Tuesday, March 24, 2020


Sorry I have not  posted in a while. I have been dealing with the same distractions as all of us and trying to put our lives in order. Among the many changes has been restricted to our home for a few weeks. The poem below is a new one that reflects some of my conclusions from this new observation post. I hope you all stay safe in these difficult times.



March 22,2020
              Glenn K. Currie

I am a social distancer
On a walk to freedom.
Rip Van Winkle in a neighborhood
Where I have lived for thirty-five years.

I have passed through a stargate,
And awakened to televisions
With three channels and 800 numbers.
Phones that say the same thing.

My only conversation this morning,
A mourning dove nesting in my garage.
I gave her the weather report,
She ignored me with dignity.

Two fat robins gave me the stink eye,
Then returned to their search for food.
A solitary woodpecker broke the silence,
Then led an ornithological choir.

Earth seems to be enjoying
This humbling of humanity.
Her chance to replenish the air
And reestablish dominance.

Last night I stood beneath the stars,
Bathing in their ancient light.
They told me stories uncensored
By civilization’s white out.

Tales of a world overwhelmed by pestilence,
Fires that engulf continents,
Locusts promising famines,
Floods that would float our land.

This beautiful morning their message
Seemed lost in the quiet peace.
But as I walked
I noticed horsemen following.

Copyright 2020 Glenn K. Currie

Saturday, January 25, 2020


Education


It seems to me that we are always fighting yesterday’s battles in this country. We have let the quality of our education in the United States decay badly. We put up all kinds of political barriers in what we can teach, we give teachers no ability to maintain discipline in the classrooms, and we focus on issues that are relatively unimportant in preparing students for the art of being human.

The big emphasis that the bureaucrats are no demanding in school is math and science. These certainly have some importance in educating our children, but only in the broadest terms. But in most schools we are focusing on these areas to the almost total neglect of such subjects as history, music, writing, economics, civics, philosophy, and so many other subjects that are so integral to what makes us human, and has allowed us to create the great societies that currently exist but are fast disappearing.

Humanity, and by nature humans, has succeeded because it has been able to develop and evolve in unorthodox ways. At present we seem to be doing everything possible to create children who have no perspective on the world around them. They don’t know our history, or how our government works. They don’t really know or understand the finer points of the different societies embraced by the rest of the world. Almost no one is being raised to be cognizant of the origins or tenets of the different religions of the world, and why they play such a role in everyone’s lives. Our children wander through life learning hard lessons over and over, rather than learning what a great teacher the shared emotions and mistakes of the past can be.

They don’t know about the Civil War, or segregation, or Hitler, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, and the American revolution. They have no exposure to how science has evolved, the cycles of human emotion, the world before smart phones, or the stretching of the human mind that comes from philosophy, art, and the social sciences.

Instead we focus on the current trends in science and math which seem to occupy all of their time and yet yield many young people who can’t use any kind of initiative in unexpected circumstances. Their math requires many times more steps to solve the simple problems and leaves them in a world where they can’t even make change.

We are preparing them to compete with artificial intelligence, which is a battle they will surely lose.

As usual we are focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time. The flexibility and adaptability of human beings are what separate us from the robots of the world. We need to be giving our children the chance to develop the skills that can’t be easily duplicated by AI.

Let’s start exercising the other parts of the brain, where compassion, self-discovery, music, interpersonal relationships, and learning from our past makes us better citizens and better leaders.

Yes as a student and lover of the arts, I do carry some bias, but anyone who actually looks at our systems results and failures, should come to the same conclusion.

If we try to be computer processors, we will lose the battle. We need to maintain the special skills and aptitudes that have allowed humanity to succeed. Give our children a chance in this rapidly changing world.

I am including a poem Ghosts from my new book Ball of String , which in a very small way, alludes to the problems described. It deals with the need to understand our planets evolution and the price paid by those who lose the ability to respond to change in an unforgiving world. Most of all we need to understand our own humanity…and our vulnerability, if we forget who and what we are.

The caption under the photo reads: “Nothing occurs without what came before”.

Regards,

Glenn K. Currie

Ghosts


Tall grass and ancient forests
Hide their origins and endings.
Rulers of the Earth,
Suddenly swallowed.
Dust to dust.

Transformed in deep graves,
By a universe that wastes nothing,
They rose again,
Born to be eaten
By their replacements.

New creatures, that breathe fire,
Burn the air.
They birth civilizations,
That make the ground tremble,
The stars blink.



They grow to the sky,
Eating the tall grass,
The oceans and the forests.
As they search for food,
They release the ghosts.

Ghosts who know the cycles,
Unencumbered by time.
And the universe
That wastes nothing.
They have seen it before.

Copyright Glenn K. Currie 2020

Sunday, January 5, 2020


Blog Piece-Start of 2020


Since I last posted here we have survived Christmas and New Years and are ready to face the daunting outlook of 2020.

I want to mention that late in the year the “fall” issue of The Poet’s Touchstone finally came out. The “Touchstone” is the journal produced by the Poetry Society Of New Hampshire. I was particularly happy to see it because I was listed as the first prize winner in both their annual national and member poetry contests. We have some very fine poets among our membership and the national prize is open to anyone who desires to enter. They are blind contests with different judges in each contest each year. I was delighted to read the judge’s comments, and you can probably find the info at the Society’s website, www.poetrysocietyofnewhampshire.org .

By the way, both of the winning poems, Ball of String(national) and Flight of the Owl (member) are included in my new book Ball of String.

At my reading at Gibson’s Bookstore in late November in which I introduced Ball of String I was asked by one of the attendees how I write a poem. I had to confess that it isn’t a predictable process. This last book took ten years to put together partly because poetry comes from a place over which we have little control. I have gone months without writing a poem and then will develop rough drafts for three or four in a weekend. But it can take weeks or years to finally develop a version that I am satisfied with. Sometimes we are never satisfied and a poem we have worked on for months will never see the light of day.

I can’t force a poem and, sometimes, when it reaches a stage that I am happy with the piece, I will look back and wonder where it came from. There is a force within many poets,( a muse?) that seems to work on its own. It rises from the subconscious, perhaps, or visits from an alien world, and just takes charge.

That’s why poetry is art, not science. I can’t just sit down and write for two hours and expect to regularly create something meaningful. It comes from the ether, and often I just feel like a passenger on the ride to the unknown.

Most of us need a little poetry in our lives to open our hearts and let ourselves travel to places far from the hard edges of the world. I hope you will let yourselves flow with the music, the insights, the humor and the discoveries that poetry can bring to people’s lives.
We may need it in 2020.

I am closing with a poem from Ball of String that brings a little humor to the new year. It is accompanied by one of my favorite photos, (which I cannot seem to publish on this blog site). The caption under the photo is “The other creatures of our planet are well-advised to fear us…and to wonder how we survive. Are we a brief curiosity in history, or will we finally achieve wisdom?” The poem itself is called Firefly Wisdom and is written in rhyme with humor and a layer of concern.
I hope you enjoy it.

Regards,

Glenn K. Currie


                       Firefly Wisdom


                                                The elephant said to the firefly
                                                No one could be as strange as I.
                                                I dare dispute what you decry,
                                                My tail on fire, your claim belies.
                                                And though we both are odd, it’s true,
There’s some more quaint than me and you.

Birds that swim and put heads in sand,
Fish that fly and walk on their hands.
But upon the Earth the queerest, methinks,
Is the human creature, who should be extinct.

He has no skills that I can tell,
No wings to fly, no protective shell.
Predators see him as a tasty treat,
And he only runs on two of his feet.
He has no claws to fend off foes,
No fur to warm him when it snows.

So keep perspective about your flaws,
Don’t let your appearance give you pause,
Though often we be of bizarre depiction,
There’s one out there who is stranger than fiction.

Copyright 2019 Glenn K. Currie