Tag Archives: justice

Out into the Rain

Standing at the window, staring out into the rain,
past the point of caring who or what may be the blame.
Innocent and guilty sometimes are one and the same;
we don’t make the rules, and yet we still must play the game.

Standing on the corner waiting for the downtown bus
sometime after midnight, by the frequency of trucks.
The hour makes no difference when the minutes turn to rust;
no one’s left the light on or is waiting up for us.

Standing at the streetlight for the green light to come on,
each moment takes us by surprise and then is too soon gone.
You start out as a knight or queen, but end up just a pawn,
a jockey left out in the dark on someone else’s lawn.

Standing in the doorway, with so many words unsaid,
each one an ultimatum or a summons to the dead.
In print they seem so black and white, aloud they turn to red,
lines intended to inspire that fade to gray instead.

Standing at the window staring out into the night,
past the point of knowing between what is wrong and right.
Doesn’t really matter which side of the cause you fight,
justice isn’t really blind, she’s just hidden from sight.

11 FEB 2007

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The Libertine

You cannot win. It seems no matter
which way you progress
(to seek self-sacrifice for good,
or your own happiness),
the world will work against you
to undo what you have done.

It will erode your monuments
and interrupt your fun
with either condemnation
for the talents that you waste,
or horror at the way your talent’s used
beyond good taste.

To wit: should you choose sin
and find yourself in deep debauch,
you’ll be proclaimed a wretched soul
by those who only watch;
and virtue? that’s no better lot.

For should you speak your mind,
those holding power by wrong means
will take offense and find
some cause to treat you with contempt;
and with the line you’ve crossed
will spare no opportunity
to prove themselves your boss.

Perhaps the wisest course to pick
would be: stay underground,
refuse to share your wealth,
let your great talent stay unfound.

The world will think you “normal”,
worthy of no great alarm;
and if you’re lucky, your whole life
will do you little harm.

But then, your only enemy
will be the self you hide:
the talent that you must express,
that will not be denied.

So walk your path. It matters not
who praises which you take.

They’ll use tar to annoint you
for both feathers and the stake;
both ridicule and persecute,
should you step out of line
and either let your talent rot,
or cut an edge too fine
that it offends the sense of those
who claim to be your peers
yet think your life, in either case,
the sum of wasted years.

19 AUG 2006

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Thoughts on the 9/11 Report

Well, I have done it. Purchased the “official” 9/11 report. And read it through, at least at this time on a cursory level. I will re-read it in detail, of course.

There are a few things that trouble me. They are as follows:

1. A war on terrorism will not succeed. That is because terrorism is the symptom, not the cause. The cause is a state of global affairs that gives rise to the belief that terrorism is, for many, a justifiable and perhaps the only viable alternative to advance their agenda to the point where it will be considered.

2. If we are to engage the problem of alternatives to terrorism for those who now employ it as their sole means of communication, we have to start looking hard at the fact that we are a single human family. National “rights”, and boundaries, really must have no meaning if we are to address, fairly and honestly, the grievances of one group of people versus another. The fact is, that as a human species, we are in effect a single family — albeit in some cases only distant cousins.

This makes EVERY war in effect a civil war. Brother against brother — for the majority of religions on this planet accept as one of their tenets some degree of universal brotherhood.

3. With respect to that universal brotherhood. The United States must make a statement to the world, and must lead the other “so-called” civilized nations in one very important point. We must accept Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Druidism, Wiccanism, Sufism, Voodoo, Santeria, Ba’hai, Sikhism, Confucianism, Atheism, and all the rest, as absolutely equally viable paths to that exclusively human (at least, human-claimed, for none of the other species that have evolved and existed for millions of years on this planet have found it necessary to indulge in the nuances of comparative theology) province, enlightenment. If we are capable of being enlightened (as we claim), then we need to accomplish it. That means returning spiritual truth where it belongs — to each and every individual.

4. We need to focus our resources not on exerting our influence through military might, or covert operation, or corporate interest, but through demonstration of our principles by enforcing them upon ourselves. Eliminate special interests. Eliminate preconceived biases. Restore (or, rather, considering our own systematic programs of terrorism that checker our own historical national agenda — vis a vis the Comanches, for exampl?) “justice for all.” Not justice that meets our needs or serves the expediency of the moment, but justice that punishes our friends when guilty, and praises our enemies when they are courageous and in the right.

5. Finally, we need to think long and hard about something that G.I. Gurdjieff once said, that was almost echoed in Obama’s recent speech at the Democratic convention: “As long as a single person is in prison, no one is free.” No matter what the reason — because prison population, like terrorism, is a symptom. And to address the cause, we cannot continue to just build more prisons and graveyards. Or schools that teach rigid ways of looking at the world. Or churches that preach hatred and xenophobia in the guise of building their own brand of “chosen people” to pit against the rest of the world.

Ah, I could go on.

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Jury of My Peers

The Fiction of a jury of my peers:
to think that there are twelve more just like me,
who’ll be available should I require
their patient ears and minds to keep me free.

To be complete, the dozen must include
not only those who’ve walked my walk, but more:
the ones who might have done it, but refrained;
a couple souls that chose alternate means;

perhaps another who went far afield,
whose situation started where I stand;
a few who should have made it to this point,
but found their progress blocked by chance, or place.

To truly be a twelfth of what I am
each member of this elite group will be
an equal coward, hero, sage or fool:
my other selves of possibility.

15 MAR 2004

Peer: a person who is an equal in social standing, rank, age, etc., example: to be tried by one’s peers [ETYMOLOGY: 14th Century: from Old French per, from Latin par equal]

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Oh Bard, Come Sing: the official Welsh meters

Oh Bard, release your sacred song
to heal these hurts and ways gone wrong! (cyhydedd fer)

Let loose thy harp strings, filled with untamed woe;
go deeply, cut to the heart –
For it is there our wounds start. (englyn penfyr)

Release from our lost stronghold
the strength of our hidden soul –
Let it our hearts console. (englyn milwr)

With words forged of the land and sea and sky,
let fly at disbelief;
Give to us no pause for grief,
Without giving, too, relief. (englyn unodl union)

Cleanse our souls with balanced hand,
so we may form a true land;
Purge our unspoken fears and mingled hate
That we may understand (englyn unodl crwca))
our place in this living world:
the grain of sand, and the pearl,
that connects us true and sure
to wisdom’s pure, hidden pool. (englyn proest dalgron)

Bard, give us light, burn us through
until we each have had enough;
for in great darkness we have trod
and now must seek the morning. (englyn lledfbroest)

Give rise to winds and change this weather,
teach us hope, that we can never
let loose of this life’s bright tether –
tell us this gloom won’t last forever. (englyn proest gadwynog)

Softly, let your song uncoil
and fill our eyes with salt tears;
anoint our heroes with oil,
and give them praise through the years. (aydl gywydd)

Gently, play your harp anon,
and give us dreams to build on;
Let there be Music and song
to give us back what is gone: (cywydd deuair hirion)
a rousing tune,
of earth and moon,
to guide us all
from this great fall
and with its song
help us belong. (cywydd deuair fyrion)

If we are young, or aged with years,
if simple, elegant or wise,
far or near, to each one sing
of peace, and harmony give voice,
that our life’s spirit may rejoice,
and see beauty in all things. (cywydd llosgyrnog)

For dark the night
that finds us here,
and none too clear
the path ahead –
Our rage now builds
against cruel fate
and will not wait
for dawn’s bright tread. (rhupunt)

Teach us of patience through this gloom,
our minds are filled with pending doom;
with no compass we cannot steer,
so dark fear rules our broken hearts. (byr a thoddiad)

Remind us of our human need,
to reach out, healing those that bleed;
and our gifts divine,
let us intertwine –
pour your wine;
our souls, feed. (clogyrnach)

For in these dark days, we must all think
that together, we shall stand or sink;
and in these hours, here upon the brink,
there is not time to guess, or to blink –
we must find a well and share this drink,
reach out in brotherhood and relink. (cyhydedd naw ban)

So Bard, speak out strong
your healing in song!
Correct us if wrong
and give us aid.
Sing us your refrain
of joy and of pain,
and help us contain
what fear has made. (cyhydedd hir)

For we must not hide from the coming day,
locked away, far from the living earth;
The whole of humanity must be joined,
and each value the coin of rebirth. (toddaid)

And in your song, Bard, let us be cleansed;
let us see truth anew through your lens.
Help us to seek balance among new friends,
and work as a whole to make amends. (gwadodyn)

For each is to blame for this darkness –
each sees in themselves not a weakness,
but thinks they are chosen, blessed and more,
and justice is left out by the door.
Each border and boundary marks us,
and gives us each excuses for war. (gwaydodyn hir)

So comfort us not with worn, false pretense,
but send us our disenfranchised ones hence,
let us hear their voiced rebel dissent,
and remind us of truths, self-evident –
for we have come too far along this path
using ignorance as our sole defense. (hir a thoddaid)

Then sing ye, Bard, hold back naught –
show us what our seed hath wrought;
this silence will inform us not
of the heart’s cause we forgot.
Show mercy to those who fought;
Give thanks to those who peace brought.
We listen! We who are now caught
and lost in this evil plot. (cyrch a chwta)

We need to hear
where we have strayed;
We are afraid –
you must be strong.
Now, from our fear,
where dreams die hard,
we beg thee, Bard:
release thy song! (tawddgyrch cadwynog)

16 SEP 2001

My last poem of the day reminded me, in its rallying cry to the world’s poets and singers, of a piece that I wrote shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. I am a Druid by religion, a Musician by vocation, a Philosopher by inclination, and a Bard by sheer determination.

While I am far from a reconstructionist (meaning I do not think it practicable or useful to reconstruct the practices of an earlier culture in order to merely mimic the way that that culture approached their spirituality), there are a number of things about the Celtic peoples of the past that to me are very powerful. Primary among these things is that the poets of the Celtic peoples had real influence and a kind of power to direct the culture. People who were able to connect with the spirit of the world and distill that experience in verse, narrative or other poetic means were revered and treasured. I am saddened that in our culture today this is not also the case. But I am hopeful that this too shall pass.

After the tragedy of September 11, I thought it was high time that the bards began to assert their rightful place in helping the healing process, in directing our future evolution, and in guiding those who sought after truth and wisdom. I composed a poem of twenty-four stanzas, with each stanza using a different one of the twenty four “official” Welsh bardic meters, that I hoped would offer some small start in that process. It certainly has focused my attention. I hope that it finds you, singers of songs, and dreamers of dreams, well and in good spirits.

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