Wednesday, March 4, 2015



AFTERWORD


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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MIND MATTERS

for Ervin Laszlo


I

          Though other theories have prevailed till now,          
          With matter being assumed the building block          
          Of all there is, a thing and not a Thou,           
          The universe not spirit but a clock, 
          
          An older view has lately been revived:           
          That Mind’s the elemental guiding force
          By which the budding cosmos is contrived,          
          And Spirit is its fundamental Source.

   
            Mind matters more than we have long believed
  
             Being the womb in which the world’s conceived.


II

          That we are here is evidence enough 
          The universe is made of more than stuff,          
           But rather is invested with a mind 
           By which the blooming cosmos is designed.  
         
          Mere random rolls of dice could never build 
          The complex universe we’re here to see, 
          And such an enterprise was clearly willed
          Then surely through invention came to be. 
           
          The proof of this is that we’re here to show 
          By our own deeds the way a mind proceeds:
          This very poem demonstrates the flow
          Of thought that fills a certain pattern’s needs,

  
             And thus it is the universe is made
  
             From form and matter thoughtfully arrayed.


   III

          It’s Mind that finds or generates the stuff          
          From which materiality is made,          
          But matter in itself is not enough,          
          So Mind decides how it is best arrayed, 
         
          And thus it was the Cosmos came to be          
          And thence evolved to what it is today,          
          A function of expressed mentality           
          That may, through us, have more still to display. 
          
          For all we know, we’re evolution’s edge,           
          On whom the growing cosmos now depends,          
          For it’s our duty and our privilege           
          To realize where cosmic progress tends—

    
          Taking the greatest stride we’ve ever stridden,
   
           Revealing those deep secrets Mind has hidden.







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Tuesday, March 3, 2015


OPPOSITES

for Richard Wilbur

          High-minded and high-handed are opposed,
          As a good dictionary will have glosed:
          The one being elevated and profound;
          The other rife where scoundrels abound.








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Monday, March 2, 2015




I WANT IT NOW!

          The problem with emotion-backed demands
          Is how they bind your mind and tie your hands;
          Whereas if you’d let go and just be calm,
          You’d feel the healing of that heavenly balm
          Which patience and serenity supply
          And Providence will render by and by.









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Sunday, March 1, 2015


THE PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION

          The Prairie Home Companion’s on tonight
          For those of us who stay in Saturdays,
          A folksy and old-fashioned ear’s delight
          For us accustomed to the inward gaze,
          Trained by the radio in our childhood
          To see with just imagination’s eye
          What otherwise would not be understood,
          Except as fiction readers learn to spy.
          The two-hour’s traffic of this medley,
          Performed on stage in a Twin City’s hall,
          Consists of music, songs and repartee,
          Variety enough to please us all
               Capped off by Garrison’s weekly reviews
               Of his hometown, Lake Wobegon’s breaking news.









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Saturday, February 28, 2015


YIN / YANG

          Excitement and serenity are poles
          We oscillate between throughout our lives
          As we pursue our grand or trivial goals
          According as our character contrives.

          Frenetic temperaments are supercharged
          With energy and driven to succeed;
          Often their wills and egos are enlarged
          While their compulsions emanate from greed.

          Tranquility, however, rules the others
          Who are essentially contemplative,
          Seeing in men not enemies but brothers
          While seeking calm and peaceful ways to live.

               Could these two modes be held in equipoise
               They'd prove the route to optimize our joys.








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Thursday, February 26, 2015


MY WAY
 
for James O’Dea
author of Cultivating Peace 


          My normal mode is that of pacificism,
          Induced by nature more than catechism;
          While others seem more born or bred to fight,
          My aim is amiable, my goal delight.

          Though strife and struggle may seem nature’s way,
          A higher ruling principle’s in play,
          Which is the ultimate transcendence of
          All conflict and contention via love.









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