So much bigotry and hate.
Hatred of black people.
Hatred of brown people.
Hatred of Asian people.
Hatred of other people.
So much bigotry and hate.
We will be asked
When we reach the gate,
Not, who did we love;
We will be asked,
Who did we hate.
I sat on the bench at the West end of the docks, looking out to sea, and watched the ships pass by. Occasionally I went there to free my spirit from the arrhythmic tides of city life. The horizon of the sea promises adventure beyond, and distant ships sail away.
The guffaw of gulls interrupted my pelagic reverie for a moment, and I noticed an old man approaching. He looked the quintessential mariner, an old salt in dungarees, a peacoat with the collar up, a watch cap, and augmented by a pipe extending from an aged, frowzy beard. As he came closer I noticed the deep wrinkle lines in his face, and his hands; aged by a long, nautical life. I thought, this is surely Davy Jones himself, and I must be well underway into a Melvillian mist. I can tell you that I was rather taken aback when he chose to sit on the bench next to me.
After a moment of silence, in which my imagination billowed, the old man spoke.
His voice was aged, and cracked, but not so much as mine when I nervously replied.
“Have you been waiting long”?
I was again taken aback; what was he asking me.
“I don’t understand,” I replied.
“It won’t be too much longer.” He continued. “I bring you tidings.”
“Who, may I ask, are you?”
“You have already imagined a name for me, am I correct? You want to call me Melville, or Ahab, or Nemo, or maybe Popeye. Call me Pops, for now.”
“Okay, Pops, but how do you know me?”
“I was born a hundred thousand years ago, and there is nothing that I don’t know.” He began his story. “I saw Peter, Paul, and Moses playing ring around the roses, and I can thrash the man who says it isn’t so.”
Cautiously, having heard these lyrics before, I interposed, “It’s a lie, it’s a lie.”
The old mariner gave me a sideways glance with a twinkle in his eye, and then grunted, “Ship ahoy, ship ahay, ship ahy.”
Another brief moment of silence passed, then he spoke again, “It won’t be too much longer. Your ship is coming in. Oh, it will not be laden with loot. That’s a dreamer’s myth. Your ship is coming. Look out there.” His old hand shook as he motioned at the horizon. “Beyond the horizon there are marvelous, new worlds. Enjoy this berth, for it is a port-o-call. Be kind and loving and all will be well. You are, and shall be, your captain.”
“Pops…” I started to speak, but the old mariner stood and walked slowly away; gradually just faded away. I heard his voice drift off into the briny spume, “I’ve sailed the seven seas, and sniffed the salty breeze, but I never, never, never saw a mermaid.”
The guffaw of the gulls piped like a rowdy shanty, and awakened me. Sometimes I rather like my afternoon naps.
I sat with my iPad this morning, visiting social media and other sites of inconsequentiality, for well over an hour. When I finally turned off my device and looked around, I noticed that it had rained. I went outside and sat on the porch. I had just visited a virtual world; a lost world devoid of nature.
As I sat exposed to the natural world, I saw birds, and plants and trees. I felt the wind and I smelled the petrichor from the rain. I saw the sun peek through the clouds. I saw mockingbirds drinking from the wet earth, then heard them sing a marvelous medley of tunes while the wind joined in and played the chimes in my yard in pleasant harmony. Some leaves, felled by the rain, spiraled in a small wind vortex. The natural world greeted my monitor weary eyes, and welcomed my senses to a refreshing measure of peace. A moment returned to the allure of a humble then, before the technological separation of man and God.
The alert sound on my smart phone jingled as I sat there. I suppose that they want me to refinance my home, or purchase an extended warranty on everything, or someone wants to chat about nothing. I did not answer. The doves started to coo; they have a nest in the bushes nearby.
How nice it would be to go to the country, into the ravine, and play. Play with sticks, in streams, by the riverside. How fun it would be to slide down the hill on a cardboard box, or swim in the pond with the lily pads and frogs; and laugh. I want to laugh at the frogs that laugh at me. I’d like to munch on some wild clover. I want to be home by the time the street lights go on. I want to catch fireflies.
I fear for the future of life. I worry about the life of youth.
Many folks think they know something.
Some presume to know a lot.
They are quick to offer their opinion.
They are quick to tell you what.
One notable bit of wisdom, however,
Their prattle always lacks,
One tidbit of data they choose to ignore;
Opinion is not fact.
That does not stop their tongues
From flapping in the wind.
A surfeit of misinformation
From a bottomless pit of spin,
Spews out conviction after conviction,
Allowing no truth to rein it in.
Eventually, when the voice of God
Attempts to reveal what they don’t understand,
They reject the revelations from above,
And accept the foolishness of Man.
Their pious words ring out,
Like bells without a clapper.
Their politics are hollow sounds,
Rapacious echoes of endless clatter.
Idle talk in bars and parlors,
Resonates in callow ears.
Propaganda is a bias prelude,
That crescendos into fears.
It is written “the pen is mightier than the sword”.
We are certain that words do matter.
So, if you know not what you do not know,
Please, spare us the vanity of your chatter.