Archive for the tag “reflection”

Alas, Poor Adam

Alas! Poor adam, who God knew once:
Formed from dust and breath and words!
He was the creature that strolled with God,
Crafted in likeness of the divine-
Humble dust exalted.

Alas, poor adam, (who knew God, once)
Frames himself in cosmic dust!
He calls himself a breeding beast,
Built in the likeness of environment-
Humble dust Evolved

Alas, poor adam, God knew him once:
Flowering grass that gave delight-
The word has lost the meaning
And the Likeness returns to dust


Finding America: Election Year Reflection.

This year is 2016. It is an election year, and the candidates are concerned with “making America great again”. But as I think over my travels in this country and others, and reflect on my glimpses of History, I have to wonder whether the USA has had the time to be “great” in the first place. We are a young country, still rowdy and teenaged, with an identity built on some vague ideas of “freedom” and a strange nostalgia for a greatness we think we earned during the World Wars.

As I write this series and explore my country, I hope to find the things that make America America today, and the things we can do to shape America for tomorrow. Which is to say, this series is about the inhabitants of a continent: all the passions, conflicts, and failures that have shaped a nation, and my own hope that we will labor to make our country a great nation today and tomorrow, and not mourn some imagined greatness we accomplished half a century ago.

After Awhile

After a while we begin to learn that life is more than molecules

And we learn that science is not salvation

And faith is not ignorance

We begin to learn that bias is human

and that no one sees with objectivity

We begin to learn that life is governed by six billion perspectives,

Each struggling to stand on some common ground

And we begin to learn that no space permits two people

We learn that a standing point cannot be shared

And we learn we really are alone and unique

And we learn to accept our losses as well as our gains

And we learn- and we learn

We learn that wisdom is no safeguard from foolishness

And fate is unused to making plans

And we learn to build on today because the future is insecure in itself

We learn to face our defeats with patience and our triumphs with grace

And we learn to smile through our broken hearts

And after awhile, we learn to live

The Drifting of Waft-Hazy Clouds

Ah, by the drifting of waft-hazy clouds

Plaintive shadows fall faint-slow from above

Over the streets and busy bustle of crowds

Evoking some hearts to sweet mem’ries of love

Moments of lone longing with heavy sighs

Fireside musings of a lover’s eyes

Or other quaint symptoms of this repose

Reducing sweet sen’ments to poetic rows

Mayhap some others with sorrowful eyes

Yearn on in silence without dreary sighs

Daring to dream of a far deeper love

Enclosed somewhere hidden from peering crowds

A way far beyond in the heavens above

Reclined in the drifting of waft-hazy clouds

Maus Represented: Fragment I

There are truths lying dormant in the recesses of human discovery,

Things long past learned and forgotten under veils of myth and legend,

Disguised by ancient kings who knew too well the price of knowing.

I’ll Live A While Longer

I guess I’ll live a while longer
Knowing that I will grow stronger
Nothing is the greatest bliss
Offer me not a good night kiss
Would you suffer with him now
Nettles, briars on your brow
Or would you go to hills and hide
Taking with you foolish pride
Turn back turn back and go to him
He’ll forgive you of your sin
Embrace you in his loving arms
And let you start again
Now nothing lingers of that life
Sorrow sins and woe and strife
Were washed away by Him
Erased and forgiven by His
Resurrection after death

Reflection I

There are times when writing is difficult, and it’s almost painful to make even one sentence come out “right,” and every word is cause for anxiety, guided as it is by uncertainty. This difficulty is often accompanied by a sense of futility, a sort of nihilism born to the idiom of writers. How many writers were depressants? Fewer than people imagine, but more than we like to admit.

Woolf walked into the Ouse, Hemmingway shot himself. They were both around 60. Wallace hung himself. Kane hung herself. Kane was 28. Somehow Kane seems worse, but maybe life isn’t so precious as to warrant overstaying. Though not a writer, Judas hung himself, and how many countless others have died by suicide?

Maybe they, too, found a place where it was hard to write, and a life without writing, for a writer, is worse than death; It is a living hell, where words lose all meaning and beauty, and no shuffling of marks can create a single intelligible sound. A writer only stops writing when they are dead, but what they’ve written lingers on long after them. Is that a blessing or curse? Perhaps ironic, that a writer is never known for what they are writing, but what they have written.

Letters to My Traveling Companion

My Dear T.C.

Working in the Museum of Women’s History has me thinking about the way things have changed and developed over the years. I’m working with Video Cassette Tapes and a VHS player, (which started dying around the turn of the century) and I’m watching recordings of a program aired in the 1990′s as I transfer them onto computers in order to “burn” them onto Digital Video Discs.

What I find interesting about this process is that I’m working with technologies that ‘grew up’ together, two of which have their roots in an accidental discovery by Thomas Edison in 1887. According to the Phillips Research website “Edison accidentally discovered in 1877 that he had recorded sounds that resembled a human voice. Edison continued with his experiments and made a sketch of a ‘recording apparatus’ that was built by his instrument maker John Kruesi and was called a ‘phonograph’ by Edison. ”

This laid a foundation for vinyl records which, along with the development of computers and digital technology, laid way for the Compact Disc. By the mid 1980′s CD’s became the favorite audio medium and by 1987 Sony announced the development of the Compact Disc Video (CDV) which would eventually be replaced by the DVD.

The CDV was not the first type digital video disc, however, but was preceded by a similar device called the Laser Disc (LD). According to Culture and Communication“Early optical Laserdisc technology was invented by David Paul Gregg in 1958.” and patented in 1961 and 1969 before being sold to Phillips company for release of feature films to the general public. By 1978 the technology was made public with Jaws as the first feature film available (Culture and Communication).  Both the CDV and LD were replaced by DVDs by 2001.

Video Cassettes have a slightly different history. According to the Encyclopedia Americana “The first successful video recorder was marketed by the Ampex Corporation in 1956″ (1999, pp. 100). This was the official functional release of the product for home use, but development for an audio/video recording device in the film industry had started in the 1920′s for ‘talking pictures’.

When you think of our ‘digital age’ with the various ‘tablets’, ‘smart phones,’ and ‘laptop computers’, it’s easy to see how much technology has changed in the past decade alone. My work is, in a sense, translation tests from an old language into the language of the modern world. Much like a writer may take a medieval poem, or a King James Bible, to make the language more understandable to modern readers (including the technology which ‘reads’ the program for viewing.)

By translating these videos into a digital format our hope, as a Museum, is to preserve this program “The Wisdom of the Ages” for future generations, that they may see these shows and think about the things McLaughlin and her guests discuss.

The discs are currently held in the Museum of Women’s History, located 2822 3rd Avenue North in # B3, and the programs cover a range of topics including informational interviews with groups that help the Billings community, and interest episodes where local women are interviewed about their lives and work.

Wisdom of the Ages is a program based on the idea that “The attainment of wisdom is a lifelong process which starts at birth.”  with a goal to educate viewers because knowledge allows for discussion and discussion for understanding. By learning about history and the way things change and develop over time, be they technologies or social practices, we can better understand where we are directing our future.

Though I should like to write more about the way society has changed in the last few decades, I have neither the knowledge nor the writing space to do so now. For the moment, then, I hope all is well with you, and that you are learning from your experiences, and gaining more understanding of yourself and of those around you.

Farewell now,

Your Traveling Companion

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