Thanksgiving Thought: A Poem by Sheenagh Pugh

 
 
 
 Sometimes
 by Sheenagh Pugh
  
 Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
 from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
 faces down frost, green thrives, the crops don’t fail,
 sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
  
 A people sometimes will step back from war;
 elect an honest man; decide they care 
 enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
 Some men become what they were born for.
  
 Sometimes our best efforts do not go
 amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
 The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
 that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
   

2020 – A SILENT GENERATION LAMENT

The cohort of Americans born between 1928 and 1945 has been called the Silent Generation. I didn’t know that I was a member of the Silent Generation until I wrote the piece below and I looked up “generation” in Wikipedia to see if I was indeed a boomer myself or, maybe, even an undeserving member of what they were calling the Greatest Generation. I found out that I am stuck in between the two. We are hardly noticed by the folks who try to generalize about the behavioral characteristics of people born in certain age cohorts.

I was late coming to the Silent Generation so my adult years were spent with talk everywhere about “boomers.” Marketing and media primarily addressed their needs and preferences. I heard so much about boomers that I subconsciously identified and, in any case, I was very nearly one myself since you could say that I was born on the cusp. But as I read more about those years between 1928 and 1945, I could see how completely my life was in the grip of that history.

What follows is very long. If you decide to read it, you will see that it is laid out like a poem. If it reads like prose to you, at least stop for a beat to think before going to the next line. Each bit of our history is loaded with plenty to think about. Yes, Truman and Eisenhower may not excite you. Ozzie and Harriet may bore you. But the kids who first learned about the world from floor model radios and small black and white screens had much to think about. And we have much to regret.

The piece is a personal project. It was completed during the 2020 election campaign and before the Biden-Harris election results were known. Although it is a hopeful sign, it doesn’t really change much. Having lived through alternating and descending stair steps down into Trump hell, I know that it will take more than a single presidential election to get us heading onward and upward again. But we must continue the struggle.

Continue reading “2020 – A SILENT GENERATION LAMENT”

There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in . . .

In 2016, Leonard Cohen died the day before the election. I played this song the day after the election and wept. Today you can listen with tears of joy. Always remember: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Pennsylvania. Thank you for your votes that put us over the top. And for preserving the Liberty Bell. There’s a little crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

Anthem by Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be
Yeah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

We asked for signs
The signs were sent
The birth betrayed
The marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
Of every government
Signs for all to see

I can’t run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places
Say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
A thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

You can add up the parts
You won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart to love will come
But like a refugee

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Leonard CohenAnthem lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

A Thought for Today from the Poetry Foundation

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/147345/apologies

Apologies

BY KARENNE WOOD

I.
The time has come for the nation to turn
a new page by righting wrongs of the past.

We apologise for laws and policies that inflicted
profound grief, suffering, and loss and for the removal
of children from families, communities, and country.

For the pain of these, their descendants, and for families
left behind, to mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters,
for indignity inflicted on a proud people, we say sorry.

We resolve that the injustices of the past must never,
never happen again and look to a future based on mutual
respect, where all, whatever their origins, are equal partners.

Spoken by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd,
introduced in January and delivered November 29, 2008,
the day after he was sworn into office

November 21, 1963

Late November in one of my happiest years:

we wrapped ourselves in the soft thrill of friendship

not knowing how rare it was and how hollow -

for lack of it - would be the days and years ahead.



Chattering with the sophistication of underclassmen

we crossed a vacant city lot grown over with weeds,
toward the road that exited the airport.

The young president and his wife had landed and would

pass here on their way to speak in Houston.


His red hair flamed

in the late afternoon Texas sunlight. 


He waved and each of us stored the memory

of an instant as the car sped by, 

the woman at his side,
 his shining hair,
the slightest wave of his hand, 

the memory – a still photograph in each of our minds.



In less than a day, he was dead;
hit by two rifle shots. His wife was returning,

spattered with his blood
to the emptiest of homes, the White House.


Another memory – but this one with the remove

of miles and overwritten with the static snow
from our 
early technology television sets.



Those same sets had been on that morning before he died

as we searched to see if there would be news of his visit.
Maybe a camera had caught us as well
and our friends would see us so close to history.
Instead, we saw four floppy-haired singers
from Britain who were planning a visit to America. 



A few hours later, there was only the news 
that the man
on whom we had hung our hopes was dead.


Friendships that we thought were the most precious
gifts 
in our lives that day,
faded with the years.


Each of us had lives to live, purpose and gifts to give. 


The floppy-haired Brits gave us the happy crutch 

we needed to weather war and loss,
and, not least,
 the death of that soft thrill of friendship
we still had heart to feel
on November 21, 1963.

A Memorial Day Meditation: Danby White

You see a lot of white marble in Washington, D. C. It has been turned into great buildings and monuments by craft workers of many skills. You see much of it at Arlington National Cemetery and other monuments in and around the national capital. Much of it came from the white marble quarry in Danby, Vermont. One notable example is the Jefferson Memorial. Here is a meditation on the marble from that quarry and its evocations for Memorial Day after a summer trip that took us to both Danby, Vermont and the Arlington National Cemetery.

Danby White

The marble rose from Danby’s depths—alive

with Earth’s fire cooling yet inside its veins.

Now, shaped and polished, carved by craftsmen skilled

in shaping life from stone, returns to shade

the graves of tender men who died before

they lived—the boys whose manhood came with loss

of breath and blood, whose lovers knew but grief

before they knew the grace of tender youth.

A full-bloom rose is carved upon the cold

flat face of polished rock that smoldered once

in fiery caves below the ground that holds

the cold remains of youth who lived and died

unloved. No fragrant flower attends with tears

their passage through these caverns into night.

                                                May 25, 2001