the Garden of the Prophet

Pity the nation that is full of beliefs and empty of religion. 
Pity the nation that wears a cloth it does not weave 
and eats a bread it does not harvest. 

Pity the nation that acclaims the bully as hero, 
and that deems the glittering conqueror bountiful. 

Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream, 
yet submits in its awakening. 
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Pity the nation that raises not its voice 
save when it walks in a funeral, 
boasts not except among its ruins, 
and will rebel not save when its neck is laid 
between the sword and the block. 

Pity the nation whose statesman is a fox, 
whose philosopher is a juggler, 
and whose art is the art of patching and mimicking 

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, 
and farewells him with hooting, 
only to welcome another with trumpeting again. 

Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years 
and whose strongmen are yet in the cradle. 

Pity the nation divided into fragments, 
each fragment deeming itself a nation.

Gibran, the Garden of the Prophet

the Mountain by Frost

THE MOUNTAIN held the town as in a shadow
I saw so much before I slept there once:
I noticed that I missed stars in the west,
Where its black body cut into the sky.
Near me it seemed: I felt it like a wall
Behind which I was sheltered from a wind.
And yet between the town and it I found,
When I walked forth at dawn to see new things,
Were fields, a river, and beyond, more fields.
The river at the time was fallen away,
And made a widespread brawl on cobble-stones;
But the signs showed what it had done in spring;
Good grass-land gullied out, and in the grass
Ridges of sand, and driftwood stripped of bark.
I crossed the river and swung round the mountain.
And there I met a man who moved so slow
With white-faced oxen in a heavy cart,
It seemed no hand to stop him altogether.

“What town is this?” I asked.

“This? Lunenburg.”

Then I was wrong: the town of my sojourn,
Beyond the bridge, was not that of the mountain,
But only felt at night its shadowy presence.
“Where is your village? Very far from here?”

“There is no village—only scattered farms.
We were but sixty voters last election.
We can’t in nature grow to many more:
That thing takes all the room!” He moved his goad.
The mountain stood there to be pointed at.
Pasture ran up the side a little way,
And then there was a wall of trees with trunks:
After that only tops of trees, and cliffs
Imperfectly concealed among the leaves.
A dry ravine emerged from under boughs
Into the pasture.

“That looks like a path.
Is that the way to reach the top from here?—
Not for this morning, but some other time:
I must be getting back to breakfast now.”

“I don’t advise your trying from this side.
There is no proper path, but those that have
Been up, I understand, have climbed from Ladd’s.
That’s five miles back. You can’t mistake the place:
They logged it there last winter some way up.
I’d take you, but I’m bound the other way.”

“You’ve never climbed it?”

“I’ve been on the sides
Deer-hunting and trout-fishing. There’s a brook
That starts up on it somewhere—I’ve heard say
Right on the top, tip-top—a curious thing.
But what would interest you about the brook,
It’s always cold in summer, warm in winter.
One of the great sights going is to see
It steam in winter like an ox’s breath,
Until the bushes all along its banks
Are inch-deep with the frosty spines and bristles—
You know the kind. Then let the sun shine on it!”

“There ought to be a view around the world
From such a mountain—if it isn’t wooded
Clear to the top.” I saw through leafy screens
Great granite terraces in sun and shadow,
Shelves one could rest a knee on getting up—
With depths behind him sheer a hundred feet;
Or turn and sit on and look out and down,
With little ferns in crevices at his elbow.

“As to that I can’t say. But there’s the spring,
Right on the summit, almost like a fountain.
That ought to be worth seeing.”

“If it’s there.
You never saw it?”

“I guess there’s no doubt
About its being there. I never saw it.
It may not be right on the very top:
It wouldn’t have to be a long way down
To have some head of water from above,
And a good distance down might not be noticed
By anyone who’d come a long way up.
One time I asked a fellow climbing it
To look and tell me later how it was.”

“What did he say?”

“He said there was a lake
Somewhere in Ireland on a mountain top.”

“But a lake’s different. What about the spring?”

“He never got up high enough to see.
That’s why I don’t advise your trying this side.
He tried this side. I’ve always meant to go
And look myself, but you know how it is:
It doesn’t seem so much to climb a mountain
You’ve worked around the foot of all your life.
What would I do? Go in my overalls,
With a big stick, the same as when the cows
Haven’t come down to the bars at milking time?
Or with a shotgun for a stray black bear?
’Twouldn’t seem real to climb for climbing it.”

“I shouldn’t climb it if I didn’t want to—
Not for the sake of climbing. What’s its name?”

“We call it Hor: I don’t know if that’s right.”

“Can one walk around it? Would it be too far?”

“You can drive round and keep in Lunenburg,
But it’s as much as ever you can do,
The boundary lines keep in so close to it.
Hor is the township, and the township’s Hor—
And a few houses sprinkled round the foot,
Like boulders broken off the upper cliff,
Rolled out a little farther than the rest.”

“Warm in December, cold in June, you say?”

“I don’t suppose the water’s changed at all.
You and I know enough to know it’s warm
Compared with cold, and cold compared with warm.
But all the fun’s in how you say a thing.”

“You’ve lived here all your life?”

“Ever since Hor
Was no bigger than a——” What, I did not hear.
He drew the oxen toward him with light touches
Of his slim goad on nose and offside flank,
Gave them their marching orders and was moving.

the Written Gun

Nothing more colorful than, a gray flannel day.

Blistering winds with more shine than a lucky penny.

A spring Nor’easter.

A gathering of the personal army.

Crossing drawn lines in soiled, slush.

Gathering all visionary perseverance into a tight bun.

The loose ends of the earth our mine to own…

Under the written gun.

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Wanderers and Prophets

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We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.

Kahlil Gibran

 

Cajoling Innocence

I maintain that there is a desperate social need for the creative behavior of creative individuals…

In a time when knowledge, constructive and destructive, is advancing by the most incredible leaps and bounds into a fantastic atomic age, genuinely creative adaptation seems to represent the only possibility that we can keep abreast of the kaleidoscopic change in this world….

Unless we can make new and original adaptations to our environment as rapidly as our science can change the environment, our culture will perish…

Not only the individual and group tensions but international annihilation will be the price we pay for lack of creativity.

Carl Rogers, Humanist, 1973

Cajoling Ignorance

The good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. The age of perpetual need lay at our feet.  The good earth, in retreat.

My looks have hardened over time.  But not so much that I still cannot see we are killing the forests…for a tree.

As snow melts away toward another day.

It is hard cajoling…ignorance out of the way.

So much more than, poetry that litters the land.

Repercussions that will out live ‘what we have come to understand.’

An elder once disposed upon me.  An ominous premonition:

“I will not live long enough to witness climatic chaos.  And, I am very thankful for that.”

Reflecting back to that cynical conceit.  From a man…with affect so flat.

Just one thought…

‘It is often bumbling errors that turn into trashy fact.’