Archive

Archive for February, 2020

A Presidents Day Poem: Currency for the Debt

February 17, 2020 Leave a comment

On Presidents’ Day my thoughts often turn to Washington and Lincoln and their birthday month. When I was a kid we celebrated both days, the 12th for Lincoln and the 22nd for Washington. Now, I guess for the sake of commerce and profit we can only take one day to observe both, or even all of the Presidents that have served us.

And yes, debt is on my mind as we careen toward a trillion dollar deficit! But there is so much more we owe than dollars! One of my most esteemed teachers, Martín Prechtel, often spoke of the Mayan philosophy that we are all born into debt and can never really get out of debt. This is my theme for the day.

Currency for the Debt

We are born into debt; we die in debt.
We stand on the bones of the ancestors
Gazing outward and we wonder:
What is the currency to pay this debt?

Our freedom is bought by the lives of those who defend us.
Our land is bought with the blood of those who have gone before.
Our blessings are bought with the hard labor of slaves.
What is the currency for our security?

The metal we have is leached from our ancestors’ bones.
The blood we have was shed by the soldiers and slaves we lost.
The freedom we have was saved by those who sacrificed all.
And security: Do we pay this debt with our freedom?

Democracy is demanding our attention to this debt.
Presidents have paid dearly to pave this costly way.
And yet, we wonder: would we throw it all over
For the surety of one more breath, one more bite?

 

 

 

©2020, Richard W. Bredeson, all rights reserved.

A Friday Poem for the US, with Love: “Get Out the Vote”

February 14, 2020 Leave a comment

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love is in the air. And you may wonder where the love is when you read my poem today.

One of my heroes is Robert Bly. I’ve had the privilege of studying “at his feet” – yes, literally. And I read and reread his poems often. One of my favorite refrains he has written is “It’s already too late!” This is from his second collection of ghazals: “My Sentence was a Thousand Years of Joy” and the poem titled “Listening to Shahram Nazeri.” So, the other day as I was listening to the news, a commentator said something like: “how far is too far?” And my immediate thought was “it’s already too far!” So, with apologies to Robert I am echoing his refrain in the following:

Get Out the Vote

Russia, if you are listening; Lock her up:
Call and response, chant the chant,
Lies and deceit, cover up: it’s already too far.

Get out the vote, trolls take note, purge the rolls,
Establish the doubt, break the booth;
Lies and deceit: it’s already too far!

Electoral College completes the lie; three million votes,
worthless; Michigan’s few thousand swing the tide.
We begin the slide; it’s already too far!

State is in shambles, FBI firings, DOJ meddlings, DOD
next? Fourth Estate attacked day and night;
Can’t hide the slide: it’s already too far!

Babies in cages, walls blowing down, Native lands sullied,
Rivers muddied, bridges collapsed, brown water sickens:
American carnage, yes: it’s already too far.

Laws don’t matter, impeachment’s ignored,
Power unbounded in the name of us all!
Where is the check? Or, is it already too far?

 

 

 

©2020, Richard W. Bredeson, all rights reserved.