Saturday, April 25, 2015


Gentle Reader,

What you’ll find below is an upside-down anthology of sorts: a journal of my frequent morning musings from January 2008 till now, in reverse order.

Much of what I write here is verse in traditional rhymed iambic pentameters, old fashioned in form but contemporary in topics and idiom. It asks to be read aloud so that the effects of rhyme and meter may be felt.

Sometimes I write brief prose essays, but even my verses are essays, or attempts, pursuing a line of thought to some conclusion, though more sonorously than those in prose: discursive verses, I call them.

In either case, you’re the reader over my shoulder as I write, which makes my writing different than when I have no audience in mind but only a vague urge to express. So I thank you for whatever attention you give my words and thoughts and feelings because you might so easily attend to something else, and you soon will.

To beguile you to linger longer, though, I’ve coupled most of my compositions with a photo or image I’ve taken or borrowed, which often corresponds with my words of that day.

Thank you for visiting here.  I hope you enjoy your stay and are moved to come back soon.

—Alan Nordstrom

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for Jeremy Rifkin

               The Golden Rule depends on empathy
               To feel another’s suffering as your own,
               As if you were a single entity
               And not reliant on yourself alone:

               I feel your pain; I feel your joy as well
               Because somehow I can identity
               With your experience as if a spell
               Bound both of us with power we can’t deny.

               Although the Jungle’s Law would seem to make
               Us enemies dyed red in tooth and claw,
               We can cooperate with give and take
               To rise above that sad primordial flaw.

                    If ever it were time to turn the page,
                    Now is the hour for the Empathic Age.


Friday, April 24, 2015


               A Global Wisdom Culture would entail
               A fundamental shift of attitude
               And resolution to blaze out a trail
               That humankind has never yet pursued.

               The way of conquest and supremacy,
               Of acquisition and of self-defense,
               Instead of following philosophy,
               Has led us far astray from wiser sense—

               A sense of empathy for our own kind,
               An insight into others’ suffering,
               A bond toward which we’re naturally inclined,
               Is what a new civility could bring.

                    A Global Wisdom Culture will arise
                    When we have wholly learned to empathize.


Thursday, April 23, 2015


               Since we are here to scan the vasty sky
               With instruments like Hubble’s telescope,
               We see the odds are infinitely high
               That we shall realize our fondest hope—
               That we are not alone; although the odds
               Of making contact with some aliens,
               Who might from our perspective seem like gods,
               Are slim, we would be glad for cosmic friends.
               Homo questor we might be better named
               Since we’re more seeker than we’re sapient
               And have done much for which we’re rightly blamed
               Yet we’re still yearning for enlightenment,
                    And hence we deeply probe the far-off stars
                    Leaving behind our worshipping of Mars.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015


               I sit and sip my morning latte brew
               With yellow pad on lap and pen in hand
               In hopes a message from the Muse comes through,
               A boon I can request but not command.

               The best prerequisite’s a good night’s sleep
               So I might ponder in alert repose
               Ready for something rising from the deep
               That once for ancient minstrels arose.

               My daily practice is to contemplate
               While waiting to define what comes to mind
               In rhythmic words that aptly celebrate
               Whatever inspirations I’ve opined.

                    The last thing, though, I want my poem to tout
                    Is how its very being came about.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


               Our little Tig is quite alert to all
               The morning’s sounds, to dogs especially,
               With no idea that someone so small
               And cute might not be taken seriously
               When she barks back a suitable rebuke
               To some bruiser from half-way down the block
               Whose name’s Goliath or else Marmaduke,

               Who’s bred to chase off varmints from a flock.
               But Tiggy is intrepid, nonetheless,
               Determined to protest the insolence,
               Which a small spate of yapping should redress
               That from her point of view would sound immense.
                    While her ferocity is laughable,
                    It makes our morning anything but dull.


Monday, April 20, 2015


               My verse that’s metaphysical
               I do in the tradition of John Donne,
               Aiming to give you something choice to mull 
               Perhaps enlightening, or just for fun.

               My favorite topic is that very Mind
               By which all such inventions are conceived,
               With which the poet’s brain must be aligned
               So something valuable may be retrieved.

               The Cosmic Plenum is the very Source
               Of all such human creativity,
               To which ambitious authors need recourse
               For composition of their poetry,

                    Yet anyone who would invent what’s new
                    Must court that Muse who’s aptest to pursue.