Violence Begets…

Some how, we adults, as teachers, parents, neighbors, and even strangers, need to increase our vigilance for the signs of juvenile aberrant behavior, and to speak up when we see it. More importantly, we need to be ever cognizant of the reality that we are the prime examples for our children. We set societies criteria through our acts of kindness and through our acts of violence.

We especially need to teach our young that violence, in all its forms: attack, anger, greed, or jealously, is not the adjudicator of conflict as the fantasy of cartoons and movie fiction suggest. It is the creator of conflict. It is we, as individuals, as families, as communities who must lay down the weapons of fear, that our children emulate, and take up the powerful effective swords of principle, truth, tolerance, and compassion.

The youth of today seek not only a personal and generational identity, as all young do, but deep within them, as in all, they quest for the elixir of transcendence, a feeling of creative grace that precipitates into the peace of accomplishment. The delusionary addictive adrenaline of violence can not give anyone peace, it can only give emptiness in the spirit of being.

About Poetry…It’s OK to read. It won’t hurt!


Since today is President John F. Kennedy’s birthday, I am reminded of what he said about poetry at the dedication of the Robert Frost Library.

“When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitation. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.”

I would add to that…
Poetry precipitates emotion into words.

Poetry embraces the perceived pain of life and breaks it down into soft images of understanding and it takes the joy of life and transcends it into a sustaining ecstasy of imagination.

It amplifies the tiny specks of grace from the minutia of things beautiful and allows us to be it, if only for the moment of appreciation.

Poetry clarifies and sometimes condemns. It magnifies the inner magic of feelings and encourages the soul to rejoice in the shared awareness of another’s insight and makes it our own.

Poetry laughs and cries and brings the sensual into an undulating body of words and it holds sometimes forever, an emotion long past, a desire forgotten, a wish remembered or a splendor that’s vanished in the illusion of time.

Poetry is a link to the Divine within each of us and to the demons of our imagination. It allows introspection without pity and effacement without fear of obscurity.

It is intellect and spirit wedded in the sacredness of creation. I believe it is agape love at the purest verbal level.

Contention

Look at the reality television shows today masquerading as redeeming entertainment. Watch the violent talk shows, listen to the argumentative broadcast pundits. Read the headlines, look at the covers of the national news magazines. Most of what we see and read is based on contention, conflict, and conquest.

Perhaps we have become a society of contentious citizens, of non-compromising ideologues; a land of absolutists. If so, we might want to rethink our stand, for cemented thought always hardens into a shape that may not fit the future.

Our founding fathers demonstrated that noble ideals and practical principles are to be incorporated into the rule of law with compromise and even compassion and valued for their contribution to the whole even though their singular intrinsic value may be less than desired.

Shared ideals are the essence of collective growth, for they are not only the building blocks of freedom, they nurture hopes and wishes and encourage individuals to let go of demeaning selfish evaluations and dangerously passionate certainties. When that is done the two things left are reason and common sense and with them comes the understanding that grace and elegance are the only ingredients that can raise us individually and collectively to the realm of greatness. I suspect the choice is easier that we think, we just have to remember that it is.

JFK


The tributes will probably be few on Thursday. It is John F. Kennedy’s birthday. It is the day that the Kennedy family would prefer people remember the slain president, but most remember November 22nd, the day he was assassinated in Dallas. The family understands the need and desire of many to honor the fallen president, but they prefer the memory of JFK be focused on the day of his birth, May 29th.

That may take a long time, for there are so many of us alive today who remember that November day nearly 45 years ago. Only when the generation is gone to whom the torch was passed, might the the memory move from his death to his birth.

We honor Lincoln on his birthday and not the day he died.

Very few remember that assassinated President James Garfield died on September 19th.

William McKinley’s assassination date is now generally forgotten. He died on a September 14th.

It takes time to bury pain and change an ache to honor. It takes time to have tragic memory stand without sorrow. The Kennedy family has learned, through many tears, that once you acknowledge the death, you must let it go and remember the life.