Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Eye of the Hamster




Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com
29 August 2012

Eye of the Hamster

Much national news writing is predicated on clich├ęs, stereotypes, and hyperbole, and hurricane season is when the keyboard commandos in Our Nation’s Capital (in caps) pour themselves cups of green tea, limber up their manicured fingers, and fling filler-language as carelessly as an oil sheik throwing American dollars at luxuries.

Certain hurricane cliches’ disappear with time – “The Mother of All Hurricanes” is as dead as Saddamn Hussein.  Others, such as “we’re not out of the woods,” seem to be as indestructible as Dracula, popping up out of his coffin every August and September.

Some entries in the well-thumbed dictionary of hurricane-babble include:

Rain event

Dodged the bullet

Storms that brew – what do they brew?  Tea?  Coffee?

Storms that gain or lose steam, as if they were teakettles

Hurricanes that pound

Hurricanes that lash

Hurricanes that pummel

Reduced to rubble

Wreak havoc – what does “wreak” mean?

Left a swath of destruction in its wake -- what’s a swath, eh? 

Hurricanes that make landfall – well, what else would they make?  A gun rack in shop class?

Hurricanes that slam ashore

Hurricanes that storm ashore – well of course they storm; they’re storms

Changed my life forever  

Mother Nature's wrath

Mother Nature’s fury

Mother Nature's anything

Looked like a war zone – no one ever looked over the blood-sodden ground after a fight in Afghanistan and said “Gee, this looks like a hurricane zone.”

Decimated - unless precisely one out of every ten people was killed

Trees snapping like matchsticks - do matchsticks ever snap like trees?

Batten down the hatches  - I forgot to buy a hatch; I wonder if the stores are still open

Hunker down

Cars tossed about like Matchbox toys / Cars smashed like matchboxes

Boats bobbing like corks / boats smashed like matchboxes

Roofs peeled off

Rain coming down in sheets - never blankets or pillow slips?

Calm before the storm – almost always “eerie”

Calm in the eye of the storm – also almost “eerie”

Calm after the storm – yes, almost always “eerie”

ANY allusion to Katrina

Perfect storm

Storm of the century

A Hurricane that defined a generation

Fish storm

In the crosshairs

From this list of fluffery one can then assemble a sentence wholly devoid of meaning, just like the networks do:

In my own personal opinion, and in conclusion, at the end of the day, the bottom line is that when all is said and done, when the skinny man sings, that Mother Nature, in the form of mighty Hurricane Gaia, the storm of the century, thundering and slamming ashore in a turbulent and fateful pre-dawn, wreaked havoc on our homeland, snapping trees like matchsticks and leaving a swath of destruction in her wake that looked like a war zone and changed our lives forever, requiring us to seek closure and healing from grief counselors. 

-30-

Friday, August 24, 2012

Taos -- The Red-Willow People




Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com

 
The Red-Willow People

The original Taos is not the plaza, but rather Taos Pueblo (www.taospueblo.com), some two miles north of town.  Home to the Red-Willow People, the Pueblo occupies some 90,000 acres of northern New Mexico, and has been their land for at least a thousand years.  The North House and the South House in the Pueblo proper date back a full millennium, which makes them coeval with Westminster Abbey.

Hey, maybe Taos Pueblo and the City of Westminster could make a twin cities agreement.

A beautiful little stream flows between the North House and South House, bordered with willows and benches, and visitors are asked not to wade in it or drink from it since it is the source of water.  Someone had tossed an ordinary new kitchen mop into it, though, and one wonders what domestic squabble that was about.

One ‘net encyclopedia advises that the Red-Willow People are “secretive” and “conservative.”  This is errant nonsense; they are in fact hospitable and open to the point of garrulousness.  Remember that Taos Pueblo is an autonomous state, though they do not yet require passports.  When visiting any autonomous state, say, Canada, one does not judge Canadians to be secretive if the ministry of defense does not provide the visitor with detailed information about the airport radar codes.  Similarly, Canada could hardly be considered conservative for not cluttering Ottawa’s Parliament Hill with chain coffee shops, hamburger joints, and neon signs advertising “Genuine Canadian Dancers in Costume.”

It’s their home; they want it to look nice.

Several hundred folks still live in the North House and South House, and by mutual agreement without electricity or piped water.  San Jeronimo / Saint Jerome Church is illuminated with gas for night liturgies, and otherwise people do very well with doors, windows, skylights, and probably early bed-times. 

Most everyone else lives in houses close to the crops, presumably with electricity and water.

The government offices near the front entrance – or, rather, border crossing – are connected to utilities, and the rulers’ pickups are parked out back next to the visitors’ restrooms.  Does the leader of any other nation drive a pickup truck with muddy boots and workman’s tools in the back?  I think he’d help you fix that broken gate you’ve been meaning to get to.

One of the most prominent features just inside the entrance is the tower of a ruined church.  This is the site of the first St. Jerome, from 1619.  That church was destroyed in a revolt against the Spanish in 1680, and was rebuilt a few years later.  In 1847 the United States acquired (nice euphemism) New Mexico, and there was a great deal of confused fighting in and around Taos.  In one of the rowdier misunderstandings, the new American Governor of New Mexico was scalped.  In front of his wife and children.  And then he was murdered.  Again in front of his wife and children.  Now that’s a bad day at work.  Whether or not the Red-Willow People were involved, the U.S. Army thought they were, and attacked the Pueblo.  The result was a massacre of several hundred people who had sought refuge in their parish church.

This isn’t Disneyland, okay?

The new Saint Jerome’s, about a hundred yards away, dates from 1850; the remains of the previous one are a memorial and a cemetery.  Just as we wouldn’t want furriners bopping around our maw-maw and paw-paws’ graves with cameras and fizzy drinks, visitors are not allowed to enter that bit of truly sacred ground.

We visited early in the morning to avoid the mid-day heat.  Early hours are also the best time for pictures because you can do the Ansel Adams thing so much more easily with the area mostly empty of people.  You’ve seen pictures of the buildings all your life, but for some reason few people photograph them framed by the shifting blues and greens of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The sunlit and almost golden facades of the buildings are at first silent and seemingly deserted, but then the shopkeepers begin opening their doors and putting out their signs, and suddenly there’s a lot going on.  The shopping is fun, and the artisans enjoy talking about their work, and Mom’s work, and how Grandpa worked, both at the craftsman’s bench and on the land. 

We met Mrs. Chili Flower in her nice shop, which features jewelry made by her family.  Her son, Richard, also sells by the side of the road west of town close to the Rio Grande Gorge.  Just look for the sign that says “No Vending on Highway Right-of-Way.”  Hey, New Mexico is calm like that.

The Red-Willow People speak Tiwa, Spanish, and English, and the last, at least, quite idiomatically, not that anyone from Texas can with reason critique any accent at all.  A bit of culture shock at first, but then you’ll feel quite at home.

They’re really nice folks; you ought to go visit them.

-30-

Mack Sneers at the Olympic Torch




Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com


All Hail the Holy Flashlight

The idea of thousands and thousands of obedientiaries rising in the dark, processing to a public place, and waiting for hours in order to cheer a bit of fire on the end of a stick is just plain weird.  Calling the occasion the Spirit of the Olympics or perhaps the Spirit of Ahura Mazda doesn’t change the reality that honoring oxidation is a curious practice

Perhaps people would be more progressive by standing along the road to cheer for a flashlight.

Once upon a time Englishmen interrupted their work in the fields to greet a procession of pilgrims walking to Canterbury to worship God at the shrine of St. Thomas Becket.  Now the English interrupt their televised footer matches to admire a flame-procession that enjoys no connection with the worship even of Olympic Zeus; it was invented by the Nazis as a mindless razzle-dazzle to keep the masses busy yelping in unison.

Eventually the flame is borne to the place of worship where, before more thousands of the faithful, someone uses it to light off a big cauldron in a purely secular liturgy invented by some dress designer or cinema director.  If the cauldron were used to brew up a pot of tea one could plead some utility in the mummery, but as it is the cauldron only flames and boils and bubbles as a religious focal point for Zeus’ games.  It just burns, day and night, not helping with the first cup of tea, and the wide-eyed and gape-mouthed ooh and ahh at it as a symbol of, like, you know, World Spirit of, like, Somethingness.

Why?  Because they’ve been told to, and they obey. 

Photographs and films of the Olympics prior to 1936 show the international games as a charming, amateurish celebration of youth, health, and joyful competition.  People in clothing wholly free of advertising sat in wooden bleachers and applauded young people competing in a variety of track and field events on rough ground and badly graveled circuits.

Not until the Berlin Games did politics and regimentation completely reduce the games from “ceremonies of innocence” (oblique allusion to Yeats) to an exercise in mob-obedience to old men in vulgar uniforms.  The games of the 1950s and 1960s compounded a false concept of national pride (does the winning left-handed synchronized pool-cue vaulter really validate the excellence of his or her home country?) with the closed loop of organized greed through the licensing of images, slogans, logos, beer, potato chips, and made-in-China clothing.

The Olympics are no longer about the young athletes and their excellence.  Indeed, they are sometimes maltreated by their coaches and their nations. 

Further, the Olympic flame appears to be polluting the air with the grey ashes of anti-Semitism recycled from 1936.  It’s not pretty.

Amateur sport is good and healthy and right.  What is wrong is the collective of huge, chanting crowds of the clone-minded worshipping a really big tiki-torch during phony rituals that complete the cultural gap between Doctor No’s secret control room and Samson and Delilah in SuperDooperColor and ColossoVision. 

-30-

Mack Sneers at the Olympic Torch




Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com


All Hail the Holy Flashlight

The idea of thousands and thousands of obedientiaries rising in the dark, processing to a public place, and waiting for hours in order to cheer a bit of fire on the end of a stick is just plain weird.  Calling the occasion the Spirit of the Olympics or perhaps the Spirit of Ahura Mazda doesn’t change the reality that honoring oxidation is a curious practice

Perhaps people would be more progressive by standing along the road to cheer for a flashlight.

Once upon a time Englishmen interrupted their work in the fields to greet a procession of pilgrims walking to Canterbury to worship God at the shrine of St. Thomas Becket.  Now the English interrupt their televised footer matches to admire a flame-procession that enjoys no connection with the worship even of Olympic Zeus; it was invented by the Nazis as a mindless razzle-dazzle to keep the masses busy yelping in unison.

Eventually the flame is borne to the place of worship where, before more thousands of the faithful, someone uses it to light off a big cauldron in a purely secular liturgy invented by some dress designer or cinema director.  If the cauldron were used to brew up a pot of tea one could plead some utility in the mummery, but as it is the cauldron only flames and boils and bubbles as a religious focal point for Zeus’ games.  It just burns, day and night, not helping with the first cup of tea, and the wide-eyed and gape-mouthed ooh and ahh at it as a symbol of, like, you know, World Spirit of, like, Somethingness.

Why?  Because they’ve been told to, and they obey. 

Photographs and films of the Olympics prior to 1936 show the international games as a charming, amateurish celebration of youth, health, and joyful competition.  People in clothing wholly free of advertising sat in wooden bleachers and applauded young people competing in a variety of track and field events on rough ground and badly graveled circuits.

Not until the Berlin Games did politics and regimentation completely reduce the games from “ceremonies of innocence” (oblique allusion to Yeats) to an exercise in mob-obedience to old men in vulgar uniforms.  The games of the 1950s and 1960s compounded a false concept of national pride (does the winning left-handed synchronized pool-cue vaulter really validate the excellence of his or her home country?) with the closed loop of organized greed through the licensing of images, slogans, logos, beer, potato chips, and made-in-China clothing.

The Olympics are no longer about the young athletes and their excellence.  Indeed, they are sometimes maltreated by their coaches and their nations. 

Further, the Olympic flame appears to be polluting the air with the grey ashes of anti-Semitism recycled from 1936.  It’s not pretty.

Amateur sport is good and healthy and right.  What is wrong is the collective of huge, chanting crowds of the clone-minded worshipping a really big tiki-torch during phony rituals that complete the cultural gap between Doctor No’s secret control room and Samson and Delilah in SuperDooperColor and ColossoVision. 

-30-

Beach Bicycle Bingo in Galveston




Mack Hall, HSG
Mhall46184@aol.com


Beach Bicycle Bingo

Lifeguards in Galveston are now armed with guns.  Perhaps those little whistles didn’t carry enough authority: “Hey, you with the Mickey ‘n’ Minnie’s Great Beach Adventure floatie!  Stop at the safety limit or I’ll shoot!”

No, really, David Hasselhoff of Baywatch won’t be pulling a made-in-Austria Glock from his mankini.

The Galveston Daily News (http://galvestondailynews.com/story/331978/) reports that a new type of police officer, called the Galveston Island Beach Patrol, now pedal along the sea wall in order to keep the peace, suppress littering, and enforce the beach-ban on alcohol.  They are certified lifeguards, certified police officers, and certified fashionistas.

A photograph features two bicycling officers wearing fetching lemon-colored tops, black knee-pants, sneaks, bug-eyed sunglasses, and plastic turtles on top of their heads.

The handlebars of one of the law enforcement bicycles appear to be decorated with tennis balls, lemon-colored tennis balls.

The cyclists don’t look like police officers; they look like two errant members of a boy-band on spring break.  Perhaps when making an arrest they address the miscreant with “You have the right to be marvelously in awe of my simply fabulous outfit.”

There’s nothing that speaks of the majesty of the law like mixing tactical gear and really cute tops.

The newspaper reports that the officers “have made contact with more than 8,000 tourists” (whatever that means) so far this year, and have “taken 7,219 regular and environmental enforcement actions,” reflecting the reality that even local governments never employ one or two simple words to make meanings clear, choosing instead to cobble together a forest of polysyllables that need translation.  Anyone who would write “environmental enforcement actions” should be relieved of his official City of Galveston thesaurus.

The officers appear to be carrying too much already, so tossing a thesaurus would be a start.  In addition to their pistols, badges, and radios the officers must also lug around sacks containing (this is a direct quote from the newspaper) “medical and lifesaving gear and…a tourism tool kit with brochures about Galveston, water safety and stickers and stamps for children.”

Clearly someone missed the lesson on faulty parallelism.

What air-conditioned genius thought it a good idea that police officers patrolling on bicycles or on foot in the gasping heat of a Texas summer should have to pack tourist brochures, water-safety brochures, and goodies for children next to the field dressings and the extra ammunition clips?

“Anything you say or do can and will be held against your admission to the maritime museum, which is where you stole that car, and here are some profusely illustrated folders about historic Galveston for when you sober up, some discount coupons for the Beach Burger-Barf Shack, and, hey, some stickers for the kids.”

What will officers on patrol be expected to do next?  Career counseling? 

The reality is that police officers on beach duty must observe, make quick life-or-death decisions, and deal with violence, drunks, heart-attacks, struggling swimmers, drownings, missing children, and other demands made upon them by crowds of vacationers who often aren’t as safety-conscious as they might be.  Should officers also have to add a sort of fold-up visitors’ center to their burdens?

Whatever the Galveston beach patrol officers are being paid, it isn’t enough.

-30-

The USS Chik-Fil-A




Mack Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

 
Battleships and The Chik-Fil-A Wars

Last week a much-watched political event was staged in Virginia before the USS Wisconsin, one of the last battleships.

Perhaps the Battleship Potemkin was already booked for a wedding reception.

Forty years ago, hosting a political rally next to a battleship would have been the occasion for one of the gentle, harmless peace demonstrations common in that era of tie-dyed polyester and lots of body hair in unlikely places.  Such love-ins usually featured casualty lists.

Now the all-we-are-saying-is-give-peace-a-chance crowd terrorize waitresses at Chik-Fil-A.

Chik-Fil-A – every American of every faith tradition, political leaning, and sexual disorientation can agree that Chik-Fil-A is about the oddest name ever for a foodery, even one that sells fragments of dead birds to the public.  How does one spell or pronounce Chik-Fiol-phil-fillip-filet-philately…?

“Chik-Fil-A” – is that a secret code used by Big Chicken as part of its nefarious Club of Rome plot to control the world by hoarding all the gizzards in a secret vault in Switzerland?

How often was fried chicken served on battleships?

Battleships are now artifacts of the past, like fountain pens, iambic pentameter, long pants, and Sunday services that don’t feature percussion instruments.  But everybody seems to love them – battleships, not drum sets -- not as instruments of death (which was their primary function), but as symbols of national pride and power.

The Wisconsin was out-of-date even when she was built, because the battle of Taranto, the sinking of the Bismarck, and the attack on Pearl Harbor demonstrated that aircraft carriers were now to rule the sea, and the role of battleships after 1939 was to serve as graves for thousands of young men.

The Bismarck, after all, was rendered helpless by a wooden-framed, cloth-covered, single-engine English biplane whose lift-off speed was only slighter faster than the aircraft carrier launching it.  Further, the many anti-aircraft batteries of the shiny new Bismarck never hit even one of the several sputtering kites attacking it.

There might be a lesson in that for those suffering over-confidence in those who believe in the invincibility of our shiny new aircraft carriers.

The first crew of the Wisconsin could well be the grandfathers and great-grandfathers of the last crew.  The seamen of 1944 grew up in the Depression, and for many their Navy-issue shoes were the first new ones they had ever known.  They ate three good meals a day, and were paid $21 a month.  Their Navy grandsons and granddaughters, growing up in prosperity, would have found the very same working spaces aboard the Wisconsin tighter in every way. 

The Wisconsin served (what a weak verb!) during World War II and Korea, took a long nap through Viet-Nam, and was awakened in the 1980s.  She and her twin, the USS Missouri, went to war for the last time in 1991, refitted with missiles and drones that by now are as outdated as the 1944 main batteries.  Both ships are now museums, and once interest is lost in them they will rust and decay, and sink into the mud, like the century-old USS Texas.  No one will ever again see a battleship sail “into harm’s way.”

Scuttlebutt has it that the battleship Arizona, blown apart in combat on 7 December 1941, is still kept on the Navy’s books as a commissioned ship, but this is not so.  It ought to be, and there is a precedent in the perpetual commission of the USS Constitution from the War of 1812.  The USS Arizona could be re-commissioned and returned to the Navy List with a signature.  Then, forever after, whenever a United States Navy fleet sails, the Arizona would lead the Order of Battle.

We owe that pride of place to the sailors of all the ships of World War II.

-30-

That Keep Calm and Carry On Thing




Mack Hall
Mhall46184@aol.com

 

That Keep Calm and Carry On Thing

In 1939 the English Ministry for Printing Posters (or something) set up the typeface and inks for posters that would read KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON to be distributed if the Nazis invaded.

In such a contingency, keeping calm would be a challenge indeed: “Okay, lads, the Germans are crawling up the beaches now.  We’re all out of rifles, but here are some really inspirational posters…”

Some of the sample posters were rediscovered several years ago, and ever since then the Chinese have kept themselves profitably excited by printing the KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON meme on posters, coffee cups, bath towels, and anything else that will hold ink.

This of course led to the inevitable spoofs, and here are y’r ‘umble scrivener’s modest contributions:

Buzzards: Keep Calm and Carrion.

Beachcombers: Keep Clams and Carry ‘Em

Airlines: Keep Calm but not the Carry-ons

Assad of Syria: Keep Killing and Carnage On

Mardi Gras: Keep Cool and Carouse On

Fast-Food Joints: Keep Cholesterol and Cardio-Clog On

Mountaineers : Keep Climbing and Clinging On

When the boss is giving a speech: Keep Clapping and Cheering Him On (or else)

A Newfoundland fisherman: Keep Cod and Carry On, Eh

Best friend: Keep Calm and Have a Cup of Coffee

NRA: Keep Calm and Conceal-Carry

I.T.: Keep Calm and Restart

Psychologist: Keep Calm and Let’s Talk About Your Desire to Slaughter Unicorns

Captain Kirk: Keep Calm and Set Phasers on Stun

Captain Picard: Keep Calm and Engage

Winston Churchill: Never, in the field of human endeavor, have so many kept calm

Vladimir Putin: Keep Calm and Cordon off the Troublemakers

Vice-President Biden: Calm Keep and Strangle Republicans

Governor Perry: Keep Calm, Y’all

The Social Security Administration: Keep Calm and Keep Stocking Up on .357 Sig 125-grain, bonded, jacketed, hollow point pistol ammunition

Shakespeare: Keepeth Calm and Carrieth On, Forsooth

Daily Mail: Keep Calm and Red Arrow Me

The State of Texas: Keep Calm and We’ll Pay a British Company Millions of Your Tax Dollars to Test You.

 

-30-

Alternative Prayer Before a Crucifix



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Alternative Prayer Before a Crucifix

Our little plastic boxes glow and blink,
They wink, they clink, they link; they almost think -
Until the tenuous connections fail
To silence blown by the January gale,
And we are left in still, cold darkness there:
A candle, a Crucifix, and a prayer.

The Frogs of August



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


The Frogs of August

After surprising summer showers in
A time of heat and dust and lethargy,
Forth from their hidden reptilian repose
The frogs of August rise, and sing a hymn,
A joyful hymn to rain and tasty bugs.

The Pickwickian toad sings of himself,
A stout old gentleman of means and thrift;

The bluff and hearty bullfrog by the pond
Bellows his boasts, and puffs his own praises.

Preferring window screens to rain-damp leaves,
The tiny tree frog trills his outsized voice.

The disparate, dissonant descantations

Of this catalogue of errant froggery
Drift in and out of transient harmony
And back again, an ancient unity
To please the late-night wanderer of hours.

 

O Ye of Little Frog

For those who deny that frogs sing to God
 
O ye of little faith in night’s mysteries
Oft hasten to explain away God’s arts,
And dampen joys with your false-writ histories
Believing in dull books, and not your hearts.

You claim that frogs sing only to gain mates,
Based on some long-dead dullard’s science log,
Claiming the last word on reptilian traits -
What do you know of the love-life of a frog?

You might then with equal injustice claim
That Compline is sung in order to attract
Women – but is that Saint Benedict’s aim?
Poor frogs and monks sing hymns; and that’s a fact!

Vigil of the Assumption



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Vigil of the Assumption

We will forever venerate our Queen,
Whom God Himself chose happily to be
His Mother, and the Mother of us all.
Each orphaned soul, rejected by mankind,
Adrift among the sloshing, foul debris
Of counsels falsely hissed behind the leaves
Must know that in the wild, sin-howling nights
Of desolation, clutching to himself
The fragments of his failed humanity,
Even so, his loving Mother comes to him,
To tend, to heal, to love, to hold in trust
For God this child of Hers, condemned by time.

Night Class



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Night Class

The moonless night presents a nothingness,
As flickering cones of yellow light pursue
Pale wraiths and shadows through the conifers.
The radio hisses in its loneliness,
While miles and hours in meditation pass;
The coffee cup from several towns ago
Is empty now; its caffeine promises
Have faded like a statesman’s solemn vows
While Byron, Shelley, and Keats, in repose
Between the covers of a Moby Book,
Await those even later, owlish hours,
Then to renew their pleynts against the past.

Liesl and the Egrets



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Liesl and the Egrets

 
Neighbor Willie was mowing the August fields
And to this tillage flew egrets, all white,
Following the blade for its bug-rich yields,
Soaring and wheeling in the mid-day light

Some thirty or more of this hungry flock
Alighted on the lawn beneath the trees
Before the wide window, as if to mock
A spirited dachshund – oh, what a tease!

Young Liesl girded for battle, oh, yes:
The air, the birds, and the doggie were still,
As when a thunderstorm builds, as you may guess,
Or a stalking she-wolf waits for her kill

The door was opened, and, thundering, Liesl sprang
Into the lists of honor, against all odds,
With yelp and yap and yip and paw and fang,
True daughter of the old Germanic gods!

Ere long the scene was silent, free of birds;
An errant feather here and there told the story
Of Liesl’s noble charge far better than mere words,
Told of this day’s dachshundian glory.

 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chris and Deedra's Porch



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Chris and Deedra’s Porch


Porch-exiled with our beer and cigarettes
We firmly urged the dogs, dead wasps, and heat
To move a bit and make some room for us.
There was no evening cool, no hope of it,
No hope in anything, and there we sank
Into drought-dusty, disreputable old chairs,
Surrendered to the heat and beer and smokes,
Avoided thinking about the death-still dusk.
But then a gentle tease, a gentle breeze
Came wafting coolly from across the fields
Only for a moment, and was gone again,
Not cruelly but of kindness, just a note,
A fairy’s note, soft-whispered through a leaf,
A hymn for exiles, a song of autumn.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Summer Doggerel



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Summer School

The blue fluorescent lights in summer are
More hateful than in autumn, yes, by far.


The Hurricane That Wasn’t

The hurricane that wasn’t flies away;
The land still gasps – no rain again today


Summer Lawn Care

The lawns are rough, so work I must,
But all I mow are weeds and dust


The Pale Summer Rose

God blesses us with the pale summer rose
But it won’t live without the water hose

Liesl-Dog



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Liesl

My little dachshund often yaps;
At other times she sweetly naps

Pippa-Cat



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Pippa-Cat

Sweet Pippa-Cat was hot with lust
So at the vet all that was fixed
But now she’s only a bit of dust -
A speeding car, and she was nixed

25 June: Saint William, Abbot



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


25 June: Saint William, Abbot

Saint William, Abbot, had a rabbit, who
One hot day chose to chew the Abbot’s shoe.

Studies Show



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Studies Show

Loud advertisements claim that studies show
The need to buy their products, don’t you know:
Expensive slimming creams that trim one’s hips
Vitaminized water to pass one’s lips
Soft magic creams to block the cancerous sun
And scientific pills to make life fun.

But

We’re never told who studied what, the name
Of that mysterious scholar without fame,
What university in which he worked
What secret corporate labs in which he lurked
What validation he could bestow -

We’re only told that studies show.

An Old, Old Colossus



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


An Old, Old Colossus

News item: corpses of stowaways found
aboard a container ship

Foul darkness, stench, and silence thus entomb
Dead made-in-China hopes inside a box,
Lost souls upon, within, a breathless sea
Among the video games and Christmas toys,
The sneakers that one cannot live without
And fashions fresh from blooded tiny hands
In squalid concrete blocks of suicide.
True bills of lading note the paperwork,
Promissory notes of neatly typed doom,
Free on board, but payable upon our deaths:
The tired, the poor, the huddled corpses wait,
Decaying in an airless metal box,
Afloat upon a golden harbor where
A grim, badged functionary, uniformed
In body-armor and tactical gear,
There lifts his lamp inside the darkened door,
And mourns.

The Staretz



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


The Staretz

In middle life the sunflower bends its head,
No longer to the sun as in its youth,
But to the earth in all humility,
Ripening for us all its dreams and works,
And aging happily to eternal dawn.

The Farmer to Saint Swithin



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


The Farmer to Saint Swithin

O good Saint Swithin, please, to you we pray,
On this your high summer rain-making day –
Of your blest kindness send us sweet, soft showers,
The kind that gently fall for hours and hours,
To heal the sunburnt land of thirst and drought
And nourish the corn that sees the winter out;
And if you grant the boon we humbly ask
We’ll work the harder on each rural task:
We’ll ditch and fence and plough, and milk the cow,
Share with the widder-folk, and feed the sow,
Count out some plantful seeds for poor folks’ needs,
And daily tell God’s Mysteries on our beads.

Pinon



Mack Hall
mhall46184@aol.com


Pinon

The incense of the mountains drifts along
The arroyos, and into the narrow streets
Of Taos at dawn, the breath, perhaps, of God.