Daily Archives: June 15, 2005

Listening to Acid While Dropping Bob Dylan

The clocks were running, so no one could catch them
I saw tennis games canceled because of no love
There were clowns on the corner who couldn’t stop laughing
And birds who were dying because of their singing

The lights were all flashing, no one was offended
I saw trees who were leaving because of the summer
There were runners on First Avenue getting loaded
And bombs that were crying out to be exploded

The street was a madhouse, but no one committed
I saw signs that could speak but their spotlights were broken
There were children in diapers who cleaned their machine guns
And sitters who sat with their minds in the gutter

The trains were on time, but time wasn’t complaining
I saw computers dying from bad information
There were traders who traded and traitors who tumbled
And weakness exhalted and chastity humbled

The people felt lazy, lazy felt molested
I saw elephants’ memories and predators’ patience
There foxes that talked and a donkey that listened
And 10,000 crows that were speaking of slavery

The cattle were lowing, and someone was singing
I saw miracles cast out and devils invited
I saw water that walked and some ice that was melting
And half of a dozen that wanted its other

The cupboards were bare, and their nakedness covered
I saw Cain and young Abel embrace one another
There was beef on the altar and bread on the table
And Adam and Eve were locked up in the basement

The guns were ablazing, and no one was cooking
I saw mothers and daughters in graveyards and churches
There was room at the inn, but no bright star was shining
And the prophets were raising their cash in the city.

1991

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Thought for the Day

Grantland Rice (1880-1954) was a sportswriter for the New York Herald-Tribune. He was really one of the first, if not the first, famous sportscasters, immortalizing Knute Rockne’s Notre Dame squad as the “Four Horsemen” of the apocalypse, among other things, and coining many a pithy stanza along the way (e.g., “There’s no dearth of kindness in this world of ours; Only in our blindness we gather thorns for flowers.”). I imagine that his colorful commentary was often repeated by those growing up in the first part of the 20th century, particularly by boys like my father (born in 1928, the same year as Mickey Mouse). Such things leave great impressions. My father, for example, until his death often repeated something of Rice’s every now and again:

“When the one Great Scorer comes to score and writes against your name, He marks not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game.”

In other words, it’s the means that matter. Never the ends. That’s a good thing to bear in mind.

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If you would make a difference

So many look around the globe
and say, “How can I start
to help in what small way I can,
and find work with a heart?”

They look to spread their peace abroad,
and be more well received
than in their hometown neighborhoods,
if that can be believed.

If crime and hate and poverty
among the richly blessed
cannot be fought effectively,
what hope for all the rest?

If prisons, projects, trailerparks
and graveyards are the way
we bandage up our culture’s wounds,
what right have we to say

that our approach, our medicines,
our governments, our laws
are useful or appropriate
to correct others’ flaws?

If you would make a difference,
first, examine your own heart;
once your own house is in order,
then work down the block can start.

15 JUN 2005

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