I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to post this here, but I wound up getting a bit of a challenge from an online buddy about my poetry – having to do with claiming to be “The Skald,” an Icelandic warrior poet. This photo essay and poem don’t really use any kennings or skaldic poetic techniques, but it is at least a poem
In terms of “creative writing” I’ve not written anything at this new Skalduggery yet, and a combination photo essay/poem seemed just the ticket to get started! I’d like to write something easy, but not so straightforward, something simple, but not uncomplicated – just something that has at least a little meaning. Try not to take this in the traditional “confessional” vein, but rather a blend of fact and fiction that describes a time with my grandson.
It would be easy for a person to say that I am afflicted with a serious anti-authority complex…. Well, screw them; it’s great to be right. The real problem is how difficult, painful, and downright mystifying I find human relationships. Mostly, I pretty much suck at relationships and have fought with, argued with, or disappointed virtually everyone I know and most everyone who tried to be my friend… and yet, I still have a few friends.
It is not difficult for me to think that I am a failed son, brother, husband and father, a mediocre sailor, poet, writer, and artist, etc. ad nauseam…. Well, screw me; get over it. I take the advice I’ve given my children; “keep on breathing and keep on trying, just keep breathing in and out.” The real difference here is that my children are succeeding – they are the blooms in this desert around me.
I can also imagine myself at the Benedictine Nursing Center, warehoused, waiting to die and desperately trying to wring some meaning from what has passed for my life. I worked at the nursing center for a short time on the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Unit while my grandmother was a resident of the facility. It became unbearably easy to weep for myself, for those I cared about, and those I was caring for – to weep for that THING we all have somehow lost forever and cannot hope to find.
Before one thinks this is some pessimistic exercise in futility, or a wallowing in self-pity, remember what I’ve told my children – “you are still alive, breathe in and out, be that courageous person that continues to breathe.” Even though depression, anguish, or despair may influence everything around you, EVERYTHING else is still out there – all of those small and good things. To me, this sentiment reflects my geography because this is so much like the Pacific Northwest! “OF COURSE it’s cloudy, but OOOHHH, look how the sun filters through the clouds and trees!” So then, I’ll breathe in and out and do my best because I’ll be in the ground soon enough.
Why the long schpeel? Because I don’t make real friends easily, and that history is important for my little poem about my grandson!
Things a Little Boy Can’t Say
The ocean splashed and crashed
His little voice away, and I,
Just feet away,
Boomed my voice’s harsh sound that bound
His little body to the spot almost daring him not
To move toward the edge of Fogarty Creek.
His eyes, yearned to yearn –
His thoughts sought to seek an explanation
For wanting to want so desperately
To get his feet wet in that cascade of wild water…
And in he stepped,
Through my warning, and
Straight into my anger –
Soaking his shoes wet with it.
His eyes yearned, then teemed with tears,
His thoughts sought and failed to find an explanation
For his body’s unthinkable betrayal of desiring
To desire to sneak
Those sneakers wet.
My anger dissipated on the drive home –
The shoes were none the worse for wear –
And after dinner, while playing with his Legos, he said,
“Will you play with me?”
This was not forgiveness.
This had nothing to do with a young boy’s utter inability
To say what he most needed
This was not adult explanation time.
Explaining something to a boy that needed no explanations
About my unjustified anger.
You see, there ARE things a little boy can’t say –
But not for want of trying.
There are things an old man CAN say, but
Ought to try not to…
So he will hear a simple offer of friendship.
“Will you play with me?”
“Aiden, there is nothing I’d rather do.”
Though he didn’t understand my watery eyes,
I’m pretty certain he understood my answer to his question,
“Because it is great to be breathing!
What a wonderful thing it is to be
breathing and alive today with you!”
I can’t wait, I’m leaving soon to visit one of my daughters – I’m going to be a grandfather… again Had to throw that out there – and now that it is out there, I’ve another short tidbit before work instead of a nice focused post. The American Spectator had an article in their September issue that takes aim at our notions of freedom. The title of the article, What’s Your Metric, works on a variety of levels. First it really does get a person to thinking about his method of gauging his current liberty. Second, I’d bet it reveals that many of our personal measures of freedom are woefully inadequate. Like Tom over at Responsibility, the article likes to ask questions. Tom asks a series of questions to provoke thought, and Daniel Oliver opens his article with questions:
HOW DO YOU WATCH FREEDOM? How do you watch it grow? How do you watch it shrink? What’s the metric? What’s your metric? What do you think the metrics of your fellow citizens are? If you have no idea what their metric is, how do you talk to them about freedom with any sense of urgency?
Just those questions make serious thought a necessity if we are to intelligibly discuss our notions of freedom. Some of the metrics mentioned are interesting and raise questions of their own. Milton Friedman’s metric for example, “was the percentage of GDP spent by government.” Naturally it was inversely proportional Another measure offered was by either counting or weighing “the Federal Register or the Code of Federal Regulations.” Oliver then offers that “A better measure is the COST of regulations” (emphasis mine). He then gives us a standard definition to work with:
Freedom House defines freedom as “the opportunity to act spontaneously in a variety of fields outside the control of the government and other centers of potential domination.” Quick: name a field that is outside the control of government?
There’s the rub. It shouldn’t be that hard. I’d encourage you to run over to The American Spectator and read the article – it’s a short and sweet little missive, and well worth the read to get finally to:
Are those imperfect measures? Perhaps. But then, what’s your metric?
I’m off to work.
Setting up for a personal trip and have very little time to myself – so I figure I’ll link in some interesting bits and pieces! Here’s the first from “Responsibility…”
3. If Healthcare is the most important issue to the U.S. Economy, (“To say it as plainly as I can, health care reform is the single most important thing we can do for America’s long-term fiscal health. That is a fact.”), why did it only get $18 Billion of the Stimulus Funds? That is less than 2.5% of the total. Temporary increases in Food Stamp programs got over $19 Billion. So, I guess Food Stamps are more important than Healthcare.
Tom’s post raises several questions worth having answers to… Next, from Atlantic Ave., a blog worth visiting often enough to keep up with both great “news” commentary and just how nifty it is to live in New Hampshire. Here’s something a little newsy:
No message is too banal for our talking head of state.
CBS Political Hotsheet: Obama: Sneeze Into Your Sleeve, Not Your Hands
I didn’t read the comments section, but I imagine it quickly devolved into a firefight between the Sleevists and the anti-Sleevists.
libertee23: “How dare the President tell me where to sneeze. I have the right to sneeze wherever I want!”
moveonnow: “You are a domestic terrorist. You obviously want to kill poor people. I bet when Bush told you to sneeze into your sleeve, you couldn’t sneeze fast enough!”
Our president sure is keeping us busy. He likes to talk, even when he’s not saying anything.
and of course, this gem from the same post:
In America, we don’t teach our children to follow the leader. It’s not a top down system.
Those are Thursday’s Tidbits before work… It’s my Monday, so I hope everybody is having a great week!