Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It has been about a month since our election and the sparks are still flying.
On a broader basis, sparks are flying all over the world. Major political change has become a fact of life in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and South America.

We also are seeing Earth rebelling. Climates are doing crazy things, and  even the tectonic plates seem to be grumbling about what a mess we are creating.

Internally, the United States has been ignoring building pressures for years. We have let the rust belt rust, and allowed social pressure to rise to a level where the country is pushing itself apart instead of pulling itself together.

Many intelligent people are saying and writing things that will embarrass them in years to come as they fall victim to the influenza of over-reaction.

The world seems to be in a downward spin that has left most of its citizens dizzy and nauseous. News clips flash by of constant war, religious zealotry, homeless millions caught in the maelstrom, precious capital used to blow things up instead of building homes and factories and infrastructure.

And yet in some respects we are better off than ever. We are seeing wonderful advances in technology, medicine, healthcare and food production. To paraphrase Dickens, “it is the best of times, the worst of times”. And we need to understand both.

We are also reminded on this date of what a horrible place the world can become when we are forced into deciding events by destruction and chaos. Most of us truly want to find a way through all of the many issues and emerge in a place where we each have a chance to raise our children in peace and prosperity. It may seem out of reach right now, but we are in the season where hope should be a transcendent emotion. Perhaps we need miracles. Perhaps we just need to deescalate some of the rancor and take one step at a time towards healing.

In that spirit, I offer the following Christmas Prayer which is derived from a similar prayer In the Cat’s Eye (Snap Screen Press, 2009).

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you may celebrate, and may we find a way to a more peaceful and happy new year.

Glenn K. Currie

 

                        Christmas Prayer


We live in a world,
Where people do unto each other,
The most horrible things.

Please help us to find a way,
To silence the hatred and animosity,
To end the explosions of hearts and minds.

Send to us a gentle breeze,
That can blow away,
The smoke that blinds the soul.

In this season,
 Help us to begin to find,
That gift born within each of us.

The light, the glow,
Emitted by the human spirit,
That reaches to the farthest stars.

That quiet flame that illuminates the path,
To a promised land of
 Peace on Earth, Goodwill to men.
.

 



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Everyone needs to take a breath. The recent election isn’t going to turn America into a world of hate unless we let it. Trump was never what the left defined him as in the election. That was standard election stuff which they do in every race. Republicans are always immediately branded as stupid, racist, Nazis and hateful towards women. That doesn’t mean that Trump isn’t an egotistical blowhard who isn’t the best choice to run our country. But, the public was faced with two poor candidates and they chose the outsider instead of the business-as-usual candidate.

The Democrats need to blame themselves for this loss. Many in their normal base were hurting because of the economy, and were tired of being ignored. While the rust belt workers who were the core of the Blue Wall were dealing with poor schools, lost jobs, declining infrastructure and a feeling of abandonment by their party, the primary focus in Washington seemed to be issues that weren’t even on the radar screen of the workers in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Instead of spending time listening to their problems, the conversations in the Swamp were all about more immigration and transgender bathroom rights.

This was combined with such a sense of derision towards these “deplorables” that the party dismissed the “make America great again” group as a bunch of no hope losers. The “fly-over” country was just that: places they flew over and ignored.

This country will see some change in the next few months. But it will be mostly about finally focusing on the needs and fears of the middle class and middle America. Assuaging these concerns is necessary and will be done with or without the cooperation of many Democrats. They should get on board with things that help these people. The 60,000,000 million who voted for Trump did so because they had lost hope. They are predominantly ordinary Americans who are dealing with huge changes in their lives and are trying to find a place for themselves and their children. They need to be treated with at least as much concern as the immigrants of the world.

Our country and our infrastructure need a little tender, loving care and feeding. We can’t solve the problems of the world if the ground is crumbling under our own feet.

Our nation needs to lower the rhetoric and fix our problems. Donald Trump is basically the same person who was a big favorite of liberal Democrats a few years ago when he was hosting their parties and financing campaigns like Senator Schumer’s. The fact that he saw the world starting to come apart and, somehow, from his own ivory tower, heard the cries from the middle class, doesn’t mean that you should immediately believe the standard hate speech that is attached to every Republican who runs for office. Trump has a lot of issues. He has always been an entitled, somewhat crass, headline-hunting boor, who believes his own publicity. But he also brings a fresh look to America’s problems, and he is blessed with a Congress that might allow him to do a few productive things. And there is always the chance that the office will grace him with a little humility. It has done that in the past, allowing us to ignore all the foibles of Bill Clinton, in return for his willingness to listen to the needs of the electorate.


The Democrats blew this election. They can be bitter for a little while. But in the end our country needs some change and, if they really still care about the middle class worker, they should get on board to help them.

Glenn K. Currie

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Sometimes we forget what a wonderful place we are blessed with in our country. We have this broad mix of major cities and their suburbs, small towns tucked away in a rural America that is representative of the origins of our nation, farmlands that help feed the world, and vast stretches of land that are basically untouched and which provide a beauty that is breathtaking.

It is hard to appreciate this sometimes when we are inundated with steady news programs that emphasize the worst in our country, and a political atmosphere that has left us all feeling a little dirty.

But when we step back from that, I have the feeling that there is a place for all of us, if we are smart enough to find it.

For me, I found my place as I was traveling back to Houston from a business trip that had taken me halfway around the world.  I looked out across America from 30,000 feet and knew that I wanted to be part of one of those smaller communities that passed quietly and sedately beneath our wings.

Places is a poem that I wrote about 31 years ago. It was first published in Daydreams (Snap Screen Press) in 2004. I think, for all of us, it is useful to step back from the world and give ourselves some time to think about our individual lives and the decisions we make.

I have never doubted the one I made on that aircraft. I hope you all find what is right for you.

Glenn K. Currie


                                                                         Places
                                                                       
We were chasing the sun
Across the country.
But we were too slow.

Now we fly in its wake
Breathing a trail,
In the gathering darkness.

Below, appearing in the dusk,
Are dollhouse clusters,
Of warm lights.

Small worlds, where evening comes
At measured pace.
Embraced with pleasure.

Towns where people walk,
Looking up to see
Pastel streaks in the sky.

Places without names,
Quickly fading.
Lost behind the horizon.

Places that never knew,
That they were lost.
But hope they won’t be found.




Monday, October 3, 2016

Ephemera are the things we use in life and then usually throw away. They aren’t made to endure. They might include newspapers, old letters, cereal boxes, posters, playing cards, common utensils, dishes, lunch boxes, photos, inexpensive furniture, or even children’s toys.

I believe that these types of items, when we can find them from previous eras, are much more interesting and useful in understanding the people of a period, than the staid statues, old buildings and generally sterile books that try to recreate the times.

I suggest that people keep this in mind when they sort through the stuff in their attic or basement. Often, people will find old letters, photos and other items that had special meaning to a previous generation. Millennials seem to be a generation of non-savers. Everything important is in their smart phones or in the cloud, and they may have a tendency to discard these things. As they get older, however, they may realize that they have thrown away the very things that will help them to better understand their lives. These tangible connections to their ancestors are often useful guideposts to who they are.

When we each look in the mirror, we see a collective piece of our ancestors. Understanding a little bit about these pieces, can help all of us to find our way on our own life’s journey.

I am including below a poem, Reflections from In the Cat’s Eye ( Snap Screen Press, 2009). It is about tangible connections and, also, our own quest for a measure of immortality.

Glenn K. Currie

                               Reflections


I bought the mirror for my daughter,
A month after she was born.
Now it leaned against the eaves,
In a far corner of the attic,
No longer used for capturing images.
Life’s blades had chipped away at the edges,
And a century of dust
Cast a veil across the glass.
I watched the young woman gaze into it,
Eyes bright and full of hope,
Smiling through the haze.
I smiled back,
From behind the glass,

And blew her a kiss.

Friday, September 23, 2016

I am 73 today and like most of us I'm happy to be celebrating another birthday. But I also realize that we never know how many more we will be fortunate enough to enjoy. I have continued to write quite a bit and have been told by many that they feel my poetry is better than ever. I hope that is true and I will continue to post old and new poems as well as comments on life and the world as long as readers seem to be enjoying it. I would, however, appreciate a little feedback on what you find you like best on the site. Please send me some feedback to glennkc@aol.com.
Thank you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Just a brief note on some good news. My poem, String of Hearts, just won  first place in the latest New Hampshire Poetry Society contest. I will put it up on the blog as soon as it has been published by The Poets Touchstone.
Also, Around Concord Magazine, just did a three page color piece on my poetry and photography in their fall (current) edition. The article and some additional poems can be found at www.aroundconcord.com and also is on my Facebook page.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


One of the interesting things about the state of affairs in the world, is how the vestiges of colonialism and imperialism continue to impact international events.

We see it in the illogical demarcation lines in the Middle East, the wreckage in much of Africa, the mixed messages in the United States towards Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico, and the many scars left by Spain throughout Central and South America.

The British Empire was probably the most successful in gradually evolving from an empire into a Commonwealth of Nations. But they, too, had many failures as evidenced by their impacts in the Arab world, Kenya, South Africa, Pakistan, India and Ireland. And even in places where they had a somewhat successful presence, they had much for which to apologize.

I traveled a great deal in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, and had a chance to see, first hand, the transition of many of these places from colonies to nations. It was a bittersweet period. The world was changing faster than our ability to adapt.

On one of those early trips, I wrote a variety of poems about the places we visited. They were almost all post-colonial parts of the Middles East and Africa. I saw the beauty of the Seychelles, the poverty of the Sudan and Eritrea/Ethiopia, the confusion of post Mau-Mau Kenya, the barren emptiness of al-Masira, Oman, the developing storm in Aden, and the magnificence of the Suez Canal.

It was an interesting testament to the long term ramifications of what we do as nations and as citizens of the world. It was once said that “the sun never sets on the British Empire” and it was true. But the sun eventually sets on all of us. We are currently creating more issues for our children to resolve: more issues that actually had their origins in this same era of empire-building. Great anger and many actions remain to be resolved. We need to ask ourselves if what we are doing is rebuilding a better world or creating future nightmares. We will all be judged by what we leave behind for future historians, and even poets,that  to analyze.

Since much of what I have written today involves the Middle East, I will leave you with a poem Entering the Gulf (Daydreams, Snap Screen Press, 2004) I wrote at the time, and which involves a great deal of symbolism. I do believe, however, that my comments from 1966 have stood the test of time.

Glenn K. Currie


Entering the Gulf


The ocean’s surface boiled,
Alive with red sea snakes,
Wildly striking out at
The churning of our wake.

The foam grew thick with blood,
Welling up from below,
Hell’s gates broken open,
Releasing venom’s flow.

These serpents seemed to guard
The entrance to this sea,
Warning those who pass here,
“This blood will flow from thee”.

Suddenly they were gone,
The Persian Gulf lay dead,
Silence like a gunshot,
So quick the vision shed.

The quiet like a veil,
Drawn o’er the Earth and sky,
An eerie, empty mask,
Concealing angry eyes.

The land then came in view,
It’s rage burning the air,
Desert sands spewing flames,
Black blood flowing everywhere.




Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Susanne and I just returned from two weeks visiting the Maritime Provinces of Canada. The climate was perfect, the food was great and nobody seemed to care about conflicts of interest, bribes, emails or Trumpisms.

It’s been a little warm since we got back here in New Hampshire but it’s supposed to get a little warm in August.

The fish are jumping and the corn is high. Corn is important here. There is nothing better than New Hampshire sweet corn grown in northern New England and freshly picked.

To my readers from overseas, and there seem to be a lot of you, I would suggest a trip to New Hampshire that runs anytime from mid-August until mid-October. You have a chance to eat some truly wonderful fresh produce, take some spectacular photos and watch the world change colors.

Did you know that the state of New Hampshire has more land under forest now than it had two hundred years ago? If the world is starting to feel a little crowded, we provide a great change of pace.

We have been invaded by a few city folk who want to make us just like New York or Massachusetts, but, fortunately, the majority have worked to maintain our special status. We are a population that likes to find its own path, and refuses to be stampeded onto the crowded paths. We cherish independence, ethical living and the use of common sense. I hope we can sustain that despite all the negative vibrations that emanate from much of the world around us.

Sometimes it is easy to lose perspective in our lives. I wrote a poem a few years ago, Wandering in Cemeteries (Riding in Boxcars, Snap Screen Press, 2006), that will, perhaps, remind us of what is important.

Glenn K. Currie


                  Wandering in Cemeteries


Monuments to those,
Who spent their lives
Worrying.
Living in comas.
Hidden now
Beneath the covers.

Monuments to those
Who raged inanely.
Angry at the weather,
Or the news.
Passions wasted,
On passing storms.

Monuments to those
Burning their lives away
In the furnace
Of somedays.
Ashes carefully saved
In time’s vault.

Monuments to those
Seeking immortality.
Striving for greatness,
Interrupted in their quest.
Their only mantles,
The first snow.

A city of souls,
Filled with regrets.
Unfinished stories,
Written in stone.
Read by those
Wandering in cemeteries.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I haven’t written much lately because I honestly didn’t know what to say.
I am depressed by the state of our country. We seem to be incapable of understanding the world outside of our borders, and we seem to be incapable of understanding each other.

Instead of coming together when we are threatened, we make ourselves even more vulnerable by turning into a bunch of bickering groups more intent on the destruction of each other than the safety and welfare of our country.

It all seems to be about what goodies the government can provide, or what controls the government should put on our private lives. Here’s a message for all of you. If Sharia Law becomes the law of the land, you won’t be getting any goodies and you won’t have private lives. I know, you think that can never happen. Well, if we keep fighting among ourselves, belittling our military and police, and pretending that we are impregnable to outside and inside threats, we will wake up one day, ruled by someone who isn’t afraid to make decisions and hates everything we stand for, which, by the way, isn’t very much anymore.

Our leadership in Washington over the last two decades has been dreadful. We wobble among the choices of incompetent, ineffective and embarrassing. And what do we get from our political parties in this crucial period? They have basically fled the scene. We were hoping for candidates who could bring strong character, leadership, competence, common sense, logic and an ability to unite our nation. Instead we have two people who are self-serving, untrustworthy, partisan, vengeful and downright scary to most of the public.

I don’t even know what to hope for at this point. We are coming apart at the seams, and our designated new leadership would rather dance on each other’s graves than look for ways to form a common front against outside threats, and work to recreate our national sense of unity.

I don’t have any answers. Our political parties and our voters have betrayed us. No matter who wins in November, we will be poorer as a nation. We have chosen to be angry, greedy, grasping, vengeful, petty, untrustworthy and unforgiving in our choices and put ourselves in a position where the entire world is afraid of the outcome. We should be ashamed of ourselves. And let’s hope that is the worst of it.

Sorry. I needed to get that off my chest. I will try to come back from a brief vacation with a renewed sense of humor and maybe some new poems.

Glenn K. Currie


Thursday, July 14, 2016

We spend a lot of time up at York Beach in the summer. It is one of the great vacation  places in the area for parents with kids in different age groups. No one needs a car to participate in the various attractions. There is a petting zoo, carnival, batting cage, several basketball courts, a large grassy area for frisby, wiffleball, soccer, etc, live bands in the gazebo in the evening, a total building dedicated to video games and skee ball, and bowling and go carts. It also has a terrific playground. But in the end the real attraction is a very gently declining beach that makes for great time for even the youngest beachgoers.

A while ago I put my observations of the beach residents into a piece that was used in the Concord Monitor. For those who may have missed it I include it here. It is also among the many pieces in Granite Grumblings (Snap Screen Press, 2011).

I hope you have some fun with it and I hope you have a chance to get to the beach this summer.

Glenn K. Currie

Getting Ready for the Beach



I have spent parts of the last thirty years at York Beach, Maine (sometimes also known as Concordville because so many Concord residents vacation there). It is a great place to go for a change of pace. I like the sounds of the ocean, the cool sea breezes, the excitement and activity of the area, and the ever-changing scenery (both on the water and the sand). For years, however, I have been trying to figure out what motivates individuals to spend all those hours actually lying on the beach. I couldn’t understand why theoretically normal and sane people would find pleasure in oiling themselves up, and then alternately frying themselves in the hot sand and freezing in the numbingly cold waters of the North Atlantic. I was unsuccessful in obtaining a government grant to pursue an analysis of this (apparently they were already over budget for theses kinds of projects). I decided, however, to continue with research on my own, as a service to my fellow man.

After years of study, and many long hours with the binoculars, I believe I have been able to classify, in general terms, some of those who seem so addicted to blistered skin, sand in intimate places, and heart-stopping, cold water baths. I thought it might be useful to share some of the results of this research with you prior to the arrival of the new beach season. This might allow you to better evaluate the situation if you, a normal person, were to suddenly find yourself surrounded by a broad cross-section of certifiable crazies at such a beach.

The following categories comprise the major groups of beach dwellers. They are listed in no particular order:

1)Polar Bears. There are people out there who actually like to swim in freezing water. Some of them can be seen on TV in the winter, diving into holes in the ice. This is part of their training program so that the York Beach water doesn’t seem too cold. I suspect that their brains were fried in a previous summer’s heat, and now they have the uncanny ability to actually thrive in water that makes the rest of us turn blue. Most of these people have been preparing for years for this test, their bodies are well-oiled, and the tide tends to rise when they go in.

2)Max-Tanners. These are people who use the beach to release their inhibitions. Many of them wouldn’t be caught dead in a revealing blouse on Main Street, but will basically strip down to their underwear as soon as they are standing on sand. The theoretical rationale is that this is the only way they can get a really good tan. The actual objectives vary from impressing boyfriends or girlfriends, to enjoying the sense of freedom and release that comes from running around nearly naked. There is a kind of selective amnesia related to this, and that is probably a good thing. It definitely adds life to the beach scene but can be a real mixed blessing. There are some cases where there is more to meet the eye than the eye is ready for.

3)Voyeurs. Many beach-goers fall into this category. They come to see everyone else. Unfortunately beach etiquette demands that they also wear bathing suits. This can be particularly unpleasant. One ameliorating factor with this group is that they burn easily and therefore often cover up fairly quickly. They also tend to have very short attention spans, except when confronted with world-class max-tanners. Since York Beach is not Malibu, they often get bored and hot, and wander into town to buy ice cream and add to their collection of ugly t-shirts.

4)Perpetual Motion Machines. A wide variety of kids add excitement and variety to the beach scene. These youngsters have been resting up all year for beach day. They are impervious to cold water, are quite good at warming up tidal pools, love to splash those who wander too close to the ocean, and kick sand in food and drinks as they run over bodies and drip on towels. They are relentless in their activities, never sleep and have great lungs, which help maintain a decibel level that appears essential to maintaining the chemistry of the beach.

5)Beasts of Burden. These are mostly out-of-shape fathers who are on an involuntary conditioning program. They don’t actually spend much time on the beach, but they can be seen making frequent trips between car or cabin and the established beachhead. They carry inner tubes, folding chairs, shovels, pails, towels, big hats, cushions, binoculars, beach umbrellas, radios, wagons, strollers, blankets and a wide assortment of toys. The kids mostly ignore this stuff and the mother generally is too busy to use it, but it definitely contributes color to the setting. Most of these trips are scheduled at the hottest part of the day.

6)Unofficial Assistant Lifeguard. There are always a few of these guys on the beach. They roam back and forth looking for their lost youth. They can be identified by the tiny little bathing suits that they wear, and the tendency to have more hair on their backs than on their heads.

7)Mummified Remains. These are veteran beach goers who were left out in the sun too long, and are now a permanent part of the landscape. They are there when you get there, and they are there when you leave. They never seem to move, and probably own that piece of beach by virtue of squatter’s rights. With luck, they will wake up before the guys with the metal detectors come by and try to grab their earrings and keys.

I hope that this summary of my years of beach study will be useful to you in understanding the dynamics of this primitive culture. Obviously, most of you do not fall into any of these categories, but are, instead, just normal, healthy people looking to get away from the hot weather. And if you are also interested in doing scientific studies of beach culture, York Beach is a pretty good place to start.