Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Wish

In less than 48 hours we will celebrate Thanksgiving, admidst total rancor of Blue and Red and the apparent failure of the SuperCommittee to reach a deal. Sadly these are issues beyond our control today; but sharing with friends and family are and a sense of gratitude to the bounty we and this nation have are. My Thanksgiving wish to all

Thanksgiving Wish
May the Autumn leaves in pastel beauty fall ever so slowly to the ground
Almost like a Pageant of the Masters--beauty in awe, knowing no bounds
To gently form on a windless day multicolored mounds
Where the sound of sated friends and family is the only sound
Where the main scent is turkey waiting to be carved
To a waiting group trying to pass off as being starved
No matter the chaos and the troubles this nation sadly faces
Look around the table and we seem to be still in God’s graces.
If today we are all Pilgrims cinching up belts and knowing why from Europe fled
There is no earthly force we cannot overcome, that we should ever dread
© Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011


As we approach the 10th Anniversary of 911, it is only fitting and proper to post a tribute to the brave members of the the NYCFD. One of the iconic photos of that tragic day is that of John Kekoe heading up the stairwell with a stream of terrified innocents heading down, his helmet bearing the number 28, his ladder company. Fortunately he survived. Sadly 343 of his fellow firemen did not. In their honor and tribute:
Helmet 28

His helmet bears a 28 burdened by 100 pounds of gear heading up a panic flight of stairs.
At 20 floors, his eyes are framed in soot and ash, a deer in a hunter’s headlight stare.
Outnumbered by a cascade of office horror in downward panic flight.
Most men would have tired, been brushed away, but not with a 5 alarm inferno to fight.
Was it the training, or the inner steel of the highest of all noble human traits?
To not abandon crew and total strangers to a searing, deadly fate.
Not since Operation Typhoon, have we seen planes driven at targets to explode,
Even then, only against warriors— who among us could ever fathom such a Bushido Code?
A micro globe of innocents whose sin was to be at work, bathed in high octane flames,
Desert sand chrysantimums hijacking a one way ticket passenger laden plane.
How could he or would we ever have the courage to put ourselves in harm’s way,
Climbing 8 more floors in smoke, until at 28, the building rumbled and began to sway?
As a parent most of us to a man would with relish sacrifice all to save his child,
Or to protect a spouse faced with mortal dangers running near and wild.
But these were strangers, not neighbors, kin or friends, but with his life and limb in doubt,
What courage to continue climbing burdened down and fight the urge to flee and get out.
It is said that true heroes in combat are those not in photos or who never make it home for the victory parade,
Now joined by 343 resting eternally in fields far and near within the memories of the living, never to fade.
28 could have stopped then and there at 20 floors and put himself out of danger of deadly harm,
But like true heroes, no fireman will turn tail and run from the pleading of five alarms.
Those who do not know us, say America is a soft land with heroes too few and too far between,
At their peril, if they ever forget the image of 28 trudging up the stairs into danger’s mortal scene.
If the helmet was any number from ladder 1 to 176 frozen in that famous photo frame,
The courage to climb into harm’s way to save a stranger’s life and not flee would be exactly the same,
Whether there is an eternal heaven or an eternal flame, one will never know for sure,
Or whether to avoid the fires, one’s spirit must be helping, noble and pure,
If there is, be assured 343 firemen of NYFD will hose down daily the streets of paradise,
Sweeping into the gutters of hell those who would in the name of God cause the innocents’ early demise.
If there is, it is certain that after 911, no NYFD member would ever be admitted into hell,
For too quickly on earth the brimstone sermons would end, as the Devil’s damning fires they would quickly quell.
Michael P. Ridley aka The Alaskanpoet
© December 30, 2005

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ricky at 16

On July 15, my youngest son Ricky previously introduced in the poem Ricky Long Lance turns 16. In fact he left the midnight showing of the latest Harry Potter movie about the very moment he came into this world 16 years ago. A proud father am I and of all my children I believe he will carry on as a 4th generation poet, if he only starts texting less.


It may be a parent’s nightmare to see this age,
In only two more it’s time to leave the nest and head for the ivy stage
After all those nights of stories read
To a young son with lids drooping, fighting bed
The seeds of knowledge have spouted, seeking always to rise
To a proud father it does not come as a surprise
That is the bright side of the 16 candles,
Easy to applaud and cheers to handle
He’s been taught well and knows how to learn
But as the texting fury sparks are the bridges burned?
Phones are the things of the past
Text only, short, sweet, and make it fast
Thumbs and fingers fly and bits project
While Dad’s sore joints such movements reject
Before we worried only that after that first drive,
No way one’s low insurance rates would survive
But in California if you drive, text you may not
Maybe a lining as a father will get phone time long sought
The jury is still out in fact not even convened
But on your future path the lights should always be green
As you move forward texting in hand on your many quests
Meeting and passing with ease all of life’s little tests
One wish from a proud father who wishes for less texting and more time
Irish gods be with you and never, never lose your precious gift of rhyme!

Michael P. Ridley aka The Alaskanpoet
(c) July 15, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

D-Day at 67

67 years ago in the early morning hours of June 6 after a weather delay members of the 82nd and 101st Airborne were jumping out of planes scattered all over Normandy while 5000 ships were on a seasick inducing ride to five beaches in Normandy--Utah,Omaha, Sword, Juno and Gold to begin the assualt on the Atlantic Wall. One's bucket list should include a trip to the beaches of Normandy, Pointe du Hoc and the American Cemetary. As a student in France, in great shape in 1966 I visited those beaches...it is hard to imagine the courage of those GIs wet cold miserable watching their comrades being shot all around them who on that day breached the Atlantic wall. While the Great Generation still lives in diminishing numbers honor them today in how you exercise your freedoms an installment of which was paid in blood.

It has been 67 years since on a June day the Channel was once again breached
Both from the air in morning night and by thousands on heaving Higgins seeking the beach
Not a mere raid with more Canadian bodies to leave in bloody retreat
But five divisions to land at the Atlantic Wall as a final step in Hitler’s defeat
Our warriors are today in the last days of winter’s coming grip
Thick glasses, artificial joints, canes walking slowly to not fall or slip
The horror of all horrors to assault a well defended, waiting beach
Not knowing whether this would be the morning that the evening you would not reach
For over four years the Germans had the time to a deadly welcome prepare
A host of 88’s and “buzz saws” to hurl against khakis bare
Mines by the millions to rip the Higgins and gliders apart
Green seasick faces now climbing down the nets to depart
When the dust had cleared and fighting ended late, late at night
Almost 5,000 young men were laid low by the Dark Boatman’s fatal bite.
Never again no matter what is mankind’s military course
Will we ever see such a gathering of men and armada force
But heroes we will as a nation continue to breed!
Forces of terror should listen and so take heed!
The genes that climbed the Pointe du Hoc’s vertical cliffs
Or Dutch Cota armed with a cigar giving his troops a lift
Or the All Americans landing in Ste. Mere Eglise spires
Or the destroyers almost ashore point blank at the pill boxes fire
Still run deep in the generations from those warriors of June 6, 1944
Joined now by women and all with courage and brains to settle any score
We have been blessed with the warriors and heroes of that day
The forces of evil in Europe finally stopped and held at bay
More so we are still blessed that their spirits still live
In the hearts of those in uniform today a final sacrifice prepared to give
The Sun on the British Empire may after many years now daily sets
But on those forces against the evil terrors, the shadows are nowhere near yet. (c) June 5, 2011
Michael P. Ridley aka The Alaskanpoet

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ricky the Long Lance

Being a father watching a son swim at a high school swim meet is a daunting task. In the water with caps on everyone looks the same, and no matter how hard you cheer it is doubtful if the swimmers can hear you ( I know that because in the 500 yard free, they ring a bell on the last 50 yards water level with the lead swimmer). Last week I had the great pleasure of watching my youngest son Richard Patrick enter for the first time the 100 yard butterfly and just smoke the competition. Quite a thrill and since the Alaskanpoet is a firm believer of the tradition of heralds this poem came to me. It is the least I can do for the hundreds of training miles swum in the early morning soaked in chlorine with no one watching and cheering. Great job son; the Ridley Turtle is surely fast!

At the start of World War II, the Japanese had a secret fish
A weapon in whose naval arsenal all would wish
It was called rightly so the Long Lance.
Our cruisers and destroyers never had a chance
Into the water with distance and blazing speed
The game changer all navies would need
Today the Long Lance lives again in human form
Among Sailors unleashed in a frothing storm
Not just propellers of kicking feet but also of strong, quick arms
Skimming across a pool so fast to raise all manner of alarm
Head not seen until half way across the pool
Woe to the opponent not from the Sailor school
A turtle in the marine world was given the chance to show another stroke
Never to look back, only to fly, across the water, a Long Lance uncloaked
One race is not a season, but your fly was to a father quite a thrill
A young son in first honing in on new records to kill.
Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet (c) May 2, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rhymes on Newsworthy Times--Tornadoes

The images out of the South are terrible, reminescent of the scarred, leveled wreckage of Hiroshima or Nagasaki--structures totally leveled and on the ground in little pieces. Unlike an earthquake that happens with no warning of the first tremor, a tornado must truly be a vision in the the gates of hell, a freight train in a full on rush howling to crush your home and suck up into a one way ticket to an early grave or riddle your body to shreds with debris moving at two hundred miles an hour. Hearts should go out to the victims but pride should go out to the survivors for they will rebuild and move on.

The South Will Rise Again

As humans we have erected the pyramids and built the Great Wall,
Add to that the Hanging Gardens and the Colossus of Rhodes standing tall,
With the Suez and Panama Canals, oceans we have linked
Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge never a task from which we’ve shrinked
A pipeline to cross the arctic from Pt. Barrow to Valdez
A tunnel through the Channel to escape the waves and howling breeze
Our engineers seem not mortal but gods this earth to shape
From the ocean deep trenches to the lunar scape
Mother Nature has no choice but to yield
When we as humans put engineers and dollars into the field
Or does She? Did we count our chickens far too soon?
Images from Japan and our South of structures in total ruin
Our houses seem to have taken their blueprints from the pigs
As the lupine funnels blow, smashing all to pieces and into little twigs
It’s not a movie with popcorn to enjoy with your date
It is the black winds of hell knocking at your gate
Cars tossed into the heavens, roofs blown away
Crouching in the cellar, train coming right in your way
Mother Nature on a steroid windy rush, trumps any engineer
Any structure should its early demise, shake and fear.
Save one with so little protection it is almost a joke
Just a little force and it snaps and it broke
But not its heart and not its soul emerging from the structures dead
Already plans to restore and rebuild surging through its head
Parts of it may be Ground Zero, but the South will again rise
It may be bruised, battered and scarred but no demise
The US is a land of quakes, floods, volcanoes, fires, drought, blizzards and hurricanes
The only safe place is in your mind as Mother Nature may come but it will wane
But if I were in Tornado Alley my new home would not be the same
I might take the hint on how the howling funnels to try to tame
Build a home on cylinders to rise up to enjoy the view and sun
But would retract into the earth when the tornadoes had begun,
Or I would build my home into a hill of earth and concrete
The Winds of Fury I might then usually defeat
Or it becomes an RV on wheels with Doppler radar
To run fast from the winds spotted from afar
But whatever choice it might be, my life would go on
Blessing the ending of each night and the beginning of a new dawn

(c) April 28, 2011 Michael P. Ridley

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gutenberg Hares on Easter

Easter is a great time of spritual and emotional renewal of faith, a time for families and a time for reflection. But it is also a time for children, Easter Egg hunts and the visit by that creature of myth, the Easter Bunny, leaving an Easter Basket instead of cookie crumbs and half finished glasses of milk. But chocolates are quickly eaten and eggs spoil rather quickly and books last forever. Imagine a world where the baskets were full of books and poetry....Imagine the Gutenberg Hare

The Easter Bunny and the Gutenberg Hare

During Easter week the Easter Bunnies are so busy, free time is very rare,
Picking chocolate eggs and rabbits, Easter grass and candies for children to share.
On Easter morn, hard to find a doorstep without the signs of an Easter Bunny there.
But in this chocolate kingdom, a new suggestion voiced from the Gutenberg Hare,
“Fellow rabbits I do not want to break tradition,
Never accuse me of treason or sedition,
We all bring the joy of Easter in a long anticipated rendition,
But in your sweet baskets perhaps a small welcome addition?”
Now rabbits may squeak but they rarely complain or moan,
Yet from the twitching tails and noses came a collective complaining tone,
“Our baskets are overloaded; handles already cut through to the bone,
Any addition would be too much weight to carry alone!”
The Gutenberg Hare slowly raised his paw above the rabbits’ complaining din,
Even though a gentle, studious hare, this was a dispute he must win,
For the joy of Easter should not be only a chocolate web to spin.
Slowly he bent over into an open, non candied laden bin.
He lifted and put into his Easter basket a book every child would want to read,
“Friend rabbits, chocolate is divine; on it children will always draw a bead,
But to leave a good book to read
Is like a farmer planting the seeds,
Of morals, thoughts, fables, or heroes to do good deeds,
Teachings and lessons to show the way or teach how to lead.
Lucky is the child, who has a large chocolate to savor and not waste,
While reading a book for sweet knowledge is also a long lasting taste.”
And so with a voice vote that closed the friendly debate,
For no rabbit on Easter morn wished to be late,
To the lucky houses chocolates and candy baskets left on porch or stair,
Followed by a basket of books left by a Gutenberg Hare.

Michael P. Ridley
© 3/24/2005

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Bucket to Empty

It never ceases to amaze me how many people have never seen the wonder of Alaska. I have given up trying to know if there is global warming such that the bergs from Le Conte may never again come ashore at Sandy Beach at Mitkof Island be become my private playground of ice slides and forts. God help us if the glaciers ever become extinct. This poem came to me while talking to another member of the bar who was indicating that although she had never been to Alaska she was contemplating a trip. Hope you enjoy. another poem just posted on my other blog: www.alaskanpoetcommentator.blogspot.com and for those of you who enjoy brevity go to my twitter: www.twitter.com/alaskanpoet--always numerous 140 character iambic poems on news events of the day.

A Bucket to Empty

Listen to the Johnny Horton song
Time to empty the bucket before too long
If Gore was right, the glaciers we may not save
Even though John Muir is praying in his grave
Alaska is shedding its icy pelt
The glaciers are in an ever increasing melt
But it will remain North to the Future, the Great Land, the Last Frontier
Where Nature deals the smiles and awes and deals the pain and tears
It is the land where the pioneer spirit without question rules,
Lessons not found or no longer taught in any urban schools
Here no man is an island even if reachable only by sled or plane
And then only if the skies are not closed with snow, fog or numbing rain
Here when Nature causes general quarters alarms
We drop everything to try to save others from deadly harm
Be it a sinking seiner or a blizzard from the Arctic Gates of Hell
There are no spectators, we all answer the tolling of the bell
Even with TV, the Iditarod is more than just a race
It’s a historic symbol of how a disease was kept in place
Go see the glaciers as a bonus, a treasured treat
But even better yet will be all the open hands you will meet
Take a ferry through the Narrows and try to touch Green Rock
Watch the boats leaving to make a dent in the salmon stock
Stop in Petersburg the Alaskanpoet’s stomping ground
Kayak to Le Conte in nearby Frederick Sound
Watch the seagulls gather and hover as the fleet empties its holds
Dollars from the ocean, if men are brave, strong and always bold
Then pause at the Memorial and count the rows of silent plaques
Of those fisherman awash in waves and cold who until the end kept coming back
And know another muse, who after 50 years a pioneer, lies to upon the Narrows gaze
On the eternal stream of boats heading To The Westward to Icy Straits, and sheltered bays
The Northern Lights will never melt or their greenish dance abate
But no excuse for this trip to delay or,as a cardinal sin, never take.
Michael P. Ridley, aka the Alaskanpoet
(c) April 19, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Winter Irish on St. Patrick's Day

Top of the morning to all on this St. Patrick's Day 2011; hope all are enjoying themselves and avoiding the sacrilege of turning perfectly good Harps into green beer. What was once a very solemn religious holiday honoring the patron saint of Ireland has become the equivalent of Mardi Gras, Bacchanalia and Cinco DeMayo, and New Year's Eve rolled into one in terms of celebrations and parties. to be Irish one needs to be more than a button, a green shamrock, green shirt or dress. God may have invented whiskey to prevent the Irish from ruling the world but he also invented poetry to enable them to rule the hearts of the world. This Irish Alaskan Poet hopes you enjoy the following written on this St. Patrick's Day, 2011


Like the summer patriots to men like Thomas Paine
To the colors in the warm rays and leaving in the cold and rain
The summer Irish on this day are flocking from near and afar
To the closest tavern, to the closest pub and to the closest bar.
Awash in green to down a pint or two of Guinness or Harps,
To listen to the wail of the pipes crisp and sharp,
Gathered not in church but around tables with friends
Bushmill shots until the wee hours finally end
Every lady is now a colleen
All are decked out in their finest green
For this day all are Irish that’s what the shamrock buttons say
As the day wears on most can barely stand only sway
The lines are not to mass but to the pubs into the street
Patiently waiting for the shots and suds to greet.
If one were to think back when the potatoes began to rot
Famine stalked the land, nary a crumb or potato to be bought
The Irish fled by the millions from that Emerald Isle
Human sardines in steerage across the ocean miles
To a land devoid of outstretched hands,
No ticker tape parades or marching bands
But signs in most windows “Dogs and Irish not allowed”
Bias rampant but onto these shores they continued to crowd
Today a button or green is not needed to one’s heritage to rejoice
For among us are the works of Yeats, Becket and Joyce
Or the works of Wilde, Shaw and Swift
When in the Dark Ages, who stopped civilization’s drift?
The Irish monks writing to preserve and to keep
Knowledge from sliding into the dark, dark deep
That’s why the Winter Irish should be held in awe
That’s why we toast Erin go Braugh!
Still for one day all should be Irish, today enjoy the “Gaelic Right Stuff”
For if you are lucky to be Irish, you are lucky enough.

Michael P. Ridley
(c) March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ryan at 17

St. Patrick's has always been special in the Ridley family from the 50's with my father painting a green stripe on the three block concrete main street in Petersburg, Alaska to the the O'Ridley O'Cooley O'My started by Tim and I in 1987.
More so than ever before since my son Ryan was born on that day. It has always been a Ridley tradition started by my grandfather for me to write a poem on a birthday. I hope you enjoy the following given to my son to celebrate his 17th birthday.

What do you say or write to a man to in a year be?
Do you as a father extol the growth and maturity you see?
Or his fierce devotion to a water sport?
In the cold morning hours to his sleep abort
Football players may get all the women, all the fame
Put most swimmers into an envious shame.
But the swimmers in the morning cold must focus body and mind
Lap and lap nearing tranquility and leaving troubles far behind
To become part of the water and barely above the choppy waves
Kicking toward a win knowing what bursts to spend and what energy to save
Many a son lucky enough to be born on the day of the Pot o’ Gold
Knowing with the shamrocks they could put future efforts on hold
Not so this noble, handsome Irish son of the Brotherhood of the Fish
With the kind of mind, character and soul to handle what life will dish.
Ryan at 17 for the only time same birthday and age
Makes a father proud to see what he has written in his daily page.
It only seems like yesterday when a doctor with derby of green
After your mother in cramps could not pose and only lean
Brought you into this world on a full head of eager steam
On St. Patrick’s Day no less, blessed with your parents’ genes.
The future is a blank book as this father rejoices on this day
Enjoy the cake and candles and surpass the challenges that may come your way
If by chance after the morning swim you begin to shake and shiver
Join the 4th generation and add the muse to your expanding quiver
Michael P. Ridley
(c) March 17, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keep Our Guns Send Our Butter

The news each day show a growing wave of chaos in the Middle East..from Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and even Iran. We can only hold our breath to see how the chips will fall and whether the theocrats of fanaticism or whether the winds of freedom will take root. Will these be a move to a growing jihad or the first steps of democratic rule in societies almost fuedal and with respect to their treatment of women totally so. Lost in the smoke and stones is another lurking dragon seed waiting to sprout with all its havoc--rising price of food across the world but most prounounced in the third world to the tune of at least 1,000,000,000. Most nations in the era of UN cease fires and nuclear protectors face danger from within not from without, yet we continue to send the advanced toys of military conflict--tanks, F-16s, helicopters, to foreign military like Egypt in the hope of buying their allegiance. Read on for perhaps a better solution

Food Should Be The Weapon Of Choice

Napoleon knew that armies did not march with their feet.
Otherwise, even before Russia he would have seen defeat.
An army marches on its stomach and must be fed
Or the jaws of defeat will lie directly ahead.
Ideas of freedom from a tryant's draconian rule
May without warning cause people to pick up stones and lay down tools,
But those protests and strikes may be like a candle in the wind
Use of armed force, massive and deadly, the urges may quickly rescind
But a hunger which gnaws to the bone each and every day,
Weakens the mind and causes the body to totter and sway,
While the developed countries are obese and one's own rulers well fed--
That's an eternal flame of anger and protest we here should dread
God help us if prices take away the loaves of bread
Like Marie, all rulers may soon lose their heads
And into a vacuum, the rivers of revolt and unrest will flow
Years of feeding corn to cars will in the flames light up our woes
Silos now empty of grain we used to buy and store
Our farmers have cash but we should hear the coming roars
"Feed me! Feed me! Food now I cannot afford!"
What the hell I'll pick up the stone and sword!"
While people starve, we send to generals with false ribbons coating their chests
Not the hand-me-downs of arms but the upgraded and the very best
Enough tanks to rumble the ground and jets to cover the air,
While stomachs are grumbling and pantries stand empty and bare
We have spent billions on sent arms to keep the status quo
Doomed to failure, states now toppling like dominoes in a row.
If we replaced the feast of arms with platters of all manner of food to eat,
Maybe, just maybe, with full stomach, revolt at the world table will find no seat.
(c) February 17, 2011 Michael P Ridley a/k/a the Alaskan Poet

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011

Valentine's Day is almost here and soon the skies will be dark with Cupid's arrows to blot out the sun with spent feathers fluttering to the ground like a late snow storm. The pressure is on to find the perfect gift, a polaris free from fad or drift. Never fear if the Alaskan Poet can still hear the baying of the wolves and the rustle in the bushes of hungry bear, without fear of failure the perfect gift is suggested. Hope you and your Valentines enjoy along with daily 4 line iambic tweets on twitter.alaskanpoet.com

The Perfect Gift

Love is like a Noble gas that without warning fills the room
Or the flower that never wilts, always in perfect bloom
The laws of physics, love often refutes
No matter the objects, it seems never to dilute
No eyes, yet it always seems to see
No arms, yet it always lies alee
Surely no ears, yet it always seems to hear
Not just the sounds but also a lover’s inner fears.
And when it comes to the tactile sense
So very lasting, so very intense
With nary a twitch, nor slightest sniff
All manner of aromas it will easily sift
The future it may not always be quick to foretell
But a honed sixth sense within surely dwells
Like a nova it may burst into white hot flame
From gifts for passion to unleash and worries to tame
The roses, candles, chocolates, jewelry and cards
Soften up the heart for the moment of the bard
For roses wilt, candles burn, flicker and no longer light the room
Cards find the trash and chocolate no matter how fine is finally consumed
Not the roses are red and violets are blue
No, another melody of a different, warming hue,
No. the muse who in the soft quiet of the night
When of all the senses only love has any sight
And can hear the heart in rhythmic beat
And can feel the warm glow beneath the sheets
Leaves then the poem that will be the perfect gift
Up the highs, sooth the lows and mend a not too often rift
A poem of many stanzas tailored to one’s lover unique
And why with all the blessings no need to another ever seek
But a poem with a central rhythmic core
“You cause my heart to beat faster, my soul to soar
No matter the time, nor date of year
Each day with you has a Valentine to caress so dear.”
Michael P. Ridley
a/k/a the Alaskan Poet
February 8, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Martin Luther King

It is right and fitting that we honor Martin Luther King. The fears expressed by the Kerner Report that we were becoming two nations, one black and one white, to some large extent been eased through the work and dedication of Martin Luther King and his followers. Nonviolence as a means to overcome inequality and discrimination is truly a powerful force.
It seems that sadly we are still on the path of becoming two nations, one Red and one Blue and the chasm fueled by social media and the internet mean that chasm grows quicker, deeper, and wider at hyper speed. On his day this muse suggests listening to his "I have a dream" speech and resolve to discard the need to reach a conclusion in nanoseconds on your deemed opponent and replace it with the need to ponder, assess, gather and then after the passage of time, respond to the issue not attack the person. In symbolic terms remember purple is the sign of royalty or the trim worn by the Praetorian Guard and if you mix red and blue you get purple
Sadly Dion in "Abraham, Martin and John" was right--the good die young.

Martin Luther King, Jr

We honor all the warriors like Cincinnatus who left the plow to wield the sword,
But only the few—Christ, Gandhi, and King who bent the sword into the plow we should forever reward.
Each city has its faded, green, moldy statutes, swords held high of 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,
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 booth to pause, reflect and cast a vote
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
Such a shame and such a waste 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, we forget his deeds
Turn our backs, close our hearts and shed his creed.
If on his day we carry within our hearts an oral, beating monument to a dream,
Where only character, honor, and integrity will determine the members of a team,
We will have a chance to put more swords into the productive plows
More men to see the dawn, and the growth that their Creator has endowed.

Michael P. Ridley
© 1/11/2011