Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cory Demsburg- a True Mr. Relevant

Like many of the 30 plus million Americans who watched President Obama deliver the State of the Union Speech last night, I was disappointed.  Not so much as to the content because I could not foresee anything he could say that might resonate in an America that feels their President has deceived them. He had a moment, he had a chance, a live audience in the chambers that would have gone into ovation overload if he would have given us an apology, a true apology, for his absolute falsehoods and deceptions with respect to keeping one's doctor and keeping one's health insurance. To make the sound even more deafening he could have apologized for the millions unwisely spent on the premature rollout of and to give that apology meaning and not just empty words, when the camera panned to a smiling, everything-is-just peachy Ms. Sibelius, added "I am asking Ms. Sibelius this moment for her resignation, effective immediately". Sadly, he did not and omitted the that the health care system which he is trying to fix was broken in large part by his administration.
     Unusual for him,  his delivery was at best a C+ but the images especially the images of Ranger Cory Demsburg defending our freedoms went off the charts. The sound of the applause was deafening and seeing Ranger Demsburg slowly stand supported his father and giving a thumbs up could not have left an eye dry across the millions who watched this moment. No words, no promises, broken or otherwise, only acts, only deed, only sacrifices, only proof the motto "Rangers Lead the Way" still thrives--last night Demsburg was the true Mr. Relevant. Our President could have been but was not.
Cory Demsburg-A True Mr. Relevant
The State of the Union address reminded me of Mr. Irrelevant honored at Newport Beach
Plenty of applause, reporters and cameras to record, but little chance of success to reach
For words no matter how well prepared, no matter how well put fourth
Are silenced by the prior history that has run and continues to run its course
Facts are like diamonds they cannot be sliced. diced or shaped with mere words
And like diamonds eventually they sparkle of truth and the voters will be lured
In a speech by a soon to be feathered Mr. Irrelevant, one very relevant man was to be observed
Represents the best of us mere mortals and how this nation can continue to be preserved
Cory Demsburg, a wounded Ranger with 10 tours was the real and only star
A hero who wounded severely kept coming back, not allow the rehab pain to bar
He among those who the uniform don
And into harm's way so near to Reed's beds  and Arlington lawns
They are the true Mr. Relevants whose opinions I would like to hear
On the meaning of courage, duty, sacrifice and true meaning of fear
And the sanctity of contract that D.C. that D.C. seems no longer to share
Cutting vet pensions while billions of waste, pleading our cupboards are bare.
Obama's speech should fade into history, forgotten without the slightest note
But your image, wounded, standing erect with thumbs up, will forever emote.
©January 29, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Heroes Come In Small Packages, Young Ages

In the early morning hours on January 21, 2014 in Penfield, a suburb of East Rochester a fire in a crowded trailer home, killed three people.  The death toll could have been more--nine people after all were sleeping there that night. It was not because of the acts of one eight year old boy, Tyler Doohan who was spending the night with his grandfather because Monday was not a school day due to the Martin Luther King Day holiday. Six people were woken and led out to safety by Tyler. He went back in through the smoke to try to save his uncle, confined to a wheel chair. Sadly, he was not able to rescue his uncle and he and his uncle died. Tyler Doohan was a hero!

Tyler Doohan, a Hero in a Small Package at a Young Age
A fire sweeps through a crowded trailer home and three people die
Nine people sleeping there seems a number way too high
The cause of fire not yet completely known
One thing clear is an act of heroism was shown
For a change not by a passing Good Sam or trained firefighters or police
Expected when fire rears its head to burn out lives’ short term lease
No, this time by a fourth grader, all of eight years old
He acted that early morning as a hero, selfless and bold
Sadly, we all know from the lyrics that "the good die young."
Now we learn of lyrics for the heroes until today unsung
Heroes sadly can also die way, way too young, before their time
Even an eight year old who to save ignored the risk to put his life on the line
Tyler Doohan, a young "man" at the tender young age of eight,
You are a hero, saved six then died trying to save an uncle crippled by a disability fate
To your two saved cousins aged four and six who may grow up but not remember this sad night
May a loving God watch over you and may you both live with a purpose, full and shining bright
As tears slowly flow down my face as I look into Tyler’s smiling full of life face
I pray that the God in whom I believe, for you, Tyler, has a very special, special place.
 © January 23, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Dream Lives On

For a high school graduate member of the class of 65, a college graduate class of 69 and a law school graduate class of 72, those 11 years are seared forever in my memory bank. Out of the fog of protests over the Vietnam War and the iconic struggle for equality epitomized in the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. is almost a legendary figure rising above the violence to pursue nonviolently the end of racial discrimination. It is right that we honor him on tomorrow's  January 20, 2014. I only hope this poem in a small way extols the virtue of the man and his nonviolent policy.

The Dream Lives On
We honor all the warriors like Cincinnatus who left the plow to wield the sword,
But only the few—Christ, Gandhi, King and Mandela who bent the sword into the plow we should forever reward.
Each city has its faded, green, moldy statutes, swords held high by past warriors on a bronze horse,
Or weathered markers of epic battles where for a moment the rivers of history turned course,
Too often, the monuments are flags and eternal head stones on well preserved lawns,
Row after row of young men in eternal rest, never to see again the morning dawn,
Cross after cross, star after star and even a few crescents, all gleaming white
Standing mute, silent lives ended too soon in a barely remembered Martian fight
What of the battles not for gold, oil or lands to reclaim?
But rather for a simple seat on a bus to the work cramps tame
What of the battles not for resources or taxes to forcibly extract?
But rather for a simple seat at a counter instead a lunch shoved into a sack
What of the battles to claim minds and souls not by reason but by torch or by sword?
But rather for a simple seat in class with enough books for the learning train to board
What of the battles where human lemmings raised the bridge and widened the moat?
But rather for a simple seat in a curtained booth to pause, reflect and cast a vote
What of the battles not to claim cities and residents into ghettos to evict?
But rather for the freedom to live where one desires and by covenants restrict.
Our land of Camelot and Cities of Lights on a hill
Has sadly been also sheets in the night to burn, maim and kill
Separate but equal Jim Crow at its crushing, demeaning unequal best
How many years did it finally take us to such discrimination arrest?
Wrong battles, wrong glory, wrong hell to honor, even if then for the right reasons
But rather a simple song to overcome without guns even if to the warriors seems near treason
Battles somewhat alike in innocence lost and civility left to bleed
But King’s nonviolence proved to be in the end more than a slender reed
Who among us seeing the dogs and water hoses and the church burnings in the dark of night
Could turn the cheek and as men not drop the plow and charge head long into the fight?
Who among us could upon hearing the injustice and oppression screams?
Stay the nonviolent course and instead share to millions “I have a dream”?
Spied on and wiretapped by the FBI to discredit the man to hinder his cause
In so doing the FBI discredited us all with acts beyond the rules of law
Such a shame and such a waste for him to be taken from us far before his time
But even as his aides pointed from a balcony, something is far worse than such a crime.
God save us all if after so few years of progress, a Black President, we go lax and forget his deeds
Turn our backs, close our hearts, let racism on both side revive and shed his nonviolent creed.
But if on his day we carry within our hearts an oral, beating monument to his dream,
Where only character, honor, and integrity will determine the members of a team,
We will have a chance to put more minds and swords into the productive plows
More men to see the character dawn, and the growth that their Creator has endowed.
                       © January 19, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Captain, My Captain--Sam Berns RIP

        In reading the news on the internet I came across a story on Sam Berns, a 17 year old victim of Progeria, a rare disease that causes relentless premature aging of all organs causing a premature death of a body that has experienced 5-6 times its chronological age. The story of his courage and will to fight this disease and not wallow in self-pity had reached the owner of the Patriots who were to face the Colts on Saturday. He informed Sam that he would like him to be the honorary captain for the Patriots  for that playoff game. Sadly, Sam who probably would have been the most inspirational captain ever to set forth on the field at Foxboro died the day before the game.
        After reading the article, complete with a photo of a very tiny,  old looking Sam, and drying my tears, I wrote this. Sam's story reminds me of the ancient proverb of "I cried because I had no shoes, until I met the man with no feet." I hope the poem strikes and emotional cord and reminds you of no matter what adversity you may be facing, you can get through it.
My Captain, My Captain 
Too many of us live in a 24/7 world with so little time to decompress
The pressures of life’s material and emotional needs in waves of growing stress
Count your blessings that your body is not diseased into a WinZip aging without a rest
A life where seconds become hours, days become months, a month becomes  a year
Who among us could face the loss of youth and the immediate, unrelenting aging fears?
Sam Berns was such a youth and his photo should bring most of us to tears
But his courage and spirit was of a man, among us lucky to know him, without a single peer.
Progeria has claimed another victim ere one day before being an honorary captain on a Patriots playoff field.
You do not have to be a Navy Seal, first responder, or Good Sam, to a hero be, only to an illness not yield
At one in eight million Progeria is probably the rarest of the rare
Most of us afflicted would stumble into deep and depressed despair
How could this happen to me of all people? Give me sympathy—it is so unfair!
But Sam Berns put on another set of non pity emotions to wear
To face and fight a disease with a belief in a cure, but never, ever to quit
On Sam Berns the rank and suit of “hero” is clearly a well tailored fit
The owner of the Patriots wanted him as a captain to face the Colts in their playoff game
But Sam Berns died the day before—Progeria is a deadly disease next to impossible to tame
What is important now is not a football game, traffic or whether the internet is slow or fast
But rather to live life with a purpose and make sure your hugs of love are frequent and  last
I knew Sam Berns not at all and for his parents I pray for God’s healing grace
But I firmly believe that because of the people his story touched, our world is a better place
Sam, if you are reading this on a warm tranquil lawn under the sun or halos’ beams
Not sure how many players or how many games, but I suspect that all the souls and Angels will want you to captain their team.
© January 12, 2014 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet