Seeking diversion

The sense of this ditty is just to amuse you
Providing distraction, albeit quite brief;
Pretense to instruction would only abuse you,
Command your attention, abscond like a thief.

Bombastic!  Cantakerous! Trumping, galumping
Explosion in ecstasy, fallen to hell;
Salcious, moist body parts, elephants humping,
Revulsion and passion have served us all well.

Still with me, I see? so I must be succeeding
(At least you have not yet turned on the TV.)
Now dare I leave off what’s tlll now kept you reading,
Endeavoring slyly to —— set you free?

To look with astonishment on mere existence
Cannot be a grace that’s evoked by a poem;
’Tis you must endeavor to banish the distance
That separates you from your primeval home.

Something has beaten us down and prevented
Our touching around us what’s present and real;
It sings to us, rainbow-hewed, subtly scented,
Adrift in our heads, we’re unable to feel.

Stop reading!  I mean it. Turn off your computer,
Tune in to the raw state of being in time;
Put down this device, or abandon this book,
Don’t wait for the poet to leave off his rhyme.

Could it be you’re still waiting for me to stop writing?
Well, then, I will

Image result for lightning

Erich Fromm

If the individual realizes his self by spontaneous activity and thus relates himself to the world, he ceases to be an isolated atom; he and the world become part of one structuralized whole; he has his rightful place, and thereby his doubt concerning himself and the meaning of life disappears. This doubt sprang from his separateness and from the thwarting of life; when he can live, neither compulsively nor automatically but spontaneously, the doubt disappears. He is aware of himself as an active and creative individual and recognizes that there is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself.

— Erich Fromm was born this day in 1900.  In the wake of Freud, who sought to legitimize a science of the mind, Fromm sought to infuse compassion and joy (no pun intended) into psychotherapy.

Man is the only animal that can be bored, the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem.


[Margaret: ] “I have lied—my sin is sinned. I have now to put it behind me, and be truthful for evermore, if I can.”

[Mr. Bell: ] “Very well. If you like to be uncomfortable and morbid, be so. I always keep my conscience as tight shut up as a jack-in-a-box, for when it jumps into existence it surprises me by its size. So I coax it down again, as the fisherman coaxed the genie. “Wonderful,” say I, “to think that you have been concealed so long, and in so small a compass, that I really did not know of your existence. Pray, sir, instead of growing larger and larger every instant, and bewildering me with your misty outlines, would you once more compress yourself into your former dimensions?” And when I’ve got him down, don’t I clap the seal on the vase, and take good care how I open it again, and how I go against Solomon, wisest of men, who confined him there.”

But it was no smiling matter to Margaret. She hardly attended to what Mr. Bell was saying.

— Elizabeth Gaskell, from North and South


Because I was content with these poor fields,
Low, open meads, slender and sluggish streams,
And found a home in haunts which others scorned,
The partial wood-gods overpaid my love,
And granted me the freedom of their state,
And in their secret senate have prevailed
With the dear, dangerous lords that rule our life,
Made moon and planets parties to their bond,
And through my rock-like, solitary wont
Shot million rays of thought and tenderness.
For me, in showers, in sweeping showers, the Spring
Visits the valley;—break away the clouds,—
I bathe in the morn’s soft and silvered air,
And loiter willing by yon loitering stream.
Sparrows far off, and nearer, April’s bird,
Blue-coated,—flying before from tree to tree,
Courageous sing a delicate overture
To lead the tardy concert of the year.
Onward and nearer rides the sun of May;
And wide around, the marriage of the plants
Is sweetly solemnized. Then flows amain
The surge of summer’s beauty; dell and crag,
Hollow and lake, hillside and pine arcade,
Are touched with genius. Yonder ragged cliff
Has thousand faces in a thousand hours.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Image result for breaking clouds forest spring

Go thou to thy learned task,
I stay with flow’rs of Spring:
Do thou of the Ages ask
What me the Hours will bring.


A modest proposal

I just received a survey in the mail from the Democratic National Committee asking about my priorities.  There were about a hundred check boxes, but not one related to peace.  (But several asked if I wanted to raise our military profile or “stand up to Putin”.)

Here’s my proposal.  At present, the US military budget is more than 1/3 of the world’s total, more than the next ten countries combined.  That doesn’t include the black budget, hidden from Congress and from the American people, which according to this Michigan State Univ study is three times larger than the official accounting on which the chart below is based.


Effective immediately, I propose that We the People demand our legislators take action to end the black budget and limit the official budget to the sum of Russia + China together.  This comes to an 80% reduction.  Starting tomorrow, we spend only 1/5 as much on guns and bombs.

We should then announce that we will limit our future military spending in the same manner, never to exceed the next two rivals combined, so that as other countries reduce their military, the US will follow them in disarmament.

*Saudi Arabia is a special case.  Historically, they have been the largest supplier of crude oil to the US, and in order to avoid a huge balance of payments imbalance the House of Saud royal family has purchased far more American hi-tech weapons than any other country.

Morning Offering

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

ALl that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where i shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

— John O’Donohue