Thursday, October 24, 2013

So You Want to be a King, Huh? - by Bob Atkinson

So You Want to be a King, Huh?
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

"... Humility, the first of all other virtues
 - for other people ..."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

some men got it, some men don't
while some men see themselves as dopes
some men peer out from a veil
of self conscious bravado unrestrained

some men see themselves as kings
without ever knowing what that means
merely want to stand on top
of the mountain surveying all

looking down onto their vassals
understand not what that entails
twenty hours of work each day
organization without hourly pay

seeing to it all are paid
all good workers productively engaged
all wagons loaded proper
all fields plowed and sewn for crops

all crops reaped and sent to market
all clothes mended and worn as proper
all children taught good in school
all roads paved and fences painted

all men judged for breaking laws
all jails cleaned with brush and water
all rivers sweet for thirst of palette
all boats mended along with nets

grievances addressed, all complaints redressed
mothers counseled about stray children
fathers drug out early from bars
street lights lit brighter than stars

so if you don't want to be a king
will understand your discrepancy
from talk easily dropped from your lips
as you sit with cigarette contemplating this

To Lament the Past - by Bob Atkinson

To Lament the Past
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

saw those open laments
bewails of days gone past
where someone infringed upon
a culturally divided view of life

killing to them before this time
not an unknown act
daily fact as they attacked
anyone not of their relation
another tribe another wagon
another body to them not people
another way of gaining goods
for their women and relatives 

what they object to vigorously
that little bit of life's pedigree
which hurt their culture's pride
as their rituals taken so far aback

knowledge lost on bloodied sands
history unknown of their bands
a tree whose leaves fall to the ground
to keep their ancestors unfounded

so who among us tries not to
succeed in what we do
or maybe that's the problem here
effort's not in some imbued

have little patience for those who now
sit on their lazy arches
and bemoan that they are not Kings
when being King denotes the process

Accomplishment - by Bob Atkinson

(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

Jennings said it with eloquence
"there were days when we were hungry ...
nights when we were cold ..."
here in my time agree with him
desire aches deep within my soul

desire for accomplishment
that simple mindless act
which takes from what isn't
and gives something little back

thus edging satisfaction closer
to the center of one's thoughts
and faithfully applying goodness
with that little bit of heart

to gain in satisfaction takes
a special kind of push
which feeds on want of action
with harsh beating of the muscle bush

do not feel an institution as
here in this brotherhood of man
requires great solutions
to everyones good plans

just purpose and direction
those twin peaks of mountains large
which block our path throughout
what we can and can't force on

trick which has been folded
into skills and tools of usage brilliant
convert those twin impediments now
into bricks for roads of further movement

Friday, October 18, 2013

Give it Some Thought - by Bob Atkinson

Give it Some Thought
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

we sailed out on the oceans
we climbed upon the shore
we set our flags upon the sand
'till natives shouted "ours"
we flew up over mountains
we dove down to depths in ships
we circled Earth up there beyond
where no breath has ever been
we filed into their center
after we burned their cities down
turned a cultured world to rubble
then let our own cities crumble down
we take to these adventures
because of who we are
the ones of true perspective
wild men of sharpened claw

these tales of great adherence
to expanded wild man state
drawn from eons percolated
through our musty brains

show frightful pacing of deceit
and movement toward barbaric
then sweetened attitude between
the abrupt force of the caustic

and the centered feeling
of doing some great task
by killing those opposed to us
where understanding is most lacking

yes, we do these things of lore
and smile when we remember
giving more to them when we
brought their final surrender
now we see no purpose
in fighting ever more
we turn to organization
of great cities created for

that life and sweet endeavor
that filling deed of now
where we teach our children good
turn our factories toward making plows

so now I must be sleeping
not heard this desire from them
they let our towns decay to dust
and drugs fill our children's veins

while turning arguments to what
gives left or right or center
meaningful attention
while most of us know better

don't tell me I'm not romantic
don't shut me into corners
of your base descriptions
those simple do's and don't-ers

for I believe in my heart
we've really gotta think
about that direction we will take
to make our thoughts wildly percolate

Active Awareness of Conscious Intention (Purpose) - by Bob Atkinson

Active Awareness of
Conscious Intention
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

count our indiscretions
we all have plenty to
infuse our generation
with devil's attitude

lacking intention to succeed
we lay there on our hay
and fiddle with the question
"... what to do today?"

well, if your soul's so shallow
you do not have firm "... to do's ..."
cannot help you with humanity
no expansion on human views

purpose guides us to our goal
honor be its name
and sets our course for activity
that desire for personal gain

or giving ourselves to others
helping those whom we can
assist in living out that treasure
with which we were born as man

life of potential good
and suppression of what's bad
looking out to see ourselves
enhance all that we can

carries with it goals supreme
that simple kind of stuff
which fills our hearts with charity
and keeps us looking up

Leveraged Power - by Bob Atkinson

Leveraged Power
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson
"... when power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses ..."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

leverage held in one's hand
tells not of good intent
only flies beyond the grasp
of one simple mortal man

fleeing toward that false direction
of satisfaction superficially met
only tries to impede that word
which provides most heartfelt lessons

of how we live upon this earth
dream those dreams we plan
and stand up to our brothers
with or without a helping hand

power takes to multiplying
when agreed in substance good
more than don't will follow close
one with a benevolent attitude

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Lost Legion - by Rudyard Kipling////Lost Purpose - by Bob Atkinson

The Lost Legion
by Rudyard Kipling

there's a Legion that never was 'listed
that carries no colours or crest,
but, split in a thousand detachments,
is breaking the road for the rest.

our fathers they left us their blessing-
they taught us, and groomed us, and crammed;
but we've shaken the Clubs and the Messes
to go and find out and be damned,
Dear boys!
to go and get shot and be damned,

so some of us chevy the slaver,
and some of us cherish the black,
and some of us hunt on the Oil Coast,
and some on-the Wallaby track:

and some of us drift to Sarawak
and some of us drift up The Fly,
and some share our tucker with tigers,
and some with the gentle Masai,
Dear boys!
take tea with the giddy Masai.

we've painted The Islands vermilion,
we've pearled on half-shares in the Bay,
we've shouted on seven-ounce nuggets,
we've starved on a Kanaka's pay.

we've laughed at the world as we found it,-
its women and cities and men-
from Say Yid Burgash in a tantrum
to the smoke-reddened eyes of Loben,
Dear boys!
we've a little account with Loben.

we opened the Chinaman's oil-well,
but the dynamite didn't agree,
and the people got up and fan-kwaied us,
and we ran from Ichang to the sea.

yes, somehow and somewhere and always
we were first when the trouble began,
from a lottery-row in Manila
to an I.D.B. race on the Pan,
Dear boys!
with the Mounted Police on the Pan.

we preach in advance of the Army,
we skirmish ahead of the Church,
with never a gunboat to help us
when we're scuppered and left in the lurch.

but we know as the cartridges finish
and we're filed on our last little shelves,
that the Legion that never was 'listed
will send us as good as ourselves,
(Good men!)
Five hundred as good as ourselves.

then a health (we must drink it in whispers),
to our wholly unauthorized horde-
to the line of our dusty foreloopers,
the Gentlemen Rovers abroad.

yes, a health to ourselves ere we scatter,
for the steamer won't wait for the train,
and the Legion that never was 'listed
goes back into quarters again.
goes back under canvas again.
the swag and the billy again.
Here's how!
the trail and the packhorse again.
the trek and the lager again.


Kipling gave us examples of how
to document the emotional life of his times.
He doesn't condemn the actions of his era,
but expresses without commentary
the behavioral options some had taken.

The enjoyment of interaction with other
cultures is pervasive in this piece.

Glad we can find his works today,
as they preserve
the many adventures of his times,
mixing of cultures,
and appreciation of the minds
of those of a different stripe,
with the eternal effort to
influence diverse civilizations
with one's own institutions.

An attempt to grasp the value of "the Lost Legion" for today:

Lost Purpose
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

we set out on the Marne
to correct what had been done
to defense of stability in Europe
put badness of blame on some

we marched as soldiers bravely trained
to kill and die for glory
coming home to enjoy a time
when we could tell our stories

then in penance gave up our drink
as our brothers grabbed from us
that freedom held so dear in hand
that totality of trust

trust of which our fellow men
carried with them in their hearts
that we would give due caution
to deeds for which we sought

they killed our institutions
they pushed us to the brink
on that black day in twenty-nine
didn't hesitate to make us sink

we struggled through the thirties
felt no future brightness gleamed
until we fought for other cultures
those theatres of short-sighted dreams

visions held by some who lurked
in shadows of our lands
like those in merry England
who knew not freedom's hand

we gave what could be given
fought our friends west of Japan
died again in fields of fire
paid repentance there again

for a while we suffered from
smoke of an industrial age
and built our society with roads
spread towns thin across our page

allowed our cities to decay
our morality gathered dust
as those who pushed simple ways
knew not what they had brought

spent energies on the Viet Nam
to protect from viscousness
of those dreamers who didn't find
morality deep within

five hundred died in one week
that's just our boys alone
we add to that the "enemy"
who later became our friend

brought the world together tightly
giving up our prosperity's last hope
bought all goods they could produce
manufacture and ship to us

tried to find our answer
to creation of containment
of energies abundant
no simple force arrangement

then out of the blue horizon
we came upon a dream
build for eons not for years
our cities and our tombs
drive those foundations deep down
drive those walls up high
build what can be lived in
by those who'll know us only

by our writing down of emotion
descriptions of our lives
and how we came together
to live productive lives

City Folks vs Country Folks - by Bob Atkinson

City Folks vs Country Folks
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

were of the same blood
these two sides mortally opposed
to betterment of each other
peace, firm goodwill remote

one faction born in cities
one born in sparser lands
each seeing self as supreme
as survival had demanded

fought to slight the opposition
they fought to keep their freedom
identity required bravery
and suppression of idealism

allowed themselves to become enslaved
to their culture and its deviousness
which further enhanced killing
a substantial form of weakness

did not see themselves as brothers
no feeling for the other side
just pursued their own interests
forced upon them from self pride

what can the final outcome hold
no good deeds for any man
just terror in the hearts of mothers
when children blown from limb to limb

do we have another way
to feed our future direction
and find good ways to extricate
great cultures from oblivion?

don't know answers to this question
no bright explanations in my head
but, can see no truth in errors
brought forth by bad intentions

hold fast to peace, tranquility
hold fast to calm direction
oppose those who see this world
as their personal power progression

power corrupts those absolutely
causes death before one's time
and seeks to gain absolution
where forgiveness never shines

Golden Mean (Middle of the Road) - by Bob Atkinson

Golden Mean
(Middle of the Road)
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

"... moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice ..."
Thomas Paine

calmness denotes fairness
in a rough and tumble world
as patience allows for restraint
such a balanced form of truth

composure seeks control
as dignified coolness dissipates
dispassionately forming pleasure
as we edge toward those city gates

equanimity lies as calm forbearance
just as judiciousness plants its tree
with vines for roots of justice
getting applied to you and me

not to be confused justness
which shifts toward decency
benevolence of action entwined by
an altruistic outlook given freely

all a measure of mildness
a moderate tone of voice
speaks of poise quietly giving
a reasonable direction for our course

harmonious in its fairness
balanced in approach
constraint of coolness sets our tone
to stay sober in a rocking boat

continence presenting accent
a steady nerve anchor for our craft
agreement getting attention
soothing motions, agitation lacking

all this speaks of toleration
a sweet, sensible juste milieu
of that golden mean of action
allowing progression to ring true

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Conflict of Traditions - by Bob Atkinson

Conflict of Traditions
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

"... handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice ..."

here in our post-modern time
we settle down to action
which calms our inner feelings
or produces flames of passion

some live their lives quite positive
some dog the rest of us
some salivate at inflicting pain
some push us toward a cause

in history have periods gone
to producing future culture
amalgamation of learned thought
congealed to give us wonder

now we've seen those sensitive
to what seems so obscure
ignore those attributes
demanded by good principle

they postulate argument
to advance a wanton side
of deliberation in due course
or merely arrogance of pride

me, I reflect those deeds
as biology run amok
total disregard for that
which advances our best stuff

Fire in an Icy Soul - by Bob Atkinson

Fire in an Icy Soul
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

tally more than weak reply
when prodded for an answer
tear this subject limb from limb
removed from quiet solitude

don't ask me to soar with geese
will not in formation fly
no carrying of pedaled thoughts
have my own words to try

as an eagle soars without another
save odd attackers upon him flown
will find my path by innocence
understanding progressions on my own

Forces of Light and Darkness - by Bob Atkinson

Forces of
Light and Darkness
(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

bright the light of everything
so clear of meaning when
we look out to our future
see tales of happenstance

from this true perspective
truth lies so near our hearts
we find life's intuition
demands eyesight in the dark

on the other side those
who see good meaning not
hold an opposite opinion
truth hidden without hope

purpose not so benevolent
selfish greed so evident
shallow thoughts of intellect
honored duty harshly tinted

which side do I belong on?
which side of this fence am I?
depends on who I grew up with
align to those who are my kind

DNA - by Bob Atkinson

(c)2013 Bob Atkinson

my gates are those of iron bars
my walls of cut stone blocks
my floor of cobbled rocky bricks
my roof a blue endless top

my fears not finding root in my
garden of goodness, or evil muses
my talent sufficient for this task
of mounting forces bent for duty

thoughts displayed so deep within
a combination of instructional threads
on how to build my body good
how to lay out brain inside my head

forces from ages past
cause my every move
dragging me into actions
not so clearly understood

here, in this present world
my duly conscious home
I ponder deep recesses
of my unlit past life's form

terrain within my body
which determines how I act
gives each effort maximum value
while defending from returned attacks

oh, some force within my cheeks
buried deeply inside my toes
causes grand illusion of reality
predetermined by much older folks

in my response to all events
self tells me what to do
when pushed to give reaction quick
DNA regulates my next few moves