Monday, June 28, 2010

Viking Reunion Nights

The Alaskan Poet leaves for a reunion, a true Viking in 1965 at CDA he also holds that cherished honorary membership of a Viking of PHS Class of 1965. Reunions can mean a lot of different things to graduates years after the notes have faded. To those of the class of 65, what a tidal wave of change was heading to us like a 9 Richter spawned tsunami. Fortunately, the waves receded and most of our class survived and prospered. If you are celebrating a 45th, hope you enjoy the poem even if not a Viking. Petersburg is a special place--a definite Bucket List to see---coming through Wrangell Narrows with the Devil's Thumb on the port and off in the distance, Le Conte's receding face and the beckoning of Frederick Sound, more so for the people that dwell there than the sights. Hail Vikings!

We have all marched the Pomp and Circumstances trail
Tassels now turned, we all knew we would not fail
Each class knows that it alone is unique
Fame and fortune waiting for it to seek.
But in one year the sands were shifting in flooding tide
Taking all of us for at least a wild decade ride.
The Viking ships of old battled only currents and unknown fears
Sheltered by compass, strong arm, axe, sword and spear.
These later Vikings faced a chasm cultural shift,
All icons parted and were now in constant swirling drift.
Constant here to set the salmon net, haul in the halibut hook, fell the tree
Lower down, all was moving, compass shorn, tidal waves from an Asian sea.
Radar blips most likely false on a ship of Joy
Soon a generation offered to Mars to maim and destroy
Be you of the class of 65 or 70 when the end was almost near,
Our time was a far different chaotic set of years
The jungle claimed our bodies, the music changed our souls
The pill released us, but the highs took their toll
A tough time for a nation, a tough time for its youth
Where in shifting sands would one ever find the truth?
Lower away the cities burned, shots heard, flags stomped to the ground
A nation for many years torn apart, in chaos always unbound
Save maybe a few places where images of longboats never did fade
And to a neighbor on an island so easy to help or aid
Lots of fads, lots of a craze here and now and then past
In a Viking lore what might always last?
It’s not the car, not the job or anything else on short term lease,
Or any other pleasures we seek for short term release
No, it is the Viking creed spawned within on these island shores
That has lifted these classes to exceed, to always soar.
Judge not by race, color, creed, career, or looks
Rather how well a choker is set, web mended or a baited halibut hook
And the fact that one’s word is a Polaris in the cold arctic night
Count on me; I am here; I will always make it right.
For some so lucky the warm summer rays are just now beginning to fade
For others, the leaves are now turning color to fall, never to shade
Lastly, some of us feel the first hint of snow;
Fire waiting as we now reflect on what we did sow
But common to all as we move upon this life’s journey trail
Heads high, toasts through the mist, hail Vikings hail, hail Vikings hail.
© June 24, 2010 Michael P. Ridley

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fathers' Day

I trust fathers will enjoy june 20, 2010, Fathers' Day and and children with fathers will be able to spend time with them either in person or by phone. I hope all enjoy this Fathers' Day poem.

Fathers’ Day 2010
In a world of morals like sands in perpetual shift
It’s usually the fathers who stop the moral drifts
The economic pillar fathers now thankfully share,
In these troubled times, it takes a working pair.
Men in whose ancient genes very deeply ingrained-
The need to stalk into the forests or hunt across the grassy plains,
Now with relish change the diapers, burp the child
A new sense of gentle in a world wanting to run wild.
Honor thy mother and father—a commandment to heed
Lasting words if the soul is to prosper and to succeed,
Now is compressed in a Day in May when Moms go first
Aisle upon aisle of gifts in never-ending burst.
In June we dads too have our day in the sun,
Praises from daughters or growing sons,
Some cards, a brunch, maybe treated, if lucky something other than a tie,
We beam and smile and our emotions surface and run high
A great Day but a small child said it best when asked to define
The difference between the two Days so close in time
So easy for a child the nuances to sift,
“Just like Mothers’ Day save we spend less on gifts.”
For those dads who have written the tuition checks
The month hosts graduation days no longer poverty to inject
Save those with their new ties, huge brunch, and cards
But high school seniors now with college needs to bombard.
© June 18, 2010
Michael P. Ridley

Friday, June 11, 2010

ACG Meanings on the Bay

As a venture capital/corporate lawyer, I attend a lot of networking functions. Last night the Association for Corporate Growth, a really excellent organization, held its "Summer Bash" function at the Balboa Bay Club, but unlike of most functions, various entities including the Orange County Performing Art Center had tables to promote their offerings. Sarah and Christina were at their post. The following honors them and the arts they so ably assist and the other "C" all of us should likewise support.
In a world where hope has failed and gone berserk,
Too many of us are scratching for any kind of work.
There is still time next to the bay of stately yachts,
Moored like a High Seas Fleet, rarely used or for naught
For two women of grace to “man” a table for the arts,
No matter the aroma of fine foods, they would not depart.
Even in the summer as we feel the recession chill
Somehow, someway the venue seats you must fill.
For a county of color devoid of music, or drama only live on stage,
Is like a paper, no headlines, only the drab of an obituary page.
Pass out the cards, shake the hands—for the next deal always strive
But without art, even with wallets thick, the soul will never be alive.
In tough times in the Golden State, hard for the corporate "C" to subside,
But on this night, the culture "C" was nourished, strong as a Fundy tide.
© June 11, 2010
Michael P. Ridley

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chair to the Beach

One of the great joys is life is the chance to aid a fellow human being without being asked. June 6 was such a day for the Alaskan poet. I ride ACCESS and had just spent most of Sunday not writing poetry but working in my office feeling sorry for myself and worried about missing the tip off to the Celtics/Laker game. After being picked up instead of heading straight home, the van had to go in the opposite direction to pick up another passenger, a person confined to a wheelchair, I suspect for all of her life. After picking her up and heading to my home near the beach, I learned she had never been to the beach. I suggested the driver use Seashore instead of Coast Highway so she could see the waves. She was so thrilled I suggested the driver go further past the turn to my house to a street where the bus could stop, she could be taken off in her chair and could be wheeled down a concrete ribbon to within 30 yards of the water. I waited in the van while she and the driver spent the next 15 minutes near the waves. I could feel the joy from the van 75 yards away. 20 years from now i will not rember the game, the tip off of which i missed, but I will remember her joy. I wrote the following poem at the end of the game.
Chair to the Beach

Ever since Lucy with brave heart came down from the trees,
Stood erect to view all on two legs one could see,
With strong legs and feet there is nothing we could not reach
From the highest mountain, to the most secluded beach.
But if in the lottery of birth, the legs were not there
Moving slowly only by the grace of a chair
Could you ever see the sight of waves breaking on the sand?
Chairs are not HUMVEES- they move only on flat land.
But if on a Sunday you could find a ribbon to the shore,
To watch the spirits feel the mist and not confined, to so soar,
A chair moving as close as the ribbon would permit
Watching the waves that will never end, never quit.
A joy and a smile a fathom wide,
So close to the incoming tide
Never accept as a given, the magic of God’s grace
Even if only a series of waves in a never ending race.
A game of Lakers, a game of Celtics have to recede,
The mist of ocean spray waters a helping seed.
All of us who are blessed with Lucy’s ambling traits,
Must extend a caring hand to those with a different fate.

© Michael P. Ridley
June 6, 2010