There is a value to humility
That those who’re blind from hubris cannot see,
But there’s a worth to all of those ideals
So often lost from scorn or apathy.
The eyes of children often brightly shine,
But when they’re older, then their eyes are dulled.
So also, men and women strive with zeal,
Until their strength is sapped by worldly things.
How many humans walk upon this earth
And yet feel nothing underneath their feet
Except the aches of age and weariness,
While trudging with the burdens of defeat?
When meaning and desire have both been drained,
What’s left is to what was before as is
The corpse to all the life that once had been—
Except, there’s a feeling left—of hopelessness.
2017 December 22nd, Friday UFT teachers’ room, JHS K 220 Brooklyn, New York Substitute teaching, for all its perils, offers a window of survival to those who depend on it for a bare living, and also of some remnant connection and usefulness to those who are retired from teaching.
Of course, some retired teachers have other sources of financial and emotional sustenance, and might prefer to stay as far as possible from the schools in which they spent most of their working lives.
There are little birds that fly and perch
And chirp and sing out loud.
The wind is blowing through the leaves
And chasing waves on grass.
I hear the sounds as water flows
Along the little creek.
It rushes and it idles, swirls,
As frogs and insects leap.
The fish are splashing in that creek
And swimming in the pond.
The clouds are sailing through the sky
Of hues of blue above.
Who cares, on such a day as this,
While blinking in the sun,
For all the things for which this race
Of humans madly run?
The thoughts I thought upon that day,
The feelings that I felt,
Have risen in my mind today
And help me live again.
I remember sights and sounds
And scents—and on my skin
The touch of air and rain and sun—
And all that rain cleared day.
I saw the raindrop as it shone,
Suspended from a leaf.
I saw the rainbow in the sky,
While breathing in and out.
How pleasant was that air, that warmth
Of sun upon my skin.
In such a trance as that, it seemed
This world was free of sin.
We've had enough of gizmos and of new, addictive apps.
We’re thirsting now for teatime with the old, familiar chaps.
We're weary of this slaving that enriches banks yet more.
We'd like to switch from racing ‘round to walking, nice and slow.
We'd love to be like puppies and like kittens. Dogs and cats
Are better at this living than our modern human rats.
We sit all day in cubicles. When home, we're staring still
At glowing screens that make us dull and also make us ill.
We're penned within our cities—where we cannot see the stars.
We live in violent "peace"—and then we die in needless wars.
We scurry and we're anxious, lacking time for grief and love.
We cannot feel the ground below or see the sky above.
Let us be no more as rodents that are trapped in metal cages.
Let us touch the trees as primates that had known them through the ages.
Let us sit beside the ocean or the stream or lake or pond.
Let us look and let us listen. Let our hearts be gentle, fond.
Let us weep—and join in wailing. Let us sing and let us dance.
Let us plan—and see our planning turned to nonsense then by chance.
Let us smile and join in laughter. Let the sun and rain and air
Then sweep away the prisons that we've built from lack of care.
Let us cease then with our buying. Let us savor night and day.
Let us open up our purses, so our savings blow away.
Let us leave the mines and offices, the factories and schools.
Let us free ourselves from Mammon, and then be again as fools.
We are tired of being clever as we're driven with the herd.
Let us feel the joy of tasting and of letting go a turd.
Let us leave the wretched cities—or turn them inside out.
Let us gather 'round in circles. Let us join our hands and shout.
Let us take then our vacations here at home. That vacancy
Is what we need to be again—the fools with sanity.
2017 November 4th, Sat. Berkeley, California
(first 4 lines of 2nd stanza & 1st 2 of 3rd added later, in Brooklyn, New York)
When desperate and caught, it seemed,
within the devil’s coils,
I turned to verse to calm the storms
that roiled my inner seas.
And so I found a quietude
that lasted then a while—
an interval of peace, in which
that clamor would subside.
I typed out lines and sent them out
as if into the ether,
and now and then I’d hear a voice
that spoke in text to me.
And so it was for many years,
until my writing ceased—
but still at times I write my lines
and send these out to be.
For sentences can live awhile—
and even when we’re gone.
Perhaps my musings still may bring
my solaces to some—
or so I still imagine, though
the chances may be slight.
But in this way, I find relief
to carry on my life.
2017 October 27th, Fri. Berkeley, California ---------------------------------------------------------------