Friday, March 4, 2011

How Old Was I

How old was I?
How old was I,
when the steam engine ceased to be a steam engine?
When did the valves and rods and hissing
give way to engines with something missing?
No riveted tank, no clanging bell,
the sound of steam I knew so well,
pressing the track in deliberate churning,
massive cast iron wheels turning,
What night was it that I awoke to a droning roar,
of aircraft plunging from the sky toward my door?
I feared, running out and looking up, sure to see
a ball of flame dropping straight upon me.
No, this roar was a land based sounder,
not up there, but over yonder,
toward the tracks I walked by day,
to adventures that lie along the way.
But where was the shrill warning cry
of whistle valve tugged by engineer?
No valves expiring hot breath to ply,
the wheels to the dark ribbon adhere.
Now I see the sloping cycloptic face
beaming toward the turn,
no smoke stack belching, no coal to burn.
Just small unseemly wheels, gentle on the track,
humming motor without squeals
diminished by the click and clack.
This single eye staring down on me,
was a new creature breaking through,
my vanishing childhood taking flee,
a security blanket steadfast and true,
fixed in my heart, my friendly local choo-choo.
Was I eight or ten?  Perhaps earlier, then?
No matter. Steam will not this way come again.
© 2001 Roger w. Bodo

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Age of Unenlightenment

The dark ages are not a time in past history but cycles of history - times when reason loses ground to superstition and radical beliefs that displace reason and logic.  If the ages of Aristotle and Seneca can give way to Attila and Genghis Khan then the writings of Jefferson, Franklin, Payne and Lincoln can give way to the Religious Right and Tea Party rationalists.  Appealing to the uninformed and ignorant, to those who need a savior, and who grasp at simulated straws, the dark shadows or real motives win over the thoughts of those who know that all are linked in history no matter their social and financial standing. In it all, it becomes too late to realize that the price paid for superiority and domination destroys not only people but a nation.