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: and for those of you who enjoy brevity go to my twitter: 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