Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Generate, Meager, Tease

Three words: I suppose they might do
For one meager limerick or two.
I'll tease them and weight them
Then de-generate them
And use them again for Haiku.

Why must you tease me!
Can I generate a poem
From such meager words?

Three Word Wednesday Prompt

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Occur, Tidy, Ragged

It occurred to me suddenly this week
That in trying to be tidy and meek
I have worked myself ragged
My edges are jagged
and my writing is somber and bleak.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Poetic vs Pragmatic

"Fear not for the future Weep not for the past"

It sounds so exciting...but how can it last?
A flaming, a laughing, a life for the present,
And why should you think about all that's unpleasant?
Why have a regret?
Why care about duty?
Just live like a butterfly--savor the beauty!

So history happens again and again
And man never learns from the places he's been.
Compassion and caution are lost in the laughter
And nobody grows up. . . or cares what comes after.

But mankind is learning, and much to their sorrow....
to weep for the past,
or tremble tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Legal--but not Ethical

My seniors study a bit of philosophy, and we just finished a unit on 'ethics'. One of my students from Indonesia, who aspires to be an honest politician, has latched onto this phrase and uses it in odd moments--at the concession stand, for instance, when someone wants to sell the leftover,overcooked and bursting cheese sticks with the advertisement: "Cheese bursts--an explosion of flavor!"
"Legal, but not ethical", he cautions, happy to have caught me at my own game.

It isn't quite true that we cannot legislate morality; otherwise why would there be laws at all. not driving under the influence, buying someone's goods and services instead of stealing them, nurturing children instead of stringing them up by their thumbs or chaining them in the basement, not slandering your neighbor in court: these are moral behaviors and we legislate them all the time. We prevent anarchy by controlling what people do.

But there is a morality we cannot legislate; it is the morality of the heart: The "ought" in "What ought you to do?" It mimics the character of God and flies contrarily in the face of what is easiest, and what may seem beneficial at the time. Ethics is about others, and our desire to give them the same consideration we want for ourselves. It is about not taking advantage of someone's subservient position, innocence, or ignorance in order to advance our own pleasure at their expense.

Ethics holds true even when the law goes contrary to conscience.

My son has an elderly Russian friend who grew up in Communist Russia. He asked her why her uncles had been arrested and she said: "You ask the wrong question. The question should be "What year were they arrested?" The law had clearly become it often does.

Ethics is about what is right. That doesn't always square with what the current law demands.

Germany had a holocaust and murdered over six million Jews: Legal--but not ethical
For years, slaves from Africa were sold around the world: Legal--but not ethical
Many native Americans were driven from their lands because of broken treaties: Legal--but not ethical.
In some countries today women have no basic rights: Legal--but not ethical.
In others, unwanted children are murdered before birth so they "won't be abused" afterward: Legal--but not ethical.

And while I respect the laws of the land, there is a law within me that I have to live with--a higher standard. If I don't, I will have to answer for it, and a poor defense will be: "but it was legal"

Our Sunday Scribblings Prompt was: Ethics/Ethical

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Prayer for My Last Days

Should misty years keep clouding all my thoughts and leave me in a fog, not even lucid,
if there be anything to salvage in my mutterings and mumblings,
let it, at least, be humble, righteous ranting, revealing the journey of my heart toward You!

Our Three Word Wednesday Prompt was: Lucid, Salvage, Righteous

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Secret Message

Here is a misunderstood message from parents to children:

I asked you to quit hanging out with that kind of group.
Learn to drive sensibly; avoid dangerous road conditions.
Don't prize fame over integrity or success over honor.

The red letters spell one message;
the purple quite another. It's all in how you read it.

Our Sunday Scribblings Prompt was "message"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lurch, Frantic, Odor

She lurched through the mall in a panic.
Her eyes scanned the shelves; they were frantic.
What odor? What scent?
Would appeal to the gent'
And reward aspirations romantic?
Three Word Wednesday

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

He clutched a ticket in one tiny fist, and with the other held tightly to the skirt of the tall, blond, beauty who strode swiftly forward. Circus tents ahead were woven tapestries of brilliant color—gold, crimson, cobalt. They pulsed with the rhythm of blaring music, which slid through the chain-link fence and swirled around his naked feet--a lively music which made him want to dance; it sang of great and curious sights. There was chatter and patter and bustle and laughter, so he hurried to keep up with the woman as she approached the ticket gate.

Suddenly, they were caught by the crowd, pressed and funneled into an orderly queue. A few children held tightly to the hands of patient, red-faced fathers, who pulled them forward into line and eased their steps through the turnstile. Others were carried by loudly-sighing mothers whose grins belied complaints and whose eyes reflected the enthusiasm of their little sons and daughters; this was a long-awaited day. Smiles were radiant, and everyone breathed deeply at the welcome scent of caramel corn and cotton candy.

“Ticket please,” came the voice of a superbly polished gentleman in a top hat, and he favored the lovely lady with a well-worn, yet skillful smile.
She handed hers over as the little boy, copying her movements, held his own fist high.
“Two then, Ma’am?” asked the ticket man.
“Well, actually, no. I’m coming in alone.” She brushed the fist from her long silk skirt, and the child fell back—his eyes wide open and confused.
“He can’t come in alone, Ma’am, although --who gave him the ticket?”
“Well, I gave him the ticket…but that was all a mistake. I can’t very well have him following me about in this busy confusion, can I? It would be dreadfully wearying, so very tiring for one so small; it wouldn't be fair to him, I'm sure.”
She painted her words with an oddly desperate cheerfulness.
“Very well, then,” said the top hat, “I’ll just—and he pulled out a pair of decorated shears….”

The child fell back, a look of frozen hunger on his face, as tiny bits of ticket fell and littered the ground around him.

Far ahead, disappearing swiftly into the crowd, the tall beauty bought herself a pink bouquet of cotton candy and consoled herself by watching the man on the flying trapeze.

Our "Carry on Tuesday" prompt was: "Life is a ticket to the greatest show on Earth."