Why Poetry

Some thoughts on poetry.

April is National Poetry Month. Poetry is my avocation, better yet, my passion.

You might rightfully ask what inspires a broadcast journalist to dwell in a poetic world. The quick answer is a balance to the daily tragedy of life. The long answer involves acknowledging the heart, spirit, and nature and the peace that comes from that awareness.

Each broadcast day contains many of the sorrowful and tragic stories of life. Emphasis is placed on information that separates our unique, yet interconnected, human nature into undesirable parts. We labeled them as hate, prejudice, violence, intolerance, and greed.

Poetry, whether its rap or metered verse, quatrains or sonnets, laughs and cries, clarifies and condemns and brings the intellectual and emotional senses into a radiating body of meaningful words. Poetry holds, sometimes forever, an emotion long past, a desire forgotten, a wish remembered or a splendor that’s vanished in the illusion of time. It is also a minute connection to the elegance of verbal choice; to the beauty of form and to the emotion of words put fitly together on the palate of the mind. Poetry is both raw and sophisticated art available to the reader and listener as a subjective creation similar to the appreciation found in images created in oil or marble.

Ghosts of Greatness

I had an extraordinary experience a few years ago. I was on Ellis island in New York harbor. If you haven’t been there, you should. It is a place that is energized with the resonant memory of the past.
It’s an exhilarating experience standing in what is now the Ellis Island museum. I felt the courageous spirits of our immigrant ancestors and a profound respect for their courage to embrace change. So many moved step by step through the great hall on their way to freedom.

Amid the din of other people and soft conversation. I walked the path and steps that 18-million immigrants followed. I felt their hearts as I sensed their pride at what they personally accomplished, and at what this country has become because of them and what we still can be.

These ghosts of greatness linger there, not because they came through that portal of liberty so many years ago, but because they stay to stand watch. Their presence is everywhere, in old photographs, in hundred year old scribbled messages to loved ones on a passage wall, and in the descendants, who visit here and keep it hallowed ground. Ellis island reminds us that it does not matter how or where or when potential greatness comes to this land, it only matters what one does with the manifesting dreams of freedom, opportunity and responsibility.

Fear

Some thoughts on fright.

I suppose everybody is frightened by something sometime. We have all sorts of phobias documented by science that give legitimacy to our fears. Acrophobia, thristadeckaphobia, hydrophobia and so on. Phobia is a Greek word meaning fear.

After 9/11 and rightfully so many of us developed terrorphobia. We are worried that some misfits who have no concept of the real world will again kill indiscriminately in order to effect fear and punishment.

In many ways these terrorists are a lot like the road rage guys. It’s their way or no way. The road “rager” will dart dangerously in and out of traffic creating fear and anger and counter rage.

This is where we have to be careful. If we let our counter rage, our anger, or the fear encouraged by government comment or actions to control our common sense then we give up our franchise of choice and many of the freedoms that come with that franchise.

President Roosevelt was right when he said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. I think we’ve forgotten it lately.

Global Warming

Some thoughts on troubling reports of Global Warming.

Despite the fact that some individual and organizations are trying to convince us otherwise, there is scientific evidence that shows human influence has contributed substantially to global warming and that the earth will get a lot hotter than previously predicted. Wine growers in Spain are worried. Islanders in the South Pacific are worried. We ought to be worried.

What global warming means for our children’s children is beyond devastating. Possibly the melting of the polar ice caps thereby raising the oceans levels, flooding low lying areas like Florida, Holland and much of the world’s coast lines. Very troubling possibilities. Crop failures, dust bowls, species extinction. Look at the latest UN website, http://www.un.org/works, it’s a good website and filled with global warming reports and other environmental information for serious consideration.

Nearly forty years ago satellite and space technologies gave us a view of our planet never before seen by humankind. We saw a shimmering globe from deep in space without borders, without boundaries, without fences and walls. We began to see a whole living system, with all life interrelated and interdependent. We saw the effect of choice becoming the affect of life.

What can we do?

No longer can the individual look only to the corporate polluter and say, there is the source of our pain. It’s part of it, but until we, as individuals, no longer tolerate pollution and pollutants in ourselves and in our work environments, and let our voices be heard in a clarion call to stop, we will continue to befoul our nest for future generations.

We forget, we are the nature we abuse and if we don’t protect our environment, extinction will.