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Nonsense.

15 Aug

Nonsense.

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

How’s it going?

Same old same old, with a sigh.

Ah. That good, huh?

The adages wear thin.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Well, the ball’s in your court, you know.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

What you’ve got, is what you’ve got.

The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Why do it today, when you can always do it tomorrow?

If you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it.

It ain’t over till it’s over.

You can’t bale water with a butterfly net.

Huh?

I made that up.

‘Bout as useless as a screen door on a submarine†.

Waste not, want not.

A penny saved is a penny earned.

If it can be imagined, it can be done.

Not on my watch.

Timex: takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

I can’t believe this isn’t butter.

See the USA, in a Chevrolet!

Wait!

What?

We’re off topic.

Which is?

Lessons in life.

I thought we were bantering in adages. We switched to ads somehow?

Some lessons in life are hard to learn.

Life can be hard. It’s easier to banter.

It is what it is.

What it is?

What it shall be.

What it possibly could have been?

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

The early bird catches the worm.

Goodnight everybody.*

Goodnight Momma.*

Goodnight Ben.*

Goodnight everyone.*

Goodnight Momma. Goodnight Daddy.*

Goodnight children.*

Goodnight Daddy. Goodnight Elizabeth.*

Goodnight John Boy. Goodnight Jim Bob. Goodnight Jim Bob!*

GOODNIGHT JIM BOB!*

What’s goin’ on? I was asleep. What’s everybody doin’?*

GOODNIGHT JIM BOB!*

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?**

† “Screen Door,” Rich Mullins.
*ABC television series, The Waltons, 1972 – 1981
** “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell.

 

Good Intentions

22 Jul

Good Intentions

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

He bought a used acoustic
And a Washburn mandolin
With thoughts of playing sixties tunes
On sidewalks of a mountain town
Where snow geese flocked from all around
To shop the shops for pottery
And other artsy craft;

His will to see it through
Was like his previous grandiose plans
And he hung his instruments on the wall
To either side of the pendulum clock
Which had tocked its last years before
And though the clockman swore by his skills
The pendulum remained quite still
As did the used acoustic
And the Washburn mandolin.

 

The Drink

23 May

The Drink

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

He dipped deeply into her fantasy
Drawing the ladle of golden liquid to his lips
His nostrils flared, awakened by its effervescence
And drank as she watched
Smiling at him
Tenuously patience till the draught was finally drained
Yet remained cool with expectation
Even haughty in her look
“Cheers!” said he
“Cheers!” said she

I used to yearn for coming Spring

2 Mar

I used to yearn for coming Spring

(A remembrance of Columbine, Blacksburg and Boston)

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

I used to yearn for coming Spring
Its all-things fresh, and fragrant, and full;
Erupting through thawed earth,
Newly fertilized by cold and frozen things,
The ring of bell-like blooms
Of blue and red and yellow and white
Creating day from darkest night
The New out of the Old.

Yet, as thawed mountain snows
Rush through down-curling arteries
To quench the warmth-starved lands below
They seem to re-deem the time from things that grow
To things that know no bounds;
That do not hesitate to loose their rounds
Of hate and monstrous deeds
Upon young and old alike
They strike — juxtaposed against sweet renewal days —

I pause, while breathing in the newness once again
Renewing, yet knowing, once again why
I used to yearn for coming Spring
Yet remember why I hesitate to bring
Myself to full embrace of that time I used to hold so dear.

 

2 Samuel 11:1
In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war …

The man in the valley below is firing his gun once again

2 Mar

 

image

The man in the valley below is firing his gun

once again

By L. Stewart Marsden

The man in the valley below is firing his gun once again,
A slow but steady cadence that echoes on and on,
The reports bouncing off the nearby ridges and beyond.

I think — a mountain man —
Angry, preparing for the coming storm,
Or rich and bored, perhaps.

The cost of ammo must be more than I can afford —
All that brass and lead and gunpowder carefully, precisely packed —
Because I have to ask.

He breaks his monotone drip-drip-drip drill
With sudden, quick bursts of blam-blam-blam-blam-blam-blam
Rapid fire.

And I wonder,
Semi-?
Or automatic?

And where do those bullets go?
Slamming into black and white targets hung low?
Concentric circles, flapping in the crisp mountain breeze?

Do they smash tin or glass?
Pulverizing metal or shattering shards into the air
Where they catch the late sunlight like a fragile prism?

Dividing rays into rainbows?
Colorful and beautiful in their own assaulted way?
As the gunfire finally subsides for the day?

He has sheathed his weapon and stowed his bullets
Examined his targets with grimace or grin
The man in the valley below has finished firing his gun

Once again.

Fear Ice

1 Mar

image

Fear Ice

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

It’s frozen tendrils wrapped his heart at first
Then gripped his feet to meld his soles to soil,
And pierced his soul with long accusing fingers

The Fear Ice pulled him to its gaping maw
Hot white teeth gnashing to feast on his resolve
Dissolve his bravado in its cold, blank acid-filled belly

Reduce him to quivering, whimpering lack-of-backbone jelly
And roar the victory accusations:
“You aren’t,” “you can’t,” “you never will!”

As when a child, from under dark things and in darker corners
The Fear Ice had awaited him,
Reminding him, “You are mine.”

Yet the boy-man turned,
And burned with flame barely aglow
“I shall die, I know, but I shall not be dying when I go!”

“And you shall not sway over me
“And I will have the last to say
“No matter how you pierce or grip or roar!”

The Fear Ice shrank back to its lair of dark
And all but melted there,
Then turning from the boy, a man, to seek another.

 

1 Peter 5:8 (KJV)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
Note: but for an extra vowel, “e,” the letters in the title Fear Ice can be rearranged to spell “fierce.”

Gerry M. Andering

24 Feb

Gerry M. Andering

By L. Stewart Marsden

 

Gerry M. Andering was lithe and spry
And could squeeze and bend
Into the smallest of space
With little or no waste
To achieve his desired end
Which was to touch only certain-shaped spots
Where he amassed his great wealth
Through his stealth and his agile turns;

Almost boneless, was he,
Fluid-like and free to jiggle and wiggle
Without any constraints
He did paint such odd shapes
In his Rorschach-like ways
That he guaranteed days
To the kings of the hills
While the rest could just fuss, fume and burn.

Life as We Know It

18 Feb

Life as We Know It

By L. Stewart Marsden

“Life as we know it,”
said the astronomer, searching the vast universe for something familiar;
said the archeologist, knee-deep in dusty layers of time and civilized ruins;
said the preacher, couching expressions in holy-coded phrases for the elect few;
said the white baby boomer, recalling the “better days” of lemonade years;
said the ghetto-garrisoned teenaged mother, already tired of dried lemons;
said the match-hunter, newly-divorced and out “in the market” once more;
said the far-from-home soldier, carefully walking the debris of a war-torn village.

“Life as we know it,”
in an alien land, crossing the street to the other side of town;
wondering how do people live like that?
believe-that-way-say-such-things-behave-that-way-be-so-stupid?

on the one side,
“Life as we know it,”
not concerned with food or rent or transportation — just,
shrimp scampi or filet mignon, which neighborhood and whether gated or not, or which hue Lexus with what latest gadgets, which university — public or private?

or

on the other side
“Life as we know it,”
wondering to spend on groceries or rent or electricity or gas or weed,
or will the next moment bring anger or shouting or drunken abuse,
community college or county jail?

“Life as we know it,”
under the threat of imminent change …
or the more likelihood of no change at all?

When “Please” Doesn’t Cut It

29 Jan
Credit: fullyalivecoaching.wordpress.com

Credit: fullyalivecoaching.wordpress.com

When “Please” Doesn’t Cut It
(A parenting/political dilemma)

By  L. Stewart Marsden

 

Polite, at first
Then, more insistent …
Please!
(Wanting the best from what seems the worst)
Angered, frustrated
Adding, “I said
To ears that don’t hear;
To someone who’s hell-bent-for-leather
And whether or not they can even abate it —
The weight of their actions
So fearful and ponderous —
Its consequence thundering down and upon us?
The please, being so proper, so very polite
Is not quite enough.
Please doesn’t cut it; it’s too civil — not tough;
And when “please” doesn’t cut it
It’s time to draw lines.
And where lines have been drawn,
And when lines have been crossed,
Please just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The Lonely King

27 Jan

image

 

In 1685, King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fontainebleau. The Edict of Nantes provided certain religious and economic freedoms to the Huguenots, French protestants. With the revocation, Louis came down hard on Huguenots, demanding they recant their religion and convert to Catholicism, or else. The or else included loss of property, imprisonment for males, seclusion in convents for the women, torture and a variety of types of execution, including beheading and burning at the stake.

Numbers are debatable, but between 200,000 and 250,000 Huguenots fled France, many crossing the Atlantic to resettle in America. Charles Towne in now South Carolina was one of those destinations. Those who left represented about one percent of the population of France.

Two similarities strike me from that day and age to the present: the “ramrodding” of power by Louis, and the Huguenot diaspora, which included some of the most intelligent and creative French of the day.

A friend, considering (however seriously) leaving the US for places less antagonistic, got me to thinking. The poem below is the result of that cogitation (I apologize in advance for its poor literary quality):

 

The Lonely King

by Yours Truly

 

There was once a king
Who sat on his throne
Surveying his great and vast kingdom.
From the East to the West
To the ends of the earth
His realm could be equaled by none.

“Jester!” said he
To a motley-dressed clown
“Bring my fiddlers — I’m bored and want sound!”
But the clown,
With a frown, said
“Your fiddlers aren’t here,
Sire, they all have left town
And there’s no more sweet sound
To be found all around.”

“Left town? The lot of them?”

“Yes, Sire. The lot of them, sad to say,
Have amscrayed this place
Which is why there’s no music
To call for, Your Grace.”

“Why would they go and leave me alone?”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” said the clown to the king on his throne.

“Then bring me my choir, and bid them to sing!”

“Your Worshipful, that, alas, too, is a shame,
For all of your choristers — sopranos to altos,
Tenors to basses —
Have left your vast kingdom for far away places
So remote that some don’t even have names.”

“And my servants and wise men?”

“Please don’t despise them,
But they’ve all left the kingdom as well.”

“But WHY then? Why have they left me here all alone?
To mourn and to moan all alone on my throne?”

“But I am still here!” said the motley-dressed jester,
“And I’ll entertain you so your sadness won’t fester,
And agree with your wisdom and all your decrees
And serve you while groveling down on my knees!
There’s nobody else you need, if you please,
But motley-dressed, dancing clown, silly old me!”

The king sighed a sigh, and nodded,”You’re right.
Those silly old fiddlers, those out-of-tune singers,
Those supposedly-wise wise men,
Those fat, needy people, all stupid and lazy —
Why together they drove this king crazy all day and all night!

“I’m far better off here alone and without them!
Here on my throne with my kingdom about me.

“Who needs all that so-called music? Who needs the riff-raff?
I’m far better off alone on my throne
with my beautiful hand-carved elephant tusk staff
To decree my decrees with a sneer and a laugh.”

To wit, he said, to the clown kneeling there,

“Get me my quill and my parchment post-haste.
I’ve a decree to declare — why there’s no time to waste!”

And he whiled the days on his throne all alone,
(The exception, of course, was his true, loyal clown)
And made his decrees which the clown did declare
To the large empty kingdom, with pomp and with flair.

Disclaimer:
Any similarities between the King and any person living in the District of Columbia on Pennsylvania Avenue are purely, most sincerely, absolutely coincidental. And that’s the purely, most sincerely absolutely alternative Truth!

***