Risk Averse

Gee, I’d like to help but…

 

Our supervisor had no right to fire you for that.

It was his fault, not yours.

I should speak up for you, but I don’t want to get fired too.

 

I think Trump’s remarks

after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton

Calling out racism and white supremacy

Were right on the money

But my friends will shun me 

If I say that.

 

How much further can we go

With this kind of thinking

 

Our “leaders” aren’t leading.

Can the culture change come from us?

 

August, 2019

War Stories

Patriotism

(Reflections upon reading 

Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad)

 

Patriotism can be shallow

or even cruel.

Easily manipulated

and hard to square

with our values.

 

Is there something deeper,

Something more human, more loving?

 

Accounts of Russia during WW2

Describe a willingness to sacrifice,

To stand together in the face of a 

ruthless inhuman enemy.

 

It comes from deep inside of a people,

Proud of what they have accomplished,

Aware of their vulnerability

And still humiliated by their relative backwardness.

Not surprisingly Hitler took that as weakness.

 

How could a fascist understand 

The collective strength of these “unter menschen.”

The strength to endure enormous hardship

To resist and then

Take the fight to the enemy.

The strength to see and forgive a comrade’s shortcomings

While still holding him or her to account.

To find love in moments of calm, always aware that 

German bombers could appear at any time.

 

This is the stuff of history.

It is the source of our power,

Our determination to not succumb.

 

In telling this story, Grossman evokes 

Stories of the past

Across the river of time: 

“And in the dark and troubled days of 1812, a courier sent by Rostopchin, governor of Moscow, could ride by night to Kutuzov’s HQ, have time for a few hours rest and a meal, and be back in Moscow by evening with the latest despatches.”

 

The fascists broke.

Their brittle, ruthless inhumanity

Did not prevail.

 

July 2019

 

Old Men on the River

Two old guys

Greet the morning 

on the Battenkill.

 

By chance they

Fish side by side. 

 

Got anything?

The other day I 

got a 15 inch brown here.

 

Not me, but

I love being in the river.

Beautiful day.

 

Yes this is the

Prettiest spot on the Battenkill.

Worth the drive from Vermont.

 

What are you fishing with?

Inaudible… 

How about you?

Trying a nymph because I don’t 

See any fish on the surface.

 

Good luck.

 

July 2019