Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Blog- Uncut Hay


Those of you who have read Ball of String may wonder about why I included a poem of an event from the Civil War in a book of reflections from my life.

Sometimes we forget how closely connected we are to events that seem deep in the past. But it’s deceptive. Something that occurred 154 years ago is only one degree of separation from me as I write this.

My great, great grandmother lived with us when I was growing up. She had raised my mother and her three siblings, and in 1949, at the age of ninety-four, she often sat with me at age six and would tell me stories from her youth.

One of those stories was of when she was a young girl living in upstate Maine and watched the soldiers coming home from the Civil War. She talked about how they seemed like hollow shells, as they made the long walks back to their homes.

I have thought about her comments for years, and how it related to my own observations from the wars of my life. This is the basis for including “Uncut Fields” in my book.

The poem is about the aftermaths, the wreckage, that seems to follow every war, even the ones we think of as the “good wars”.

“Uncut Hay” is about the struggles of our survivors, the soldiers and the families, and all the potential from those who never returned…all the uncut hay that is never harvested in a world that is always the loser.

I hope you like the poem and understand why I have decided to include it in Ball of String.

May we find a way to avoid this kind of wreckage in the future.

Glenn K. Curie


1865-Fields of Uncut Hay


She stood barefoot in the dirt road
Watching a blue scarecrow approach.
The straw was missing from one arm,
And his bearded face framed eyes
That had seen too many fires,
Leaving them the color of ash.

Dust devils swirled around his legs,
Trying to swallow him, but their assaults
Fell beneath his plodding steps.
He passed the little girl without a word,
Disappearing slowly over the hill,
One of many ghosts, haunting the land.

She stomped her foot in the road,
Making the dust flee on the breeze.
Then she sat down by the white oak tree
And weaved a bracelet from the uncut hay.
Her father said he would meet her here,
When he came home from the war.

Copyright 2019 Glenn K. Currie



Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Skywriter


Skywriting


Anytime a writer puts his work out there to the public, he or she is exposing a piece of themselves that people often hide. It is especially true with poets. They are usually revealing a part of their soul.

It is a layer reveal that we take with trepidation, as we make ourselves vulnerable to an unpredictable environment. It is also exciting, however, like the brief moment when we first decide to go skinny-dipping on a deserted beach. The covers are off and we are as we were born.

My latest book, Ball of String, took about ten years to put together. It isn’t only about the writing and selecting of the poems. It is about determining what is ready. A typical poet probably revises a poem fifteen or twenty times or more, and we never know when it is finished. The end result may be totally different from what we start with, and each iteration usually involves putting it out to a small group of readers who are expected to find fault. We also sometimes enter poems in blind contests where we will get positive or negative reinforcement in the results. Every judge is different and every reader has preferences in style and form. All of this helps to decide what works may relate well to readers.

In my case, I also have found that collections of poetry work better if they are infused with some color that can bring the reader into a poetic world that has not been enticing to many modern readers. I direct most of my poems to subjects that are relevant to the lives of all of us, and I want to present an attractive product.

The color photos that I use in my books are all my own. I take a great deal of time searching for subjects that will relate to the poetry. This is often difficult because many poems are ethereal by nature and deserve a little shelter from a world that judges too quickly.

My photos are sometimes designed to bring a little humor to the book. Most usually just poke around the edge of the poem, and require the reader to actually do some work to see where the combination is going.

I am pleased and proud of Ball of String. It is a commentary of a lifetime passage as I have seen it develop, but it is also a gradual reflection of how all of us are connected to each other not only through our genes but through our interdependence as we live on this big ball of string.

In a world that is changing so fast, I have often felt like the “Skywriter” in my book. I float alone above a place I no longer fully understand. And I search for a familiar place to land. Ball of String is that place for me. I hope you like it.

May you all have a wonderful holiday.

The Skywriter


He climbed slowly into the weathered biplane,
Whispering to it in the late afternoon cold.
The engine coughed a tired greeting
Then settled into a rhythmic beat
That carried them into an azure sky.

The heavens were his canvas
His brush the noisy antique that carried him.
For decades, he painted in shapes and words,
Fighting the vagaries of wind and cloud,
Viewed by millions watching in anticipation.

But the world had moved on.
The audience looked to other canvases.
Clouds captured in boxes, had conquered blue sky.
Words hid in their own vapor trails,
And people looked in instead of up.

He circled beneath unseen stars,
Searching, in the fading light, for a place
Where he could come to rest.
Where messages were still floated in bottles
And words were still written on the wind.






Thursday, October 24, 2019





Divided We Fall

The news media and politicians have been doing everything possible lately to pull us apart as a nation,
It’s all about dividing us into tribes and losing track of all the ways we are connected to each other.
They want to know the color of our skin, where we are from, and the nature of our politics. No one wants to notice that beneath our various colors and flags, we are pretty much the same with many hopes and dreams that fit anywhere. And the politics of things change faster than the weather. Anyone who hooks their hopes to a particular party for any length of time is going to have a difficult and frustrating life.
We should search in life for the things we have in common, not look for things we can use to cause hatred and division.
If we could stop for just a moment from trying to control each other’s lives because some politician or angry soul is trying to achieve power, we would begin to understand that communities and good neighbors are created by compromise and cooperation. Lawsuits, single party dictates and  denying the individual traits among all the broad members of our humanity does not change the fact that they exist.
We are letting the purveyors of doom and domination destroy the common core that makes America great and gives so much hope to the downtrodden nations of the world.
In my new book, Ball of String, I try to search for those things that connect us as a nation and as members of world community.
The following poem is about all the “scarecrows” that the power-hungry of the world try to use to turn us inward and afraid.
Thanks for reading. I can’t seem to put my photos on this blog (a major issue) but there is a great photo that goes with this poem in my book.
Regards,
Glenn K. Currie

Scarecrows

They are everywhere, flapping in the wind,
Dressed to accomplish their role.
In fancy suits worn like armor to intimidate,
Or in old sneakers and wifebeaters,
Complaining about restricted access.

Soldiers filled with straw, hang from hooks,
Under careful orders to do nothing.
Guardians for a negligent nation
That has spread its seeds in fields
Too fertile to go untouched.

Predators use deceit to elude them.
Monsters see their vacant stares
And pillage without proscription.
The breeze that rattles the tin pans
Only serves to call invaders to the feast.

Politicians and professors fill volumes
Praising the accomplishments of scarecrows,
Certain they will frighten away visitors,
With their hobo hats and souvenir sweatshirts,
While the ravens quietly eat the seeds.

Copyright Glenn K. Currie


Wednesday, October 16, 2019



Now that the print version of Ball of String has been released, I think my blog is a good vehicle to provide a little more information on the new book.
 BOS is structured in a very similar way to the other three previous photo and poetry books that I have published.
The photographs are designed to help establish a mood for the poem. I include them to add some color to the book and also establish a more intimate relationship with the reader.
The poems all stand on their own, but readers tell me they like the mix with the photos, and particularly like the one-liners that are included beneath the photos to link with the poems.
The photos are all my own and have been carefully selected by me from my collection of thousands.
Most of these poems have been written since the publication of In the Cat’s Eye in 2009.
About that time, Susanne began to urge me to submit some of these poems to “blind” contests which are each judged by different writers and are provided without names to the judges.  
During this time, I submitted poems in about 25 contests, both national and local. The results were extremely encouraging as ten were prizewinners and another five won honorable mention. That was a very encouraging success rate given that all judges have different tastes and often tend to select in the areas of their prime interests (rhyme, free verse, prose, etc.).
I was also asked by friends to name the prize winners. I want to leave a little mystery for the reader so, at least for the moment I am going to refrain from doing that, although I will say that five were first prize winners, two won second prizes and three won third prizes.
It was that success rate that encouraged me at seventy-six to publish one more book. Poets get very little support in present society and so it doesn’t take much to fill us with hope that there might be someone out there who likes what you are doing. And Ball of String is a way to get the poems out to the public. Please forgive me for this indulgence.
I hope you like the new book and please give me any feedback that you may have.
Regards.
Glenn K. Currie

Friday, October 4, 2019

Hi, thanks for checking up on me and staying with me. I have been working on a new book, Ball of String, which will be available for purchase in the next week. I have also totally revamped my website which will be in place next week and will be found at the old address, www.snapscreenpress.org.

While the website will have all the info on Ball of String, I want to describe it a little here. BOS has fifty poems and corresponding photos. Ten of the poems were prize winners and the others are all ones I love and fit with the general theme of the book.

The book is about the many ways that we are all connected in our journeys through life and our experiences on this beautiful planet. We are all connected by our genes or the many other interdependent parts that life on this planet demands.

The advance reviews on the book have been wonderful and all are available on the website.
I hope you will take the time to read them and the sample poems I have included.
In the future I plan to be making comments on this blog fairly frequently and I hope you will log on and say hi.

I welcome feedback at Glenn.snapscreen@gmail.com or on the website where I have included an easy way to contact me.

Best regards,
Glenn

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hi

Just checking in to let you know that this site will be retained and added to in the future. I am currently working on publishing a new collection of poems and photos and will be at a
manuscript conference in Vermont this weekend.
Glenn

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The following post was also published in the Concord Monitor on 5/17/18

I have been watching the slow but steady demise of the Boy Scouts of America and as an  Eagle Scout of this former organization, I have decided to write a sad goodbye to an institution that played a major role in helping me grow up.

The new organization, the Scouts of America, no longer caters exclusively to boys and their change of approach marks the last of the major organizations that worked strictly with boys and young teens in their formative years. (Yes, I am aware that Explorers and Sea Scouts have been coed for years but they cater to an older group of Scouts).

There are many coed organizations that provide wonderful services to children and teens and I commend them on the great work that they do. And there are many organizations that still work strictly with girls and young women. But I think we are leaving many young boys to fend for themselves in the difficult task of learning how to be functioning young men in our society. What they learn on the streets or filtered through a coed screen, will not necessarily completely serve them in adult life. 

The Boy Scouts was a life-changing organization for me. They provided me and many others with scholarships to attend a camp where we learned about teamwork, living in the outdoors, swimming, life saving and many other skills. I learned from counselors and cabin mates, and was able to talk frankly with others about the very confusing aspects of the transition to adulthood.

I am saddened to see that the Boy Scouts of America no longer exists. Generations of young men grew up learning about the need to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind and many other positive traits. New generations will be taught other things by a nation that seems to no longer value these qualities. For years Hollywood has been denigrating what it means to be caring and honest, using the term “boy scout” to tag someone as clueless and impotent. Well, it has finally taken hold. We have trashed them out of existence.

Even though I am sure the new coed organization will do its best to help develop good citizens, its role will be very different. The pendulum has swung in recent years to dismissing men’s and boy’s organizations as unnecessary to our culture. Somehow young men are expected to have all the answers just by the act of growing up, while young women, who mature much earlier than boys, are expected to be helpless in dealing with the new world. That attitude is not good for either sex. I sincerely hope the trend doesn’t continue to the point that the many young women’s organizations also disappear. Adolescents of both sexes often need time and space to figure things out.

We need to pay attention to the special needs of boys who are facing a very confusing period as to their role in society. Losing the Boy Scouts as an organization has added a significant gap in the opportunities for this development. Learning on the street and from video games or Hollywood films will not serve our young men or our society well.

I am including a poem from my book “In the Cat’s Eye” (Snap Screen Press 2009) called Boy Scout Camp as a short reminiscence of what will be missed. I finish with a thank you to BSA for all you did for me. May you rest in peace.

Glenn K. Currie

Boy Scout Camp


Rain pounded
The cabin roof.
Drum beats on snares
That Shrouded
Rabbits trapped.
It was scary at first,
Then soothing,
As we fell asleep
To natural rhythms.

It was us
Against the world.
Capture the flag,
Or clean latrines.
Learn nature’s secrets
Or bleed in its barbed wire.
We played games of life
In pastures
Where children grew.

We lay on battlefields
Of crushed grass,
Reading secret messages
Sent to us by a million stars.
And we found our way
Through dark forests,
To the sanctuary
Of  friendly campfires.

In the end
We learned about life.
Trappers
Taught us
To survive the snares.
And to see
The world
Outside
The rabbit hole.

Copyright 2009

Glenn K. Currie

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Looking for Life Preservers

I have talked with so many people recently who just want to escape from the constant assault of 24-hour news.

The world is closing in on us. It is hard for a democracy to hold the middle when assaults are occurring from the edges and from within and without.

Even sports news is no longer a shelter from the storm. We argue about everything before the games even start. It seems like some of our citizens take great pleasure in stirring up controversy over even the simplest of things. And the complex issues like racism are defined by people that seem to have no sense of history. To say that racism is the worst in our history seems to ignore the existence of slavery, the Civil War, segregation, and a whole host of issues that have been overcome.

I meet almost daily with a group of citizens who cover the whole spectrum of political beliefs. We try not to get into politics too deeply, but find a whole range of other topics to discuss and agree upon that show a commonality that seems to be rapidly disappearing in the general population.

It is discouraging that so many try to make every subject a “no limits” fight that must be thought in a certain way. This kind of absolutism makes democracy very difficult. Our nation has almost always been about compromise on issues. No one gets their way all the time. Now people try to avoid even socializing with those who think differently on issues. We no longer have discussions on difficult subjects or work to understand each other’s views. It is a dangerous and disturbing trend that is particularly evident on college campuses. Our nation cannot survive a place where we cannot talk about issues and where we try to criminalize differing points of view.

I suggest that we all seek places we can go where anger and frustration are allowed to fade away. And when you have excised the bile, reach out across the lines in the sand and try to understand that, for the most part, we are just people trying to find our way in a very complex and confusing world.

Yes, there are a few arsonists on both sides of the political spectrum, who seek anarchy and wish to burn up all the oxygen in the room. We can only put out these fires by exercising a little common sense and common curtesy. Let’s try to avoid the Fire and the Flood.

Glenn K. Currie

The Fire

Polemics have become the norm,
Matches struck by doctors of anarchy
Light fires in angry crowds.
Mindless rage fuels protests of everything or nothing.
There seems no place to hide.
It seems pointless to speak against the hatred,
Cause no one is listening.
All the world is a cauldron
Left on the stove too long.

The Flood

A death of a nation is always surprising.
It gathers slowly, then happens in an instant.
A raging sea suddenly hits those thought safe.
Individual rights are swept away,
Democracy and freedom are cast overboard.
And emotions and panic become the rule of law.
Ships of fools do not do well,
When the typhoons come,
And the whirlpools carry us into the abyss.

Copyright 2018

Glenn K. Currie

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Hello

I intend to begin posting on my blog in the next few days. Thank you for your patience

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I have not written here in a while because I really don't know what to say. the world seems so full of violence, hatred and disunity that it leaves me feeling lost.

I can only hope that we find our way out of this darkness that has enveloped the world.

The good news in New England is that summer is almost here. To honor it's arrival and to focus on some positives, I am publishing one of my new poems.I hope you enjoy Summer Dresses.

Glenn K. Currie


Summer Dresses
                                                copyright 2017, Glenn K. Currie
                   
I love summer dresses,
The way they shape and define,
And yield to each capricious breeze.
Their colors brighten the day,
Bringing a sense of freedom,
That reflects in the steps
Of the wearers.

Their arrival is a sign
That there is still hope
In a cynical world.
That at any moment
Something wonderful can appear
That will lift people’s eyes
From their smart phones.