Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Leaving for college

Penultimates never get the credit they deserve. 

a bee fly hovers over a thistle

My first son, second child is off to college. This is his junior year. His mother and I follow him out of the house this next to last week in August. At this time of year, the morning is unusually cool for Kansas, good for a seven hour trip across Kansas to Fort Collins, Colorado.  

A father always gives a child a little extra cash, a new crisp hundred dollar bill. The son says, "There really is no need hundred dollar bills, other than to fuel the drug trade."

This summer is over all too quickly.

Summer came and went
Like every year before
'Til there is no more.
When a child leaves home
What is worse than constant noise
Is total silence

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Captain Robin Williams

Robin Williams (1951-2014), O Captain, O Captain, you will be missed.

In Dead Poets Society, teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams, is fired for his unconventional teaching methods. He visits his classroom one last time  - whereupon his students stand on their desks defying their stern headmaster, and recite Walt Whitman's 1865 poem, "O Captain! My Captain!

No accident that Robin Williams' character was named for British poet John Keats who wrote another equally famous poem: 

Ode on a Grecian Urn
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

Robin Williams plays John Keating, an English teacher at a rigid prep school, in Dead Poets Society

O Captain, My Captain by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 

But O heart! heart! heart! 
O the bleeding drops of red, 
Where on the deck my Captain lies, 
Fallen cold and dead.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

an old butterfly seen through a child's eye

an old butterfly at Botanica, the Wichita Gardens

A child’s view of an old butterfly

In an autumn garden:

A child sees a butterfly
Its wings old and tattered
Whose color once bright
Now faded as the blossoms
But still pretty to a child
Who sees the world in pinks and golds

She says,
Do not fear
Stay awhile on my hand
And feel my gentle breath
Do not fly away

For I think,
Of all creatures great and small,
God planned for you
To live this moment
In my garden flowers
With no hint of what’s to come