Friday, May 29, 2009

Waiting For Someone

While Waiting
© 2009 Rolland G. Smith

Low conversations, a viscous din,
nothing completely understood.
A word here, some laughter there and
the smothered tone of silver on china.
Tiny flames flicker in tall
translucent crucibles. Their frail light
competes for ceiling space amid
a limpid bright of mood.
They loose!
Alabaster sconces dimly light thin posts
that frame the windows to a blackened sea.
False mirrors with a dark reflection.
No way to see the sea at night.
The light within out shines the outward dark.
Is that me?
A being that cannot see its light,
yet it knows its there.
Heavy steps send a tremor to my
A shimmering through a slivered
stem that balances a bulbous breast
of amber wine.
Enough thought.
My conversation has arrived.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I saw something last week that was both understandable and disturbing at the same time.

Names are not important here, for each of us must deal with our pain in the way of our own choosing without judgment from others, but a consideration of a destructive force may be helpful to ease a seemingly lasting and wrenching pain.

In a courtroom, an individual vented anger and invective at someone he believed committed a terrible crime. A difficulty arises when justifiable anger steps across the threshold of righteous indignation and moves into the dark labyrinth and curse of lasting hate.

Hate is a dangerous and self destructive emotion. When directed at another it has just the opposite effect. It does nothing to the intended recipient, but it destroys the hater from the level of the spirit, for it is consumptive in nature.

The great teachings caution us about the power of hate. It binds, and attracts, to the hater what is directed at another. It is as strong in it's ability to hold pain as the power of love is in releasing it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Old Fears

The nuclear test by North Korea and the fear that Iran will get the bomb or that the Islamic extremists will get control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons reminded me of some old fears when I was a teenager in the late 1950's.

There was the pervasive fear then of nuclear war with the then Soviet Union. All across our nation, cities and villages designated public places as fallout shelters and stockpiled them with water and food. Civil Defense directors were appointed to oversee and plan for survival after the atom bombs dropped.

Individuals prepared for survival by constructing home shelters and conducting family drills in what to do in case of a nuclear emergency. Our radioes had special spots on the dial for people to tune to for information. Radio stations would test the system periodically by playing an alert tone. I remember the warning sounded and then the announcer said: “This is a test. This is only a test. If this had been an actual emergency, you would be instructed to tune to 640 or 1240 on the radio dial for emergency information.”

The Soviet leader behind most of this fear was Nikita Khrushchev. A hard communist, who once told America, “ we will bury you.” Meaning communism will dominate democracy. Nikita Khrushchev died in 1971.

His son, Dr. Sergei Khrushchev is a Senior Fellow at Brown University. Ten years ago he and his wife became American citizens.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Memorial Day for Americans is a holiday that traditionally announces the beginning of summer, even though it is not yet seasonally summer. The season’s beginnings and endings never do coincide with mankind’s needs for work breaks and passing pleasures.

By observation Memorial Day Weekend is a traditional holiday of yard sales, barbecues, family gatherings, beach going, memorial tributes to the fallen and to standing veterans, flag waving, traffic accidents, busy emergency rooms, long lines at the ice cream parlors, and planting flowers and vegetables.

What happens next is summer. Vacations start, graduations conclude and school ends, camp begins for some as do lazy hazy days and summer jobs, if you can find one in this economy.

Endings always have an expectation of something beginning. All endings do. It is both the power of our envisioning and our powers of manifestation that takes us to something next. I believe that each of us has a singular power that we often ignore or forget we have. It is the power of thought. We do so many of these little imaginations every moment that we toss away as idle constructions and considerations, but each of them has possibility if we give it energy.

I would submit that all the great ideas in history began with a thought. It is a logical theatrical “Spock” kind of conclusion if not overly simplistic and sophomoric.

Suppose you have a thought of world peace, a clean environment, the cure for cancer and all the other insidious diseases that both conflict and inflict our current world. Maybe too you are thinking of eliminating poverty, hunger, greed, prejudice, and cruelty everywhere on the planet.

Most of us however are thinking about earning a living, finishing something, paying the bills, fixing the car, mowing the lawn or going fishing or golfing, watching the game, driving the kids somewhere, planning a vacation or party time with our friends.

Those are great, wonderful, everyday duties and desires, hopes and wishes, but they are not the noble thoughts of service. Service is instantaneous response to need and our planet has profound needs that require our collective thought.

I have a truth I will share with you. If only a very few of us collectively think about the noble things at the same time it can happen because of the power of thought. The power of manifestation is inherent in the divinity of our being; then the little stuff of life will happen perfectly and automatically.

There is only one simple problem. We have forgotten we have the power.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

We used to call it decoration day, for it was a time of placing flowers and flags on the graves of America's war dead. Later it became know as Memorial Day to honor all those who died in service to their country.

And again this year we have new names and places to put the flowers and flags. The greatness of democracy is that we acknowledge the value of dissent, discussion and demonstration, but Memorial Day is not the time for that exercise. It is the time for honoring the choice of service of so many, so young that have crossed the eternal threshold to the light of another place.

In many places today along with small town parades and family barbecues and flags waving in the holiday breeze you will hear the somber, but clarion call of taps.

Daniel Butterfield an upstate New York businessman, with no musical training, who became a General during the civil war, wrote taps.

Following the Peninsular Campaign, the General's brigade was camped overlooking the James River in Tidewater, Virginia. His troops were tired and as they settled in for the night the bugler played "extinguish lights".

It's a stuffy, un-inspiring, call with no emotion.

Hearing the bugle that night, General Butterfield thought the final call of the day should bring comfort and peace to his men. Scribbling on the back of an envelope, the General wrote late into the night and the next morning he called for his bugler. He listened to his notes being played and made a few minor changes. He then ordered it to be played each night as the last call for his brigade.

Even though the term "taps" goes back to the 16th century, it soon became connected to General Butterfield's final call.

Taps was first sounded at a funeral in the civil war, when a Union captain was concerned the usual rifle volley might spark an attack from a nearby Confederate army encampment. He ordered "taps" played instead.

There is no greater honor than remembering in public appreciation the final act of service of others. Taps has become the prayer of sound for warriors past and present.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Some thoughts tonight on this Memorial Day Weekend.

To date the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken over 4-thousand 962 American lives as of May 23rd.

This must be an emotionally raw and sad Memorial Day for the new families who have lost loved ones in battle.

The red of our flag is a little redder this year for so many new young lives have crossed the threshold in service to country and humanity.

The Blue of our flag is little bluer this year for each death in combat spreads a painful ache across the communities of America as family and friends mourn the dead with the haunting call of taps and the silent flow of tears.

The White of our flag is a little brighter this year for these deaths were not in pursuit of tribute or territory, but anchored in the purity of securing our freedom from terrorism.

And on this weekend of honor and remembrance, we symbolically add over 4,962 new stars to the millions of others who have gone before in older wars and ancient battles for freedom. The great sacrifice of life and limb will eternally rest with honor among the fifty visible stars on our flag as it waves proudly and solemnly to acknowledge America’s warriors past and present.

Friday, May 22, 2009


One of my very conservative friends was commenting, more like mumbling, the other day that Republicans lost the election and will have to live with Obama. Once again he didn’t like something Mr. Obama said or did and was vocally lamenting his election nearly seven months later.

In my thinking Republicans didn’t lose. Democrats didn’t win. We won! We the people, we citizens, who by majority rule and representative government, comprise the policy and philosophy of this maturing republic won.

The Democrats, personified under the leadership of President Obama were selected to administer the governmental operation of this country for four years, but the only winner is us.

Once again we became the evidence of our beliefs and by peaceful public example demonstrated to the world and to ourselves that democracy is still a valid and effective process.

We live in a pragmatic world, often fearful, sometimes cruel and we the people are not perfect, but collectively we strive to live up to the founding ideals of democracy. We shout, we argue, we debate, we accuse and when the votes are counted we accept, we forgive, we get together and we live in diverse harmony until we do it again. That’s greatness, that’s America.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Alligators in New York City?

I recently spent a couple of days in New York City. Walking around all the manholes I remember stories years ago of Alligators in the sewers.

When you look at the awesome skyline of New York City it is easy to forget it is a lot like the tip of an iceberg. There is more underneath. Subway tunnels, steam pipes, fiber optic cables and maybe alligators.

Some people think these urban gators don't exist. They say it's a myth, a joke, fun imagination.

One story has it that back in the fifties when travel to Florida was increasing and there were no laws preventing it, baby alligators were the pet rage. Supposedly kids in New York City got them as presents. They were cute, but they also grew up and some say they were then flushed down the toilet.

New York's alligator sightings go back to 1932 when a dead three footer supposedly was found on the banks of the Bronx River, and a number of live ones were spotted nearby.

Several years later, during the summer of 1937, a barge captain reportedly hauled a big one out of the east river. A few days later, perhaps spurred on by the barge captain's publicity, a commuter allegedly bagged one at the Brooklyn Museum's subway station. That started it and New York's sewer system has had sightings straight through to 1966.

There has been no trace of the Alligator Urbanus since then. Maybe they moved to the sunbelt. We now have reports of alligators in the sewers of Atlanta, Georgia. The myth lives on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A number of years ago Raritan, New Jersey passed a law where it was illegal to utter profanity in public or to be rude to your neighbor and even to insult people. I don't know if the law is still on the books, but I suppose it was more of a social statement than something a municipality could enforce.

Today in the communities across America the elderly, the young, the weak, the poor, the ordinary and the different are often held hostage by the misdirected actions of a few who confused rudeness with strength, insults with wit and profanity with intellect.

Courtesy is an immutable law of the heart for it acknowledges that you and the other are one and rudeness to one is rudeness to all especially to oneself.

Courtesy is not something we can legislate. It is something we need to demonstrate to our children by example.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Source.

Now is the time for all of us to think beyond our limited creative thoughts and see the grandest vision for ourselves that was always there and waiting, but was hidden behind the ego’s fog of reality.

The Divine gift of experiential growth and unlimited personal discovery is a vision of more than we can imagine for we are blinded by the illusions of life. If we let go of the expectation and the fear of what we might see, we will see the real and be it.

The energy of free choice is emblazoned and encased within our spiritual spheres and human forms and harmonizes with the vibration of what we truly are. The light of our spirit projects upon the screen of life. The result is a constant act of growth. Perhaps our earth play title might be, “The Art of Experience.” Produced by the All That Is and starring “Us.”

All plays have a star; life is no different. We make up the lines, the plot and the action of choice as we go along.

There is a beginning – birth. A middle - growth and a constant continuation of rising and falling action, but never an end. In the final act of life the plot starts to blur and no one but the divine thought knows the conclusion. Most of us have not yet decided what it is to be.

Such is the unconditional love of the Playwright.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Supreme Court Nominee?

You know what bothers me about the process of the yet to be named Supreme Court nominee? It’s not the peoples right to disagree. It’s not different philosophies. It’s not the deep questioning of a nominees values, ethics, choices, and demeanor. It’s the gestalt opposition to anyone that President Obama chooses to nominate to the Justice Souter position on the Supreme Court.

I have been both conservative and liberal in the past in my choices and support for causes and people based upon the facts as I understood them and as I could ascertain them in my personal research into a specific issue or individual.

Frankly that’s what I expect from Congress, not only my Representatives and my Senators, but from Congress as a whole. The conservative opposition in Congress know that they have little chance of defeating Mr. Obama’s Supreme Court choice. The Democrats control the Senate, but GOP Senators seemingly are willing to be obstructionist rather than take the opportunity to find a way to work together with the majority for the good of all.

What the opposition has already done is to construct a “fill in the blank” obstruction to any choice Mr. Obama chooses. To me, this is not the way it ought to work. We, all of us, together in consensus ought to seek and solicit the finest mind, the greatest thinker, the noblest American to serve in the lifetime appointment on the highest court in our Democracy.

Having said all of that, all of us must realize that whomever gets the nomination and whomever gets confirmed must have free will reign to follow their conscience, their heart, their intellect as they assess issues for the greater good of American justice.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said there might be a filibuster. It’s interesting that during the confirmation hearings for Justices Alito and Roberts, McConnell opposed using that Senate procedural move. Now it’s OK. All hail partisanship.

When President Obama was a Senator he said that Supreme Court nominees Alito and Roberts were highly qualified to serve on the court, but he voted against them anyway. He said a Senator has the right to oppose a nominee on philosophical and political grounds.

What goes around comes around. All hail again partisanship. I wonder when all this will stop and we can get down to working together as Americans not Democrats or Republicans?

Friday, May 15, 2009


Some thoughts on fences.

America continues to debate a duality and dilemma similar to the questions asked by Robert Frost in his poem Mending Wall. The poem starts with the line, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” and it ends with “Good fences make good neighbors”. Frost makes no distinction as to which is better. He leaves that to the reader to determine.

Wherever we stand on building fences, we must agree that the truth is more important than facts. Facts increase knowledge, but truths increase understanding and what we always need most of all is understanding for we are dealing with fears, emotions, cultures, hopes and wishes of people.

As human beings first and nationalistic citizens second we might choose to look for the greater good whatever that is.

Individuals make that determination by looking within their hearts. The ego can’t tell you, for its nature is to perpetuate its prejudice. The intellect can reason a greater good, but it is easily deceived by fear and justification is often the result. The heart seemingly is immune to deception through its pristine connection to the divinity within us. It will guide us to the greater good, if we follow it, if we choose it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Torture Photos

President Obama has decided not to release the photos of alleged abuse of detainees by American operatives. The reason claimed by the Obama Administration is that the disclosures would further inflame anti-American opinion and put our troops in greater danger.

Our troops are already in great danger given the number of coffins coming home from the two theatres of war.

We already have anti-American opinion all over the world because of our previous policies that ignited the hatred against us.

What did we expect? Forgiveness? Tolerance? Love?

We are not perfect. We are not without responsibility for our actions even though a former governmental authority for the purpose of gleaning information, inappropriately and with suspect legal language, approved unethical methods of interrogation.

In Congress the other day there was testimony on this issue and Instead of calling it “torture”, someone called it “enhanced interrogation”.

Come on! Who are we fooling? Enhanced interrogation is torture. Torture is not something that America condones or does in times of national stress or should do in times of war.

Torture was never our public policy until the Bush/Chaney administration promulgated the fear following 9/11 and usurped power by decree.

America’s greatness comes from the admission of wrongdoing not from hiding it in the nomenclature of protection and what might happen.

The admission of wrongdoing does not make us weaker. It does not make us less patriotic. It does not make us less powerful in the eyes of the world and us. It makes us stronger and nobler for the public admission of a wrong is an acknowledgement and condemnation of the nationalistic ego and fear that brought us to this condition in the first place.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

National Limerick Day

Yesterday was National Limerick Day.

Yep! I didn’t know we had one either. If I had known, yesterday’s post would have been a limerick.

Here is the way one web site describes a Limerick.

“A limerick is a short, comical, and almost musical poem that often borders on the nonsensical or obscene. It was popularized in English by Edward Lear (and thus Limerick Day is celebrated on his birthday, May 12).”

So in belated honor of Mr. Lear’s birthday here are two of mine.

Victoria Secret Limerick.

Some thoughts on the ways men are led
With garments to make some blush red.
Others however,
Often endeavor
To peek when the out side is shed.

This surely is no passing fad
For centuries men have been glad
Of what women wear
And choose to then share
In public what’s often forbade.

I wonder where all this began
T'was it Follies? The old cancan?
Who added the lace?
A spice to the chase
To catch us whenever we ran.

I guess I should say where I stand,
My head is not down in the sand.
If put on the spot
Liking lace or not
Victoria Secret is grand.

Dinosaur Limerick

There once lived a big dinosaur
Who's life was all legend and lore
He lived in the snow.
Scientists say no,
But there, they found bones to restore.

It happened way south at the pole.
Researchers discovered a hole.
There, in an ice bed,
From tail to head,
Were fossilized bones in a row.

They’re two hundred million years old.
These bones that our science beholds.
With tiny front feet,
And powerful teeth,
This creature ate meat, we are told.

Now science is placed on the spot.
No Ripley’s believe it or not.
Not even a wink,
Can change what we think,
The Antarctic was once quite hot.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nature and Me

I am thinking this morning of the simple spiritual things I experienced yesterday.

I mowed the lower meadow where the grasses had grown to twelve or more inches. I’d cut it once already this spring, but its growth exceeded my human schedule what with an abundance of gentle spring rains and warming sunlight. It’s just another reminder that nature does not attune to me, but I must bow to it.

Mowing is a task many of us do in the maintenance of our homes and homesteads. As my machine cut the living grasses and weeds I noticed tiny clumps of Bluets and Lilly Of The Valley flowers. These magnificent clusters of delicate blossoms beautify the meadow with minute flashes of white bell flowers and four blue petals with a yellow stamen on the Bluets. They are so tiny and so beautiful. I had my blade set to four and a half inches so the flowers missed the cut.

I took my time to thank the flowers, grasses and weeds for the grace they give the greening meadow both in their long form and when I cut them short. Every once in awhile I’d get a whiff of an onion aroma as my blade sliced a patch of wild chives; there is nothing like it.

Later as I trimmed some Wisteria vines and pulled some ambient seedlings from the various house gardens, I again thought of man’s proximity and connection to nature’s constant birth and how we attempt to manipulate the natural beauty of spontaneous chaos into the patterned form of our symmetry and color.

And then I watched and listened to the bubbling warble of the House Wrens building their nest in a tiny birdhouse hanging in a Hackberry Tree over the Spirit Garden. Their little brown bodies belie their feisty demeanor and territorial defense.

On the other side of the house, in the eves and beams of a large portico is a Robbins nest, a swallow’s mud hut on top of a ceiling high electrical box, a Turtle Dove nest and in the nine baskets of hanging ferns three families of House Finches have staked their claim and sing their nesting right to all who will listen.

I am reminded again, as I am so often of Shakespeare’s line. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” I hope your days are just as profound.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Promontory Point

One hundred and forty years ago and one day, the two coasts of the United States became connected by rail. It was May 10th, 1869.

At that time, the state of Utah was still a territory and a spot called "Promontory" was about to receive the attention of the world and mark a place in American history.

It was there where the final rail was laid linking the Union Pacific tracks out of Omaha with the Central Pacific tracks out of San Francisco.

Five years of labor had gone before to bring the two to Promontory, Utah.

Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific, took a silver plated sledgehammer in his burly hands and took aim at the gold spike in the final rail.

America was listening for that clank. Telegraph operators were at the ready. The Railroad's future was bright. Two engines were puffing in anticipation. The Union Pacific number 199 and the Central's number 60, better known as the Jupiter, waited to touch iron noses. All was set Sanford swung the silver hammer at the bright golden spike…

...and he missed.

Somehow, now that seems appropriate. The railroads future was never perfect. Progress took a different route and a new track eventually bypassed Promontory. Then, as irony would have it, the old rails were needed for steel during the 2nd world war and they were removed. Promontory today has no tracks, only a memory in May.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Fool's Prayer

Ah...tis Friday again and time for poetic thoughts.

One of my favorite poems is Edward Rowland Sill's The Fool's Prayer. Perhaps you'll like it too. He was born in 1841 and died in 1887.


The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!"

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the Monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: "O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

"No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

"'T is not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

"These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

"The ill-timed truth we might have kept--
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say--
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

"Our faults no tenderness should ask.
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders -- oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

"Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
"Be merciful to me, a fool!"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Santa Barbara Fire

When sudden change in our lives takes place we are shocked into realizations that were foreign to us just days or even moments before.

Things that were important yesterday or twenty minutes ago no longer have the value we initially gave them. How quickly we must prioritize our things, our stuff and our responsibilities.

I am thinking of friends and strangers who have homes in Santa Barbara, California and who are being asphyxiated with smoke and charred with flames as wild fires threaten homes and condos that seemingly were in a safe area.

Nothing is safe when the searing winds of nature’s harsh breath usurps the norm of life. An order comes to evacuate and you must instantly decide what to take with you or not, or maybe it’s just to escape with your life.

These are very tough choices I hope none of us ever has to make, but these kinds of things, events, calamities and tragedies are happening all the time all over the globe and most of us are unaware or too busy or even insensitive to notice.

Floods, famines, fires and wars. Tornadoes, typhoons, tsunamis and epidemics, earthquakes and land slides instantly change the docile, the innocent and local government authorities into a reactionary entity.

When death and destruction comes to the third world we react and help with tents, blankets, food, water and medicine. When death and destruction strikes close to home we react with instant news stories, sorrow, and ambient sympathy. Yes, the needed supplies will go there too, but coupled with the surprise that it happened here.

This is America. We allegedly have the power to stop everything, to fix anything, to control all, to change what we don’t like. Some things yes, but not nature. She is her own force of wind, fire, rain and snow and seismic power.

The reaction when destruction is so close to home is generally shock. It can’t happen here or at least it shouldn’t and eventually understanding and acceptance surfaces.

We’re the same as everyone else. Terrible things happen all over. Buildings collapse, cars crash, people get cancer, children, parents, family, and friends die and we feel the same emotion as if we lived in Bangladesh or Santa Barbara. We are a global community and a human synapse of spirit.

Humanity comes from the same place, we go back to the same place, and we are One with the Source of All That Is.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reflections on Simplicity

Every so often I reflect on the many stories I’ve covered and written through the years to see if there is some salvageable lesson that might be valid in my understanding of life today.

My reflections bring up a few memorable experiences and a couple of platitudes that elicit a smile, and even a few remembered inspirations for these troubled times.

The unfortunate realization is that there were troubled times then and there are troubled times now, and I suspect there will always be troubled times in the future for that is how we learn and grow spiritually.

Right NOW there are two major wars going on with superpower involvement or acknowledgement, and there are a number of devastating genocidal conflicts that count deaths and starvation in the hundreds of thousands and there are numerous threats of nuclear escalation coming from the threatening arrogance of nations striving for power.

We’ve got rampant economic greed in the markets and businesses of the world and individual fears of not getting what we want or getting what we don’t want.

We’ve got religious hatred of another’s method of belief to the same one and only God. It boggles the mind at the inhumanity and insensitivity of radical dogma.

Like most of us, I look at the news of the world. I read the Internet blogs and the magazine articles for reportorial depth and understanding and then I remember what is really important in life, all of life.


Without it we are blind wanderers through our complex and convoluted choices. Simplicity is the benevolent awareness of inner spiritual knowing of what is right and it is also the Rosetta stone of intellectual understanding if we extrapolate it away from the constricting dogma of belief.

The simplicity of unconditional love is inevitable, only the time it takes us to accomplish it is optional.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Supreme Court

I have a suggestion for Mr. Obama in his selection of a person to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court.

Right now they are all lawyers on the court. True, you have to have some knowledge of the court and the system and that's something one can learn. Justice does not always fit what we think is the clarity of the law. Sometimes justice requires nothing more than common sense, and common courtesy and the experience of ethical living and the awe of life.

It is surprising to know that our founding fathers did not require a law degree or admission to the bar in order to be a Supreme Court Justice. Therefore I suggest President Obama nominate and Congress approve an artist, a poet, a composer, someone who embraces the arts with as much passion and practice as lawyers embrace the law.

We need someone whose life has emphasized and exemplified grace and artistic appreciation. Someone who sees dignity and refinement as the natural condition of the human spirit and is willing to seek and see it in others and then be it personally in the public arena.

I am not suggesting that the current justices do not acknowledge personal refinement or practice ethical living or have a cultured demeanor. I would expect nothing less from them.

I do think it is time for a perspective balance on the court other than a litany of conservative leanings or a plethora of liberal opinions.

It is time for a heart centrist on the court.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kent State

May 4th. It is a sad day in American history. It is a distasteful memory and inimical to the liberty for which we stand. However, there are profound lessons in the remembering.

1970 Kent State, a college in Ohio. It was a time of great tension and confrontation in this country over our involvement in Vietnam. It was a moment of regrettable action in our history. Four young lives were lost when Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of anti-war protesters.

Dissent, through the right of assembly, is a guaranteed freedom of our constitution, but on that day frazzled nerves and ambient fear prevailed and tragic mistakes happened.

Democracy, for those who practice it and for those who seek it, can sometimes be painful in its quest for fulfillment.

Russia knows it.
Lithuania knows it.
Poland knows it.
Hungary knows it.
The students of China’s Tienanmen Square know it and Kent State knows it.

Perhaps a proof that the four students did not die in vain is the fact that America remembers a terrible event in the continuing expression of freedom and a demand that it never happen again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tree People

Friday again!


Tree People
© 2009 Rolland G. Smith

I found some people in a tree
But then I knew that they were me.
They are my son’s twin daughter’s planned
And I the one with children grand.

I think that trees like kids to climb
And poets then to find the rhyme
To tell the story of assent
Into the tree when knees are bent.

Once up upon the limbs of bark
Lets me below make this remark,
“Be careful kids you’re high enough
Go no higher for then it’s rough

For elder me and you so young
To get you out of high branch rung.”
My worry was forever naught
And my concern thus overwrought.

The kids so nimble as they are
Did swing to ground that was not far.
And I as “Pop” did look away
As the kids went off to play.

I’m thinking of a saw I know
To cut the limb that’s way below.
And if they ask, “why did you cut?”
“Your Grannie's threat to kick my butt.”

Free Blog CounterEnglish German Translation