The Kaleidoscope

With mirrors
and odd shaped pieces
of colored glass,
the world looks magically ordered.

Yet looking the other direction
reveals nothing interesting.

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Simple Math ( for #SaveSweetBriar )

In my good liberal arts education I learned that
the whole is great than
the sum of its parts.

I learned that grain upon grain makes
the impossible heap.

I learned that one and one and fifty
can change the world,
but still can’t find the lyrics.

I learned that to better understand,
a good liberal arts education is needed.

Yet now, the simple bean counters
can’t see the impossible heap,
so they try to close down a college.

Now, politicians argue about taxes
remembering statistics about millions
while missing tragedy of a single child
going hungry.

Today, students at a small liberal arts college
are getting a real education
as they fight not for the grade or degree,
but for something that matters much more.

It’s not just a campus,
or tradition,
or a favorite professor.

It is for something much more important
in this twenty-first century,
something that too many
seem to be forgetting.

It is how we understand life
how we care for one another.
It is the value of a real
liberal arts education.

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The Intersection

The two paths that crossed in the woods
a couple hundred years ago
became the wagon paths
when the trees were cut for farmland.

Now, the commuters pause at the four way stop
deciding whose turn it is to go next.
The schools buses cautiously proceed
and others stop on the way to the store.

The widow pauses, waiting for her turn
as she remembers being a young mother
on the way to school or the shops.

A visitor passes through
never even thinking
of the lives that cross this intersection.

The fashions have changed
as have the seasons.
The poet still pauses
to ponder Whitman’s friends
in the usual costumes,
and the day comes to an end.

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About "The WInd"

This is a comment I wrote for an online class on Emily Dickinson I'm taking right now, which formed the starting point for "The Wind".

I find the search for Biblical references interesting. The first few times I read the poem, it didn't really resonate with me. Then, I started to pick up on the feeling of the coming storm. I remember storms like that growing up in Western Massachusetts. I remember, even more vividly, storms like that when I was in college in Ohio.

Then, the Biblical references started to jump out at me, a storm of Biblical proportions. Yet I had to pause. When I was young, one of my favorite poems was Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. I, too, had often stopped in the woods on a snowy evening. In my case, it was often after a day of sledding on trails in the woods. I would wonder who owned the land I was on, and as much as I wanted to stay and enjoy the snow, I knew I had to get home to dinner.

In junior high school, I bristled at those who said the poem was about death, and I would quote Frost saying, "If that poem's about death, than I guess all poems are about death and all poets murderers who should be hung."

So, is Dickinson just sharing a childhood memory of a big storm, perhaps a storm of Biblical proportions? Is it, somehow, and apocalyptic poem? Would she have said something similar to Frost, "If that poem is apocalyptic, all poems are apocalyptic and all poets are hertics who should be hung"?

As an aside, for my Lenten discipline this year, I am seeking to write a draft of a poem each day. I may follow Dickinson's lead and never seek to have the poems published, but these days, I can simply post them online.
So, I used "The wind begun to rock the grass", together with my thoughts above, for this evenings poem, "The Wind"

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The Wind

The ripples rose on the reservoir,
and the leaves on the trees rustled.
They sky was darkening
and in the distance, thunder.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

I thought of the meteorology classes
the difference in air pressure.
On the simplest, scientific level
it was all easy to explain.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

I thought of theology classes
of Ruach, of the Spirit of God
moving over the waters,
and the awesome Day of the Lord.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

And so I read the poets
who has seen the wind?
the wind begun to rock the grass
out of the cradle, endlessly rocking.

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

A childhood memory?
Science? Religion? Poetry?
Some combination of all?
Or something more?

There was electricity in the air
and you could feel the storm coming.

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