slipping you a turkey leg he had dipped in gravy. (That leg I’d saved for leftovers–a turkey sandwich, maybe.)
Our home-cooked meal? Delicious. That you already know. When I cooked the pies, I fed you scraps of dough. The turkey giblets boiled for gravy, later went to you. When I cooked the cranberries, you even ate a few.
You licked the pumpkin bowl so clean. You licked the beater blade when I whipped the cream for pies. Dear ones, you had it made. So when you beg for leftovers, I’ll just ignore your fuss. You ate before the guests, dears. Leftovers are for us!
Be thankful for your bugaboos, though they invade your head while walking down a lonely street or lying in your bed. I know they make you nervous, especially at night. They ramify your countless fears. They niggle, scratch and bite. Fear is the voice of instinct. It says that something’s wrong. It sets action in motion when pain sounds the warning gong. Fear and pain must guide the way. Without them you are guileless. How would we know something was wrong if gall bladders were bileless? Nature’s warning signals, be they physical or mental agitate those normal states more pleasurably gentle. They are our bodyguards and they make us more secure, warning of us problems for which we need a cure. They tell of hidden dangers. Make us more aware. It’s true both pain and pleasure are part of nature’s care.
The chill is on the mountain. Its height seems insurmountable.
Tenebrous and unpassable, its obstacles uncountable.
And though failure is eminent, still we’ll do our best.
Deal with problems as they come. This is no time to rest.
Lend your hand for brothers struggling with the task.
Don’t settle for what’s easy and give them what they ask.
The dangers in just turning your back to the ordeal
is that the villains at the top will plot and cheat and steal
your conscience and your water, your air and liberty
until they’ve taken everything they can from you and me
and view the ruins of what they own, from sea to shining sea.
Photo by David Everett Strickler on unsplash, Used with permission.
Before it’s Too Late
We could use a sentient being in the White House about now. Surely his staunchest backers must be wondering how they can save face. How can they be suffering no qualms? You can tell them by their panicked looks and their sweating palms. How can they stand behind him? How can they fail to see how he’s cast our ship of state into a stormy sea? Already, they’re too slow to recognize the fact that they jeopardize our country. Their fealty just may bring about our final fall. This game that he’s been playing at, remember, when he’s gone, is still the world that we’ll be staying at. Judges, remove your blinders. Senators, seize the rein. Acknowledge that our captain has slowly gone insane. It’s not too late for action, but if we do not act, we’ll go the way of other fallen empires. That’s a fact!