Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Unsung Third Stanza

There's a great deal of talk right now about the National Anthem, to kneel or not to kneel. I am a big fan of Colin Kaepernik, not just because of his political stance but for all the philanthropic work he is doing for those at the margins of life.

This morning, I came across this poem and found it dovetails with my own thoughts, though this poet has so perfectly and so beautifully stated them

A New National Anthem

The truth is, I’ve never cared for the National
Anthem. If you think about it, it’s not a good
song. Too high for most of us with “the rockets
red glare” and then there are the bombs.
(Always, always, there is war and bombs.)
Once, I sang it at homecoming and threw
even the tenacious high school band off key.
But the song didn’t mean anything, just a call
to the field, something to get through before
the pummeling of youth. And what of the stanzas
we never sing, the third that mentions “no refuge
could save the hireling and the slave”? Perhaps,
the truth is, every song of this country
has an unsung third stanza, something brutal
snaking underneath us as we blindly sing
the high notes with a beer sloshing in the stands
hoping our team wins. Don’t get me wrong, I do
like the flag, how it undulates in the wind
like water, elemental, and best when it’s humbled,
brought to its knees, clung to by someone who
has lost everything, when it’s not a weapon,
when it flickers, when it folds up so perfectly
you can keep it until it’s needed, until you can
love it again, until the song in your mouth feels
like sustenance, a song where the notes are sung
by even the ageless woods, the short-grass plains,
the Red River Gorge, the fistful of land left
unpoisoned, that song that’s our birthright,
that’s sung in silence when it’s too hard to go on,
that sounds like someone’s rough fingers weaving
into another’s, that sounds like a match being lit
in an endless cave, the song that says my bones
are your bones, and your bones are my bones,
and isn’t that enough?

~ Ada Limon

If you're not familiar with Ada Limon, here's a link to her site:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

There is a Light

Well, it's been a while. I hope you are all doing well. Life is good here. Buddy and I are still hanging out together and life feels pretty peaceful, as long as I don't spend too much time thinking about the current administration in the White House.

Blogger has always seemed to be a kind, gentle place. I appreciate the friends I've found here. I'm not sure yet what I will do, but it will probably involve poetry, music, and art, plus an occasional personal story, as I did in the past. It's good to be here again.

"There is a light within our soul
that burns brighter than the sun."

~ Basith, Autopsy of the Seasons

Image: Albarran Cabrera, The Mouth of Krishna