Fields: An Etheree

Fields

Dead fields

In dread cold

Of Winter’s fold

Now in frozen hold

As enchanted wind blows

And icy crystal streams flow

From the netherworld just below

Where the sun dies yet to rise again

To regain once more his immortal reign

 


Note: An Etheree is a type of poem which has ten lines. It goes in an order on the lines corresponding to the amount of syllables on it. It is a successive one to one system. So, the counts literally go up 1, 2, ,3, 4 and so on up to 10 syllables.

This type of poem can also go in reverse. Simply count down the numbers starting with ten. Or there can be something called a Double Etheree. This means that the lines will count upwards, and then at ten, ten is repeated and then it is counted down. So a Double Etheree is actually a 20 line poem. 

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Place Love Above All: An Abhanga

Placing love above all
In the heart of a child
So very free and wild
To kiss sweet cheek

New song sung for the young
Who’ve just begun to dance
With cosmic happenstance
On world’s bright stage

Now comes the vision free
Of brighter tomorrow
With what God will bestow
In liberty

 


Note: The abhanga, an Indian form of poetry, means “the completion” and is a stanzaic form commonly used for devotional poetic composition although it has also been used for cynicism, satire and reflective moods. It was popular from the 13th thru 17th centuries Marathi Region of India and is described as complex and classic.
The Abhanga is:
  • stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains (4 line stanzas).
  • syllabic, 6/6/6/4 syllables each
  • L2 and L3 rhyme. Often internal rhyme is employed. End rhyme scheme x a a x , x being unrhymed.

One Memetic Distortion of Socialism

Looking at memes can be fun, sometimes aggravating, but then at other times somewhat infuriating, as is the case with the below pic and statement. One does not have to be socialistic to conclude that these claims are either wrong or, at least, overly simplistic. It certainly is minimalistic, which is one glaring problem with memes anyway.

Socialism.jpg

1) No socialist has ever claimed that “free” means completely free in the sense of wholly economically free.

2) Perhaps you are not entitled to someone else’s “hard earned money,” but you are entitled to just compensation for honest labor, which is what socialism (as well as other socio-economic perspectives) demands for all people.

3) No, you cannot tax any nation into prosperity, but you can guarantee a more just distribution of wealth, along with adequate healthcare for all, good education, adequate food, clothing, and shelter, etc.

4) As a matter of fact, sometimes (oftentimes) the rich ARE responsible for the poverty of many, many peoples, who have no other recourse to address the injustices foisted upon them by an oligarchy than the gov’t they elected to represent them.

5) It is absolutely FALSE to claim socialism always leads to Communism; point in fact, there are many democratic-socialist nations today that are not Communist, but this claim simply betrays some confusion between democratic-socialism as a socio-economic system as opposed to Communism as a form of governance.

In the end, democratic socialism may not be the greatest answer to what ills our nation, but I do wish some folks would take the time and make the effort to educate themselves before posting memes like the one above. 

I Can See You in My Dreams: A Symetrelle

I can see you in my dreams

You fly so high up into my sky
While you stultify me as I cry

And I cannot reach you though I desire
With love burning brightly in blue-flaming fire
But never quite knowing what you require
As I lay me down for my soul to expire

Hold me now as I cry one last cry
Reaching for you so high in the sky

I can see you in my dream


Note: The Symetrelle is a form created by Julie Moeller Writing on Allpoetry.com as Bluejewel. She describes it thus: It begins and ends with a single subject line that is 7 syllables. It has ‘a hat and boots’, mono-rhymed couplets that lead you into and out of the subject with a 9 syllable count. At the heart of it is a mono-rhymed 4 line quatrain with an 11 syllable count.

We Have Come Too Far: A Villanelle Poem

Lightening truth will strike the soul through and through,
For we have come too far to turn back now to bow so low,
And we’ll not forget these lessons we have come to know

As flaunting terror haunts from whitened house of power,
We will not cower while we freely let loving peace flow,
For we have come too far to turn back now to bow so low

Child refugees walk across the land as wandering bands
With no helping hands as we recall we’re part of the show,
And we’ll not forget these lessons we have come to know

Anger from up on high has raised danger in heated streets
Where heartbeats race to slow to embrace mercy’s glow,
For we have come too far to turn back now to bow so low

Younger eyes hunger for freedom, food and some shelter
In this helter-skelter world, hoping for a better tomorrow,
And we’ll not forget these lessons we have come to know

Lightening truth will strike the soul through and through
Creating a beautiful view of the future so poignantly true,
For we have come too far to turn back now to bow so low,
And we’ll not forget these lessons we have come to know


Note: A villanelle (also known as villanesque) is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines. The villanelle is an example of a fixed verse form.

Trafficking in People: What Solutions?

Thank heavens Republicans, Democrats, and the President were able to come to an agreement to at least temporarily reopen government, even if it is only for three weeks. At least the 800, 000 workers who have gone without pay will not only now go back to paying jobs, but will also receive very much needed backpay. Our prayers continue for them and their families.

In his remarks about this temporary agreement, though, President Trump used his time to make yet another pitch for the Wall. Well, we’ve heard his claims over and over again, and in this blog (as well as many other blogs and outlets), these claims have been reviewed … mostly. One that I personally have overlooked, however, has been his claim that thousands of human trafficking victims are smuggled across our southern border.

My apologies go out to the President and his supporters for this tragic oversight. Human trafficking is an extremely horrible problem involving tens of thousands of individuals “trafficked into the U. S. yearly,” according to the U. S. Department of State. And, indeed, the “Department of State also expresses that Mexico is the primary country of origin
for trafficking victims…” So, we do have a problem here, no doubt about it.

The U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency recently reported:

In fiscal year 2016, HSI initiated 1,029 investigations with a nexus to human trafficking and recorded 1,952 arrests, 1,176 indictments, and 631 convictions; 435 victims were identified and assisted.

Impressive though this is, when comparing the above figures with the total number of individuals being trafficked into the country annually, we clearly have an awful lot of work to do, including better securing our southern border. How is this best achieved, though? Is the President correct in surmising that a strong, tall border wall from “sea to shining sea” will almost completely cut out human trafficking into the United States?

Several important factors in combatting human trafficking from Mexico involves Mexico itself, that is: Need for increased awareness, the strengthening of anti-trafficking laws, greater dedication to the enforcement of those laws, more compassionate response to and support of victims, and other necessary changes. Beyond this, though, there are some actions the United States can take.

According to Human Rights Along the U.S.-Mexico Border, which is a compilation of articles written on the subject, there needs to be “a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policy so that more people can come to the U.S. legally, instead of risking their lives and their livelihoods upon entrance.” The proponents of this idea also argue for “more effective usage and promotion of T-Visas.”

Another source, “Prostitution and Trafficking of Women and Children from Mexico to the United States,” argues that U.S. policies need specific improvements, including amending the requirement that “the burden of proof falls on the victims to show evidence of force, fraud, or coercion,” increasing victim services, and building stronger bilateral approaches with Mexico.

Another possible solution to this admittedly tragic problem is to build a wall along the Mexican border, which is just what President Trump has proposed as an almost fail-proof deterrent to illegal crossings … so the claim goes. However, Dr. Alexandra Still of Pepperdine University notes that “this option also is expensive, would take years to complete, and most likely would not be effective.” She continues to explain:

Migrants who are desperate to come to the U.S. … will find a way to continue coming … (so) this wall could prove useless in time. Furthermore, if this policy option did, in fact, lower levels of trafficking between the U.S. and Mexico, it would also trap people in vulnerable situations in Mexico, and it might increase trafficking between Mexico and other countries. This option violates all three criteria because it does not protect vulnerable persons, it is not enforceable, and it could increase tensions between the two countries.

Doubtless debate will continue on how best to counter human trafficking, but there are probably better options than building an extremely expensive wall that might ultimately prove ineffective anyway. For now, each of us should be both aware and vigilant. If you are in the United States and notice any suspicious activity in your community, call the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. For more information visit https://www.ice.gov/features/human-trafficking

Also of interest, and consulted for this article, is Pepperdine Policy Review: Solving Human Trafficking Between Mexico and the United States by Alexandra Still.

One Mall, Three Groups: Who’s to Blame?

So who is to blame for the raucous, divisive incident at the National Mall involving three very different groups: white, male Covington Catholic High School students, members of the radical Black Hebrew group, and/or the Indigenous Peoples, who were present to march for world peace? The media and commentators have been all over this story, which is, unfortunately, emblematic of the disunity and dissention in the United States today, and which tragically occurred the very weekend before we reverently remembered the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

First off, let me say unequivocally that no matter who “started it,” the very adult Black Hebrews ought to be held accountable for their incendiary, vulgar shouts and taunts at the high schools students, and should even be held legally accountable for any and all threats made against those boys, (and we are, after all, talking about minors.) There is simply no excuse for calling high school boys “incest babies” and other gross names, and threatening to “harvest the organs” of an African American student. And, by the way, where is the outrage over this?

Second, though, the chaperones of the Covington Catholic High School boys are culpable in all this if for no other reason than the fact that they failed to move the students away from the situation, that is, away from the Black Hebrews. Where were they, anyway, and what were they thinking? Mature, levelheaded adults would have removed the boys some reasonable distance from the vulgar, incendiary group and then surrounded them as a kind of protective barrier. This is, after all, the sort of thing chaperones are supposed to do, yet these boys were left to basically choose their own course.

Third, where the students themselves are concerned, instead of backing away from the Black Hebrews, they formed a semi-circle around them, began chanting “school spirit” chants (ostensibly, at least), hooping and hollering and jumping up and down… One young man even ripped off his shirt and started doing a kind-of-sort-of-whatever “dance,” much to the amusement of his classmates. None of this served to diffuse the situation at all, and even the junior, Nick Sandmann, whose image we see smiling, or smirking, at Mr. Phillips said as much in his interview on the Today Show. 

Fourth, when Mr. Phillips and the other Indigenous Peoples entered between the two groups ~ the Black Hebrews and Covington Catholic High ~ Sandmann and his classmates should have simply turned and walked away some distance. Again, even Sandmann now says as much … but they didn’t do this. Instead, the junior stood his ground in order to show Mr. Phillips that he was not going to be, in his words, “provoked” or “intimidated.” What??? No viewing of any of the video footage would lead anyone to believe that Mr. Phillips was attempting to provoke or intimidate.

Besides, when did it become appropriate for some young, wet-behind-the-ears, whipper-snapper to stand his adolescent ground in front of an adult, Marine veteran? No “if, ands or buts” about it, this was just plain disrespectful, but again, where were the chaperones? Yes, these students had been subjected to an hour-long (at least) barrage of insults from the Black Hebrews, but when Mr. Phillips intervened they had yet another opportunity to back off to some safer place. Instead they directed their hooping and hollering, now with offensive tomahawk chops, toward the Indigenous Peoples. Wow … Just wow!

Finally, who in the world was stupid enough to allow students to wear any political clothing or paraphernalia to a Right to Life march? Of all the important issues in the world, one would think the Sanctity of Life is one that does not need to be politicized … at least not more than it already has been. Aside from the fact that many, many people consider MAGA hats (and shirts and whatever) to be offensive for a variety of reasons, why would any religious school allow its students to display/advertise politics on or at the school and school functions? Just enforce a non-descript, uniform dress code!

Well, I will say at least one more thing about all this, which is a broader point and, perhaps, a take-away lesson, and that is: Perhaps young people should not be carted to state capitals and D. C. for marches and demonstrations. Yes, it’s important for high school students to learn about civics, history, the political process, etc. but maybe they’re not quite mentally and emotionally developed enough to actually be directly involved? Or at least if they are, then they really should be held to the same standards as adult participants… No pass for the stupidity of youth!