September 11, 2016
With Summer fading and 2016 winding toward its last quarter with all the promise of another fantastic year, this date/day of reflection and remembrance of the 9/11 attacks prompts me annually to share in some forum or another a poem I wrote more than 10 years before September 11, 2001. Originally titled “A Prayer For the Children,” I eventually realized that it was bigger than the title and indeed could be a prayer for all of humanity. Thus the poem became simply “A Prayer.” Written as my reaction to the news of the US led military response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (also known as the First Gulf War) in January 1991, it evolved with the addition of another stanza to make it a perfect reading on Savannah’s Public Radio Station 91.1 WSVH. Station Manager Eric Nauert read the poem on air on the first anniversary of 9/11 as part of his local special which featured songs, music, and written word pieces produced for or about the events which had taken place on 9/11/01.
It is presented here as it has evolved, to become a standard in the repertoire of what I consider to be my best poems.
I pray that you will never know a hurt like that within my soul.
A hungry day, a lonely night, or ever have to see the sight
Of oil washed upon your shores, or the horrible reality of wars.
I pray that you won’t have to feel a desperation that makes you steal,
Or a hopelessness from which you shrug,
“SO WHAT, WHO CARES?!,”
Because you’ve never had a hug.
May you never know the aches of heart,
Where love has been crushed
And can not start,
I pray for you so innocent, yearning to experience Life…
That yours won’t have to be like some who’ve come before,
Who for the dollar shut Heaven’s door to make a mockery of freewill.
May you bring hope and never kill the joy of peace, the peace of Love.
Then never shall you fear the shroud of gleaming buildings crashing down
To burning rubble, to a dusty cloud,
Crushed beneath the searing weight
Of humanity’s breath and lifelong hate;
Then never shall you fear the shroud of a homeless night or a mushroom cloud.
Dedicated to all who have suffered the blows of human violence and injustice from time immemorial.
April 11, 2016
Another Wonderful Day here in Paradise…Here in Savannah, if you were to follow me around sometime, you’d hear me extol this little praise frequently as we made our way around town visiting folks, running errands, and taking care of business throughout the day. It’s my little way of reminding myself (and others if they care to see) that life here in Savannah really is extraordinary. But besides recognizing the physical beauty all around us here in our little corner of the world, it also has a deeper, more metaphysical meaning.
While I have been blessed with a life beyond anything which I could have possibly dreamed, it has certainly come with its share of challenges. It doesn’t matter so much what my personal struggles have been, because we all have our share. But here’s the thing. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to grow through these difficulties, and I have come to understand that they are simply part of the deal. We have joys, we have sorrows, and such is life. Since this world has so many negative things going on at any given time, it falls on me to focus on those thing in the world which are positive.
It has been my experience that my perception of the world affects my attitude.The key for me has been being grateful for the life I have been given, doing the best I can to make it count, and hopefully make the world a better place in the process. Ultimately, if I’m seeing the planet I live on as a beautiful place, it IS a beautiful place. Sure, disaster strikes, people speak and act badly. But that does not diminish the beauty of the flowers, the sunset, or the stars at night.
Those things are beautiful and wonderful regardless of situations and current circumstances. And though we here in Savannah may have gnats, pollen in the spring, and extreme heat and humidity in the summer, we also have butterflies, flowers, and foliage galore, along with Tybee and other beaches, rivers and streams. What more could we ask for?
Well, let’s ask for a safe and pleasant summertime, with family, friends, and visitors each enjoying the Paradise we have here in Savannah. May all the rest of the world see the Heaven on Earth around them as well. And So It Is….
December 16, 2015
Another Wonderful Day in Paradise…here in good old Savannah. Our weather has been extraordinary this year. Our Fall blew in with some nice cool breezes and we even had a few nights which were quite chilly. But overall it’s been unseasonably warmer than usual.
Right now it’s mid-December and we’re still seeing temperatures in the middle to upper 70s. It’s even been at, near, or just above 80 degrees several times in the past few weeks.
While I’m sitting here today enjoying a nice day in the mid-70s, we know we’ll see some colder days and nights as we officially move into the Winter months. In fact, the coming weekend is supposed to dip into the 30s at night again. So as much as we love our nice temperate climate, we do get to experience the wiles of Jack Frost upon occasion. And believe it or not it does actually snow here every now and then.
So who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky, or blessed (?), and have a White Christmas…if not we’ll surely have a Merry Little Christmas Time here in the beautiful city of Savannah. With the squares all adorned in festive greenery and red ribbons & bows, who wouldn’t enjoy a stroll around downtown checking in on the little shops and businesses along the way? One might even find some unique items perfect for giving to loved ones during a visit with one of the many merchants in the area.
Whatever you and your family and friends do this Holiday Season, stay safe, and warm, and have a very, very Happy New Year!!
Peace Always, Don
July 24, 2015
So…we sure have had our fair share of the heat this summer. The past 2 summers were comparatively mild for the most part. As we enjoyed most days in the 80’s (with some in the low 90’s), few crept up past 95 degrees. You could easily count the hottest of days on one hand in 2013, and maybe 2 hands in 2014. Those were, however, exceptional summers. But it was nice not giving too much thought to the weather…
Now that we’re back to normal, I suppose we’ll be used to the subtropical weather by summer’s end. As for today, I’m going to enjoy this nice day we are having today. For nothing beats a temperate day in downtown Savannah, hanging in the squares, enjoying the sights and sounds of our beautiful city.
July 5, 2015
“It’s been Another Wonderful Day in Paradise. . . .”
Hope everyone had a Happy Fourth of July. Now that it has passed, we’ll be settling into the rest of our Savannah Summer. Our little piece of Heaven here on Earth certainly has its days of extreme heat and humidity,and those days are often swarming with plenty of those pesky gnats, mosquitoes, and other bugs. Add to these gifts of nature the frequent afternoon warnings of severe thunderstorms with possible high winds, hail, and torrential rain, and you have our fairly steady Southeast and Coastal Georgia summer environment and weather pattern.
On the Fourth, the fireworks and outdoor festivities kind of hung in the air until the last minute due to the weather. In the end, the fireworks show went ahead as scheduled and festivities went on indoors and outdoors and all points in between. Everyone enjoyed the holiday despite having to navigate between thundershowers and heavy traffic.
Playing with the cards we’ve been dealt is pretty much what we do here as we go on about our daily routines and our plethora of leisure activities. We keep on keeping on. We Love Life. And with our ever present military population (which includes many on active duty, many veterans, and a good number of recovering wounded), we remain grateful for our Freedom and our way of life. This gratitude reminds us to help others along the way.
Being appreciative of this wonderful life helps when it comes to rolling with the punches. It is in this spirit we consider the implications of Forrest Gump’s most famous platitude. Gump says, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get,” expressing in a simplified way that life comes to us moment to moment without an absolute knowledge of what is going to happen along the way. Yet the real pearl in this Gumpism is the idea that life in general comes to us like a box of chocolates–mostly sweet and delicious, but sometimes gooey, semisweet, and even nutty. So enjoy the pieces which taste good to you, and make the most of those you don’t like by giving them to someone who will savor them.
Going with the flow and doing what you have to do when you have to do it can be essential to a happy, balanced life. When it is all said and done, most of us don’t really have a whole lot to legitimately complain about. Truly, our lives are a heck of a lot better than a lot of people’s. And that is what I’ll try to remember the next time it is too hot and gnats are buzzing in my ears and a thunderstorm pops up and the lights go out. I’ll thank Heavens I at least have electricity most of the time.
As for today, I’m alive and well and living in Savannah, Georgia. What more could I ask of the Universe than that?
May 7, 2015
“It’s been Another Wonderful Day in Paradise. . . .”
Amen to that. Finally started getting the editing of the Little Poetry Book of Savannah finished. Spending an entire day in the Gallery Espresso refreshed my inspiration for some of the poetry in the book, so I found myself working diligently to complete some tasks which had been put off for far too long. To this day I’ve never quite been able to find a better place for a stimulating mental workout coupled with a relaxing respite away from the rest of the world than the coffee shops here in Savannah. Whether I go to Gallery Espresso on Wright Square or The Sentient Bean at Forsyth Park or some other of the great little places in the downtown area, I am always amazed at what gets accomplished within the walls and gardens of these establishments.
Gallery Espresso actually operates as a working gallery where one can find some of the most interesting showings of art offered here in our glorious little historic city. The art enhances the experience of enjoying oneself partaking of whatever delightful drink and/or nosh that has been chosen from the baristas’ offerings, and so helps in one’s venture into a heightened consciousness. If you’ve never been, you’ve got to check it out next time you visit the downtown area; whether as a tourist or a resident, you will surely be glad you did.
You can get a similar vibe down at the Sentient Bean. It often seems a little edgier and busier at The Bean because the block bustles with much activity. The best little alternative market in the world is right next door at Brighter Day where you’ll find a nice little “health food” deli. So let me get going for the time being. I’ve got lots to do. And I never tire of taking care of business while enjoying the blessings of living in Historic Savannah. Peace Always Y’all….
March 26, 2015
“It’s been Another Wonderful Day in Paradise. . . .”
That’s what I say to most of the folks I talk to throughout my days (and nights) here in Savannah (and all around the Coastal Empire of Georgia) when asked “how’s it going?” in that inimitable way we have of speaking to one another down here in our beautiful little corner of the world.
Most conversations these past couple of weeks have focused on the beautiful weather we’re either having or not having on that particular day. Of course it’s always best when we’re having one of those gorgeous sunny spring days we are so famous for this time of year. Naturally, the season does bring it’s share of cloudy, rainy, even cooler periods. But even on those days, I still like to remind myself and the people I come into contact with that it has been another wonderful day in paradise–because it has.
You live in paradise long enough you come to realize that even heaven on earth has its ups and downs. What it comes down to is attitude. Attitude and perception together create one’s state of being. And there you have it–light, beautiful, wonderful, colorful, fragrant, warm, mild, hot, humid, cool, cloudy, rainy, chilly, occasionally cold, freezing, and yes, even dark Savannah, indeed is paradise. And Paradise is a state of mind.