Let’s Get Together

Watching the peaceful transfer of power in the United States today made me thankful that all voices can be heard. If you are under forty you were not around in the turbulent times of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Viet Nam War was escalating and the nation was bitterly divided. Marches and protests were going on beyond anything we see today.

During that time, Folk Music emerged and blended into pop music as well. A group called The Youngbloods sang the song Get Together. The words speak of peace and coming together a nation.   As I saw those protesting and pushing hate for our new President,  I thought this would be a good the poem/song for the day. “Come on People, now, smile on your brother.  Yeh, Let’s get together and love one another right now…” The words say it all. The music isn’t bad either!

 

 

 

Indispensable You

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During my sophomore year in college I lived in the dorm on Third West Maplewood. It was a men’s dorm back then. One evening after classes were done a few of us were in the hallway when we saw a poem someone had posted on the bulletin board. It was listed as anonymous, but the words struck a chord with us and we began singing and making a tune to go with the words.  It was such a good word of wisdom that I remember it to this day.

Indispensable You

Sometimes when you’re feeling important

Sometimes when your ego’s way up

Sometimes when you take it for granted

That you are the prize winning pup

*

Sometimes when you feel that your absence

Would leave an unfillable hole

Just follow these simple instructions

And see how it humbles your soul

*

Take a bucket and fill it with water

Put your hand in it up to your wrist

Now pull it out fast and the hole that remains

Is the measure of how you’ll be missed

*

You may splash all you please as you enter

And stir up the water galore

But Stop and you’ll find in a minute

It is back where it was before

~Anonymous~

 

 

 

Compromise

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Compromise for some is not an option. But without compromise our government gets nothing done. When one group refuses to budge, we have what we saw in the Obama Presidency. Now we are seeing a similar resistance in relation to President Elect Trump. Members of congress refuse to attend the inauguration refusing to cooperate with this rogue president.  On the other hand we see that Hillary Clinton, who battled tooth and nail against Trump, is planning to attend is spite of her devastating loss.  I believe she has learned the importance of compromise in a Democratic Republic. The only other option is Civil War. There is no good outcome in that choice as we have already seen a hundred and fifty years ago.

Compromise

As much as we want things cut and dried

It always comes down to compromise

Right and wrong are in the pot

Stirred together in a common lot

We saw what happened in the reign of Lincoln

The South rose up to save their nation

The Union break-up was not an option

Lincoln stood firm to save this nation

Blood spilled from young and old

Tragic stories are still being told

This is the end when no compromise is found

It’s brother against brother devastation all around

One hundred fifty-six years later it’s still the same

No compromise here livid passion remains

We want it our way we won’t change our game

This attitude leads to the very same outcome

Without compromise our futures are undone

Is this what the Fathers had in mind

When in compromise they laid out their plan

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Scars on the Landscape of Man

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sad scars on the Landscape of Man. Death and destruction are occurring daily in Syria and Iraq. When I think of the travesties of war that have been done over the years, I wonder when we will ever learn. Destroying one another does nothing to help this world become a better place. The struggle of good and evil is always with us. It is our responsibility to make choices that do not leave scars on the landscape of man.

Scars in the landscape of Man

What drives us to hate and kill our brothers

Is it the power being in control of others

Being the bully ‘cause we know we can

Spreading hurt and pain throughout the land

When will we learn to live in peace

When we help each other wars will cease

Instead men are bent on revenge and aggression

Of religion and truth and major suppression

Controlling the world creating oppression

It’s time we realize there’s a better way

Loving caring and watching what we say

Realizing there’s a future in history of man

With a good life in peace lending a helping hand

Imperialistic control demands that we fight

Creating hell and destruction sending everyone in flight

Destroying the lives of many young men

Leaving scars on the landscape of man

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Photo of Hiroshima bombing disaster: http://ecosocialismcanada.blogspot.com/2011/08/hiroshima-and-nagasaki.html

Great Expectations

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In every major change we bring our preconceptions of what we hope will be the outcome. Following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr the leaders of the Civil Rights movement all had their expectations of what should occur to bring about change in the country. Almost fifty years later we are still struggling with unmet expectations.

Great Expectations

When two minds interact ideas emerge

Composites of great expectations

Combining into one they merge

Each with their personal connections

Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream…”

Rang true throughout this land

Black and white working hand in hand

Together in the life’s stream

As the sixties came and went

His message found a home

Pushing for inalienable freedoms

Thinking change was now their own

Each side with personal agendas

Not all saw things the same way

Disillusionment inevitably present

Struggle and conflict in the frey

For those with Great Expectations

Hope and Change are still the dream

But each dream is not the same

It is iron sharpening iron

Learning that with every expectation

It takes peace and co-operation

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Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Mind Time Capsule

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John Denver sang a song that said, “Some days are diamonds, some days ate stone.” This is true for all of us. Our minds are like the new Amazon recorder that records us even when it is off and supposed to be asleep. Memories can be wonderful and sometimes can be hell depending on what has transpired in our lifetime.

Mind Time Capsule

Memories are buried treasures found in a chest of time

Some are diamonds others stones all mixed together

Precious stones memories of special times

Moments of success and praises along the way

My fifteen minutes of fame flashes of glory

Stones of criticism sarcasm and hate

Hurled from small minds of low self-esteem

Names called labels imposed intending to box me in

Coming of age falling in love cut on the jagged edges

Diamonds of vows a veil and smiles all around

Rubies of children’s first entrance soft and red

Stones of words better left unsaid finding their mark

Stored away for future use as self defense

Pearls of aging parents moving on to their reward

A smile a touch a word of love

Tenderly placed in my treasure chest of time

Emeralds of stories that must be told

Pushing their way through the folds of my memory

Telling of days gone by some diamonds and some stones

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

 

The Times They are a Changing

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Some people think the country today is divided like never before, but the reality is there has always been a divide in political thinking. When I went to college back in the 1960’s there was just as much conflict as there is today.  The Civil Rights movement was changing the social fabric of the country. The Viet Nam War was moving into full swing. Protesters marched on Washington, DC in record numbers protesting the war. Everything changes over time and will continue to do so. This poem is a tribute to the changing times I grew up in a couple of generations ago.

The Time They Are a Changing

I came of age in the 1960’s innocent and naïve

It was a time of turmoil, hate, and strife

Yet I never knew I couldn’t believe

When I was in eleventh grade

The news came over the PA

President Kennedy was shot today

They said it was Oswald from some distance away

Bobby, Martin, and John all fell by the gun

Hate reigned supreme under white hooded strangers

I never knew the divisions there were

In my isolated corner of the world

With signs of injustice, bigotry, and division

Blacks only whites only I could not imagine

I had friends of both shades

Separation never entered my mind.

They were in my class every grade down the line

People were marching crying for change

Facing dogs and fire hose every step of the way

Then one day I heard something new

With sweet harmonies and Folk Music the peace marches grew

A tidal wave of change throughout the land

Words that spoke volumes and rang true against the Klan

“How many roads must a man walk down

Before you can call him a man?”

“If I had a hammer

I’d the hammer out Justice, ring the bell of freedom

And sing a song about love between my brothers and sisters

All over this land

Seeger, Dillon, Paxton and Biaz

Peter Paul and Mary were the best in my eyes

Bringing hope and change to a weary land.

Prophets Simon and Garfunkle were really grand

With sounds of silence and Homeward Bound

Bridge over Troubled Waters making their stand

Dark clouds gathered as we entered Viet Nam

Protests and marches throughout the land

As the sixties closed the marches continued

It would be a long while till the country blended

But change can happen when we love each other

Working hand in hand to help our brother

This song sums it up in a few short lines

They’ll know we are Christians by our Love by our Love

They will know we are Christians by our Love

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Album cover: web image

 

The Shack Out Back

 

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When I was young there was a country song that went… Don’t Let Them Tear That Little Brown Building Down. The outhouse was used by many  in the early twentieth century and is still by a few. Those who lived where the temperatures plummeted in the winter had a cold seat to sit on. This poem is for those of you who never knew what it was like to make that trip to the little house out back.

Outhouse

If you are as old as me

I am sure you will remember

The house outback sitting under the tree

With a door a moon and chambers

It sat on a cavity deep and wide

Inconveniently close to the house

Two holes just right cut into a bench

Sometimes a lid to hide the stench

The stink was awful that wretched smell

Taking care of necessities didn’t go very well

Through rain or snow we answered the call

Making it quick as temperatures fall

At 40 below seats were mighty cold

Melting the frost would never get old

Sears Roebuck always a handy one

Used when toilet paper would be all gone

The ancients made use of catalogues

They sure beat the old time silky corn cobbs

No trips at night were made out there

Who knows what lurks waiting to scare

At 2:00 AM the chamber pot

Was always used with care

But early in morning bright

Mom called for me to dump it

What a smell would fill the air

You never wanted to bump it

At church and school we had our own

Girls and boys had to go alone

They had holes and we had a trough

What fun we had with urine lofts

Since teachers were women

They did not come in

To see what we were doin’

Our games shot streams right up the wall

The highest arcs we’re cheerin’

Sure glad we now use them for tools

The smell is a lot more pleasing

With commode and shower a sink and flower

A soap and rag we’re squeezing

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Photo: 2nd Look Estate Auctions – Facebook page

 

Grant Park

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On Election night November 8 2008 I watched into the night as Barack Obama was the first African American to ever be elected President of the United States of America.  Following the war torn Bush years I was ready, at that time, for his message of Hope and Change. As it became clear that he had won, Obama met with his followers in Grant park in Chicago. I wrote this poem that night as I watched America gather. By his second term, I became disillusioned with the kind of hope and change that actually came about. Even so, this was a historic and significant event no matter which political side you fall on. This is how I felt at that time.

Grant Park 2008 

I saw America gathered on a cold November night

Black and white, yellow and red with all blends in between

I saw America gathered together as one people…

Children of integration, people of hope, “silver spoons,” and ghetto moms 

I saw America gathered with joy in their hearts

College Students, blue collar workers, business men, and teachers 

I saw America gathered “One Nation Under God”

People of all faiths, people of no faith, all with hope for the future 

I saw America gathered a shining light to the world

Examples of hope, oneness, unity, and love, speaking with one voice 

I saw America gathered watching History being made

Bringing down walls of race and fear that for too long held us back 

I saw America gathered fulfilling ancestral dreams

Of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King

I saw America gathered to let the whole world know

Those differences can be transcended and peace can be attained.

I saw America gathered and it made me very proud

To be part of this great country where every voice is heard

I saw America gathered and I prayed, that God

Would give our new president wisdom in the difficult path ahead 

I saw America gathered as Barack Obama spoke

With humility and pride, confidence and strength, wrapped in words of hope 

I saw America gathered eager for national change

Not black or white, rich or poor, simply Americans

…and nothing more!

11-4-08

Photo:  web image