Friday, February 27, 2015



THE OLD PATHS

I liked the old paths, when 
Mothers stayed at home. 
Fathers went to work. 
Brothers joined the army. 
And sisters got married 
BEFORE having children.

Crime did not pay.
But hard work did,
And people knew the difference. 

Moms could cook. 
Dads would work. 
Children would behave. 

Husbands were loving.
Wives were supportive, 
And children were polite. 

Women wore jewelry, 
And Men wore pants. 

Women looked feminine.
Men looked manly, 
And children looked clean, decent
And well-groomed. 

People respected the truth, 
And disapproved of liars.

They went to church 
To find solid friendships 
While worshipping God.

Hymns sounded reverent. 
Sermons sounded helpful. 
Rejoicing sounded normal, 
And grieving was sincere. 

Cursing could get you into trouble. 
Drugs were for illness. 

The flag was honored. 
America was beautiful. 
And God was a welcome Presence
In all our lives.

We read the Bible in school, 
Joyfully celebrated Christmas,   
And quietly witnessed for the blessings 
Of knowing Jesus Christ 
With everyone we met.

To be an American was worth dying for. 
To be an American was worth living for. 
To utter treasonous thoughts was shameful.

I still like the old paths the best. 



~ Anonymous

25 comments:

  1. Icarus the innocent,
    the broken birdman felll to Earth,
    who soared through sight and sound,
    spellbound by the ecstacy of wind,
    the zigzag tremors of the sky.

    And Daedalus,
    a craftsman shrewd and able,
    creator of an artifice,
    a labyrinth of rich and cruel geometry,
    achieved a freedom through his art
    but Minos, king of Crete,
    spoke heavy words and imprisoned him in grief.

    Father and son,
    arrogance and pride are always seen
    by those unseen,
    the balance-sheet of life corrected,
    each coin is counted, each price exacted.

    Fifty years their difference
    and fifty years of folly and regret,
    both doomed and dooming through their love.

    The father's hand upon the shoulder of his son
    in a language only they could know, says:
    'reassurance makes the deed assured'
    and each steps forward,
    each steps into the weightless air.

    They compete and traffic with the sky
    in bitter swirls of freedom and release,
    in loops and leaps as clear and rich as vision.

    And far below
    a stretch of islands
    glint like constellations in the sun,
    winking in the deepest blue
    as shadows white and black wheel far above them.

    And Icarus in arrogance
    will fly too high in blind and hopeless bliss
    and begins to come undone
    as atom follows atom
    he unwinds and splinters in the golden sun.

    And like a giddy meteor
    that plummets without reason
    uncontrollably through sky,
    in the slipstream of his arrogance
    he pierced the ocean far below,
    a soft commotion in the waves,
    then the jigsaw whole again.

    And Daedalus flies calmly on,
    unruffled, unobserved.


    - Conner Dowd, "Icarus"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From WIKI: Icarus is the son of the master craftsman Daedalus, the creator of the Labyrinth. Often depicted in art, Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings his father constructed from feathers and wax.

      Icarus's father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, because the sea's dampness would clog his wings or the sun's heat would melt them.

      Icarus ignored his father's instructions not to fly too close to the sun, whereupon the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea.


      Isn't this powerful prose-poem by Mr. Conner Dowd an elaborate way of restating and dramatizing the more modern admonition to "KEEP in the MIDDLE of the ROAD?" ;-)

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    2. ...but there are no "middle of the roaders" in the history books.

      Delete
  2. My father used to say, "Old ways are best."

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    Replies
    1. I agree, AOW, but our ever-loving critics would be quick to tell us that our favorable, near-idyllic view of the past is clouded by feelings of prejudice, nostalgia, pretension and wishful thinking.

      Most progressives are hard-bitten cynics who make a career out of taking the dimmest view possible of just about everything unlike their precious selves. They thrive on puffed up demonstrations of largely fake, trumped up demonstration of Righteous Indignation, while steadfastly ignoring virtue then exaggerating, magnifying and noising abroad anything and everything that could be criticized unfavorably, or better yet -- CONDEMNED.

      They do nothing to build. Their mission is always to DESTROY, and to FOMENT as much ILL WILL as possible.

      Their primary objective, of course, is to grab sufficient power to enable them to juggle themselves into a positions of Absolute Power that would make the monarchies of old seem like affable realms from the gentlest of fairy tales were the castles are made of delicately tinted spun sugar, and the flowers sing lilting ballads and converse amiably with passersby in the aways beautifully tended gardens.

      Marxian-Fabian-Communist-SociaistProgressive-Liberal-Statist-Dictocrat thinking is little but a ling series of HATE-BASED initiatives motivated by Envy, Spite, Malice, and RAGE. These people invariably hate God as much as they hate Life.

      That their perpetual use of false postures of RECTITUDE and fake CONCERN for the unfortunate masks HATRED and an OBSCENE CONTEMPT for all Mankind makes them even more dangerous than they are despicable.

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  3. Those long uneven lines
    Standing as patiently
    As if they were stretched outside
    The Oval or Villa Park,
    The crowns of hats, the sun
    On moustached archaic faces
    Grinning as if it were all
    An August Bank Holiday lark;

    And the shut shops, the bleached
    Established names on the sunblinds,
    The farthings and sovereigns,
    And dark-clothed children at play
    Called after kings and queens,
    The tin advertisements
    For cocoa and twist, and the pubs
    Wide open all day;

    And the countryside not caring
    The place-names all hazed over
    With flowering grasses, and fields
    Shadowing Domesday lines
    Under wheats’ restless silence;
    The differently-dressed servants
    With tiny rooms in huge houses,
    The dust behind limousines;

    Never such innocence,
    Never before or since,
    As changed itself to past
    Without a word–the men
    Leaving the gardens tidy,
    The thousands of marriages
    Lasting a little while longer:
    Never such innocence again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Author please. It's customary -- and only right -- to include his or her name when posting one of his works.

      Delete
    2. I think you would enjoy this by a former classmate, lifelong friend and fellow poet living in London, as it so happens:

      _ Lanarkshire Mill Pond - December 1913 _



      Heavy bundled sweaters dwarf the child within,

      Jaunty caps obscure each face save giant grins,

      Two cousins balance on their skates, 

      Link mittened hands and pose

      Mid glide in the cold Scottish winds.


      A brilliant radiant Edwardian December, 


      Proud grandfather skating backwards

      Points his new Christmas camera

      To catch young lads and carefree smiles

      Skating in the brisk Lanarkshire air.



      Six months to the day, a vast continent away:

      Mistaken chauffeur driving backwards,

      Gavrilo Princip points a borrowed pistol

      To catch minor royalty and feint-grins

      Waving in the sultry Sarajevo air.



      Heavy brutal bombardments decimate battalions,

      Once-jaunty teenagers from mill towns and crofts

      Huddle in torrid Turkish trenches, link quivering hands, 

      Recall when younger joyful hands had gathered purple heather,

      “Queen daisies growing in the tall red grass… 

      And bluebells tossing in transparent fields.”



      Before going over the top. Up, up

      An exposed rocky cliff in remote Gallipoli.
      



      ~ Kathy Sanderson Zwick (born 1941)




      “I came back with an idée fixe – never again should men be
      made to suffer as in these years of war.”

      (Annals, 89) Hugh MacDiarmid - 1918


      It was Word War One, of course that destroyed the Old Order forever and and ushered on the terrifying Error we call The Modern Era, in which the world has grown progressively worse over the past ten decades.

      Delete
    3. Philip Larkin seemed by all accounts a dismal sort of chap -- right up the Modernist's alley. He reportedly said, "Deprivation is to me what daffodils were to Wordsworth."

      Sorry but I'll take Wordsworth over Larkin any day. I remember Larkin is favored by our Canardo, so it follows naturally that you too would seek him out, Jez. Birds of a feather and all that.

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    4. And what did you think of it before you found out who wrote it? ;)

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    5. I responded by posting "Lancashire Mill Pond, December 1913" by my friend Kathy Sanderson Zwick, a published poet, herself. That should have indicated what I thought of it then and there. I respect Larkin's work. He was a great master of imagery, but that didn't prevent him from having been a dismal sort of chap with a depressing outlook on life.

      That's all right. There's great beauty to be found in the somber, the solitary, the stark and the introspective. Poetry -- and all literature worthy of the name -- is full of brooding melancholy, soul searching, and seeking answers to unanswerable questions. However, something about the twentieth century changed the elegiac musings of the nineteenth to bitterness and brooding cynicism -- emotions I don't wish to encourage in myself or others, because I believe them deleterious to mental and spiritual health.

      The late Sylvia Plath was a prime example but others like Thomas Hardy, Randall Jarrell, T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound and Larkin, himself, wrote wonderfully, but I wouldn't recommend delving into their works in hopes of relieving yourself of suicidal impulses. Instead they might push you over the edge, if you weren't very careful.

      Tragedy may be cathartic when viewed from a certain disance, but wallowing in self pity and Swimming in the Slough of Despond could be as damaging as addiction to Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n Roll or any other self-destructive habit.

      'Tos often said "we are what we eat." I would go much farther and say we are what we think and what we permit to enter our consciousness.

      The biblical injunction to think on what is good, true, pure and wholesome is advice that should be well taken. It arms us against the depredations of too much worldliness.

      Delete
    6. A wry, humorous twist on traditional litcrit:

      _______ A CRITIQUE _______


      A rebarbative poet named Plath, 

      Who was filled with revulsion and wrath,

      Was best known not for smiling

      But rage and reviling ––

      The mark of a true psychopath.



      She worked herself into a lather

      In an orgy of hate for her father.

      The poor creature was doomed

      As vile passion consumed

      Her whole life, which seemed not worth the bother.



      So, she stuck her poor head in the oven,

      Because she knew nothin' of lovin.’

      If she’d been more Bourgeois,

      She’d have gone to a Spa,

      Forgotten her Pa, and got movin.’



      The sad saga of Sylvia Plath.

      For whom much distaste I do hath.

      Might have ended more merrily;

      I asseverate verily,

      If her soul had been giv’n a hot bath!



      And a diet of rich chocolate malts

      Along with a good dose of salts

      Administered gaily

      On schedule daily

      To purge her of her grievous faults!




      ~ Anne Animus aka FT };-)>

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    7. I'm not a fan of Larkin in general, you know, this particular one happens to be one of my favourites on the subject of nostalgia. I agree with what you say about avoiding excessive bitterness and cynicism. I'm afraid your original selection lapses into those pitfalls a little for me: it's couched in terms of celebrating the recent past, but the tone to me is one of relentless complaint or lament for the present. Larkin's irony here is comparatively feather-light.

      Delete
  4. The debt is paid,
    The verdict said,
    The Furies laid,
    The plague is stayed,
    All fortunes made;
    Turn the key and bolt the door,
    Sweet is death forevermore.
    Nor haughty hope, nor swart chagrin,
    Nor murdering hate, can enter in.
    All is now secure and fast;
    Not the gods can shake the Past;
    Flies-to the adamantine door
    Bolted down forevermore.
    None can re-enter there,—
    No thief so politic,
    No Satan with a royal trick
    Steal in by window, chink, or hole,
    To bind or unbind, add what lacked,
    Insert a leaf, or forge a name,
    New-face or finish what is packed,
    Alter or mend eternal Fact.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Safe in their alabaster chambers ...
      Untouched by morning and untouched by noon ...

      Diadems drops and Doges surrender ––
      Soundless as dots on a disc of snow."


      Emily Dickinson

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  5. Most brother didn't join the army. Throughout most of our history, our military was rather small. Then came the stupid jingoism after WWII, and now we're bankrupting the nation with useless, counter-productive, ridiculous military spending. Stuuuuuuupid.

    JMJ

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    Replies
    1. Jean Dangletestes said

      "Stuuuuuuupid."

      Yes you are, aren't you?

      Delete
  6. Mr. McJones... and it came to pass just as President Eisenhower warned in 1962 as he gave his farewell speech to the nation.

    It is evident republicans today are the least likely to be aware of his words and certainly lack his wisdom. The Supreme Commander of Allied forces understood the dangers inherent in the growth a Military Industrial Complex. We ignored his words and we arrived where he cautioned us to avoid.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and the homely amateur prose-poem posted as today's featured item in a blunt, guileless, naive fashion utterly lacking in nuance or subtlety expresses the longing for a return to the days when Ike was our president for eight peaceful, prosperous, predominantly joyful years.

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    2. Our nation's leaders, academia, and defense industries should have listened. Alas; they did not.

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    3. They never do. Remember Cassandra?

      That's why history has been little more than an unending Set of Variations on the Same Old Theme. The manners, the mores, the names, the clothes, the hairstyles, the venues, the modes of architecture and decor, and the procession of gadgets, gewgaws, palliatives, and labor-saving devices marches on, but Alas! the Stain of Cain remains unfaded.

      Delete
    4. FT,
      Remember Cassandra?

      That's why history has been little more than an unending Set of Variations on the Same Old Theme.


      Indeed.

      Learning never seems to occur. **sigh**

      Delete
  7. Vi Bosecher said

    I love your illustrations. Been meaning to tell you that for a long time. Your blog should win a prize for being the best looking.

    ReplyDelete

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