Tag Archives: quality of life

The Beetle and the Gnat

“The sand is very sandy,” said the beetle to the gnat.
“Well that’s a very silly thing, for everyone knows that,”
The gnat retorted to the beetle, who’d dug a beautiful hole
At the very very very edge
Where the ocean had taken hold
And filled the hole far sooner than he ever could have told.

The beetle stood so very still and then began to cry.
Seeing such great sadness, the gnat thought to reply,
“I’ll help you dig another, if you’ll only let me try.”
For the gnat was very sorry for the beetle’s predicament
When faced with miles of sand, just where should he begin?
Why, by the boardwalk! Yes of course, the gnat decided so
They took their shovels and their pails and began to heave and throw
The sand into the air, where it landed in a pile
And grew so tall it seemed to them to be a hundred miles.

It grew and grew until the sun disappeared from view
It grew and grew till moon and stars could not be seen, tis true!
So dig they did for several months
Till England’s shores were seen
And France was next
And Italy
So far away from home
That soon the two unhappy souls put down their pails and hoes.

“A hotdog I would like right now,” said the beetle to the gnat.
“Oh do put on some sauerkraut,” and with that the gnat did shout
“But they are far away, you know, on the ocean’s other side,
Where first we started shoveling,” and both sat down to cry.

“I wish the stars and moon would shine their brilliant, dazzling light,”
“I wish we’d never dug a hole before thinking what was right,
For had I thought ahead back then I’d never have proceeded
To dig so much and so obscure the light I cherished near us.”

The beetle did agree with this, and thought it could be righted
So in the night they blew and blew,
The sand fell left and right
And in a day or two or more
The stars began to shine
And soon the sun did light the dawn and with this they did smile.
“Let’s just hold hands, sit down again, and dream of piles of sand!”

©2016 Ellen Kostroff


Flesh to Earth

#1
I weep for one who cannot hear
But nonetheless I weep
The tears seep through my hardened heart
Into my swollen breast
Shattering my mind apart
That I may still find rest.

Soldier, ride from battle, ride
Broken mind and soul
Ride until the heavens part
And swallow, one and all.

Weep, weep, weep and then
Turn into the wind
Till rain and tears are one, my love
And flesh to earth becomes.
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#2
Loneliness dissolves to tears
Sickness eats my heart
Eyes that sorrow blinds
And the world slips apart.

In death are we not made whole?
For who can say this is not so
Can testify to life beyond
If there be one, then let us go
If there be none, let the dead rest
Free of pain and sorrow’s weariness.

Lament not the passing
Yours draws nearer each hour.

#3
Nearer is mine
So near your asking holds it
Mine, trivial to the world around
Yet
I would dissolve this union of flesh to bone
Could I hold to my resolve
But
Left with promises unfulfilled
Life continues
So seemingly even
Smiles correct
Heart drawn and quartered

Oh, had you not asked!


To Massi

uh-oh

problems and worries
one on the other
way too serious
why do I bother
so reading is better
than writing right now
but thanks for inquiring
I’ll try a lot harder.


weather

Snow, sleet, rain and wind–
tonight is New York City’s time of umbrage
and discontent, whipping through streets,
screaming stormy weather in its path,
thunderous winter loosing electricity from her skies.
Streets slick, people wearied from the pounding snow
slow their steps, lest they fall–
this night creeps on till morning light
brings promises of sunny skies.

Snow is black in this city of endless life,
as cars roll by, buses filled with diesel fuel,
trains and dogs and people crushing it to hardened masses
the pristine flakes, now turned into a city’s detritus.
Images of white are cast in the mind
or painted apartment walls, with childhood memories lost in dreams.
The city’s snow has always been black.

A century before
when coal belched forth and sooted streets enveloped her
people, suffocating all. Black then
black now.

Our city was never white
once the white man stepped on shore,
the Dutch first to claim the tip and strike her into streets of mud and foulness
from her bowels released.
Count plagues and fever many,
as sewage and garbage, human waste and trash polluted waterways,
illness felled the poor, the rich fared better but not more so
that all succumbed to dysentery’s toll,
and 3,500 die of cholera 200 years later
while city bankers run money instead of water
through New York’s streets.

Perhaps snow is white in New England,
or in the land of Robert Frost,
or in Wyoming or Ohio,
but not here.
City dirt covers streets and parks alike,
there is no remedy,
so many in so little space continues unabated the grayness
cast from sky to street.
Even a summer’s heat bears no brilliance.
So odd that sometimes sky blue bears radiance unforeseen
as in that day more than a decade past
when death in contrast made a city gray and black as night.


Subway in NYC

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The trains pass, crowded with humanity,
a woman, crushed against riders,
with hair askew and packages in hand,
grabs hold the car’s gleaming pole,
struggling for space
as a myriad of hands,
unrelenting, begrudge her safety.
Out the window more trains pass,
each bears burdens of day’s woes,
work undone, promises broken,
jobs lost, some won,
though weariness surfaces in all–
the city takes its toll.
The woman exits, with little relief,
her evening a reflection of her day,
as cook and clean fill the hours,
till slumber calls
and sweet caresses of dreams obscure the city’s madding screams.


That doggie in the crèche…

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NYC–St. Patrick’s Cathedral–interior–crèche with dog–looks like a golden retriever

dog and god, one and the same
you can’t fake what’s in a name
forwards, backwards, it’s the same
dog and god are one name


time past

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
In the boarding house across the way
Youth and age had made their way
One begins, one ends
For both the years did terrify,
Hours torment their minds away
Unpleasant days filled with fear
One enraged, the other in tears.

Remember time
Remember me
Remember how life used to be
Before we felt that cruelty
Was common to our every day
And conversations turned that way.

How was it then
When we were young
How fanciful the days begun
Bright sun and moon, a crystal sky
Snow flakes that made you question why
The world did spin and spin and spin
And dance around your every whim.

It comes together, this season called
Winter, cold and uncommonly hard
To pass without sheer agony
Settling in this timeless world.
Leaves truth behind,
Behind it stays
While trudging, we make our way
Bent, broken, all from birth
So lacking to the core, our worth.


Off the cliff!

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obliged to all
my brain dissolves
in New Year’s wine
in champagne’s fine
attributes
in chocolates and delicacies
that palates must attend
to such distress as tongues
and taste without refinement
as we pursue a state of sheer inebriation
without a hint of what the morn shall bring
in pain and torture
as heads collide on pillows softer
than an angel’s hand could lend.
Oh, we are, doubtless, a species of abuse!


Death Tracks in NYC Dec 27

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVictims of the city walls
All await a deadly fall
Through sewers, streets and shopping malls
The Subway tracks tell us all
That life is rotten to the core
When we neglect our neighbors call
No jobs, low wages, a scary sight
As politicians continue on
Wreak havoc on so many here
And food a scarce commodity
While rents increase and they rejoice
To those we pay a living wage
As we scurry to our grave.


A Global-Warming Christmas

(sung to the tune of “Let It Snow”)
Oh, the climate outside is heightening
All our fears of ice caps melting
And the oceans rising round
As we drown, as we drown, as we drown.

It doesn’t show signs of slowing
As the miles we drive keep growing
And we bury our heads underground
As we drown, as we drown, as we drown.

It’s a long way off I know
And still you see it snow
But if you really want to know
It’s an inch, not a foot!

So let’s huddle together once more
While there’s still winter we can adore
And even though I know
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


how can a woman be upset?

So, this is about
A woman friend of mine
Who said she was upset
At Obama’s reelection,
And I ask, why?

Romney was against abortion, but she did not think she should would take responsibility for a child of a women forced to conceive, no matter what the reason.
She did not care that he had no thoughts or comments on whether women should be paid equal pay for equal work.
He would privatize Social Security, and possibly leave millions of Americans destitute.
And health care? Well…

So, why was she upset?
She is not rich.
She depends, partially, upon her husband’s pension (they are both recently retired).
She is upset at the increasing property taxes and health care costs.

Is there someone who can enlighten me?

From your humble blogger, runningwithellen


post peace train, #2

I’m going slowly, slowly on the peace train, peace train, ride in
The stations are filled at Grand Central, Grand Central station, New York City
But we won’t forget
When we hop that train peace train
The pain and the terror that does prevail
The longing the fear, the sadness, the tears
the endless hours, the days of fears.

I’m here waiting, waiting the peace train, New York station.

I’d rather sleep in, but I do not dare, for here it comes, the peace train.

You all forget that Carter was hot
A man of superior intellect
Who honored our values and sought to return
To democracy the way it deserved.

But now I’m afraid, afraid that the peace train, the peace train will never arrive.
We’ve used all our luck and a little beside, the peace train sent adrift to collide

I’m down on my knees, ready to concede, we’ve lost the greatest peace to succeed
The one where we realize that truth and thought can be attuned
To a new life, just and viable too…
Where we never fear our next meal
Or the cold of winter or the searing heat.

I’ve been thinking, thinking it’s a long battle, long battle, long battle
Never resolved in my years on earth, too long, it’ll outlast us.
So I look around and think to me, whatever can make us free,
It’s the love of life, family and friends, our neighbors, pets and in the end
Relinquishing thoughts that only “us” are right, correct and only just to fight…
That our neighbors have valid ways to live
Even though not like us
And our children play…
Our earth may survive our trip to hell.
On the peace train, the peace train.

I’m looking forward to a peace train, worldwide, a peace train.

Addendum:

Runningwithellen, long napping, sends his best!


the train left the station…

hummed to the tune of Cat Stevens “Peace Train”

Now I’ve been thinking lately, about the bad things to come
And though you don’t believe it, they’ve already begun.

Oh I’ve been crying lately, seeing the world come apart
And though you don’t believe, its already begun.

Cause in the night, coming slowly, comes disaster
Oh Romney, Obama, ride us, ride us into the ground again.

Now I’ve been thinking lately, about the bad things to come
And soon you will believe it, the worst is yet to come.

The bombs are sounding louder
The cries of hunger thunder round
People on the street
Destitute, you and me.

Everyone go for cover
Cover up, cover up

Write your will, your’s and your friends’ too
The end is gettin’ nearer, nearer to me and you.

Now to join the dead, six feet underground
Death is all around, in the air and in the ground.

The bombs are sounding louder
The cries of hunger
People on the street
Yes, destitute, me and you

Everyone get a shovel
Dig that earth today
Dig, dig, dig
Dig your grave away.


can you stop the tears?

i cry
eternally I cry
deep inside of you
tears flow
tears I know
long each one wept
we wept, through heartache
through life’s end
now we cry
past these
past every event
we cry for our end
finality it brings, loss eternally.


go quietly in the night

come join me
come join my tears
come see the world as it is.

come join me
come see despair in every corner of the world.
cry no more, for you are yet to join,
tears are ours,
tears are everywhere.

Come see pain first hand
technology will not prevent the torture at our hands.
We are inconsolable
We are replete with regret
as we dip into hell, past heaven’s gate.

Lord save me, though I do not believe.
But once, just once, prove you know the total despair
Wreaked on this earth from those who dare
to use your name to justify the horror
wrought
the suffering of generations to come.

Once I thought that being childless was sad, but now I know this is not so
That I did not endanger another
Nor contribute to the misery we are inclined to.
Look at me, my years unfolded
Long life I wished, one time I thought
Now I know, somewhere, not far, lies answers
To end now is the only answer
To stay a manifestation of a lie.


Outrage in Okinawa, New York Times, Nov. 2, 2012

Once an Osprey was a bird
Magnificent in its form, transcendent in its life,
We have turned nature to steel, the osprey to beast
Mechanical and huge
Lumbering in the sky on gasoline, blades chopping the air, heavy and cursed.

What have we done
Not only the sadness of the Okinawans burden our shoulders
We too bear the devastation of insanity.

Rape, perennial, lays fallow to be resurrected again and again,
Against the women
Against the men
Flesh torn, sullied
Minds crushed, numbed.

We do not answer.

We are the devils of the earth
Asleep
We will not rise till we are done
Incinerating our land, our men, our women
Incinerating our minds
Till our thoughts are no more.

Did you think a thought?
Not one, no more, as we follow, donkeys all, packed meaningless by our masters, slaves all, technology our master, Halliburton (etc) our owners.

And then Romney? Would woman have no right to her body? To work for less than man?
Control her, would you this?
Why must she pay for your ego?
You, who have not provided
You, who have demeaned her to maintain your own self-worth.

What plaything is she that
Without her, you would not exist
Is that your worry?
You, who are not whole, need another.
No god are you, lacking too, no charm nor feeling
Blunt you may be
She is the light of life
The sun for your warmth
The hawk in the wind, circling for the babe’s morning meal.
She is your other half
And all you do
All you can feel
Is a horror that she is something, someone you need.

Cry I, cry again and again.
Cry more and more each day.
Till tears are floods and floods tsunamis
Till my heart bears no more and I have ceased to be.


Sunny and Chérie

(hummed to the tune of ‘I got you Babe’)

They say that work won’t pay the rent
Your paycheck’s gone before it’s ever spent…
But you don’t care, although it’s true
‘Cause hustlin’s become a way of life for you…
Babe…
(da, da, da, da, da, da…)
It’s so true…
(da, da, da, da, da, da…)
This is you Babe…

Ten years ago you had a job
A wife and kids
A house and a big back yard..
Your life was hot, on easy street
Now you’re in the gutter, begging for somethin’ to eat…
Babe…
(da, da, da, da, da, da…)
It’s so true Babe…
(da, da, da, da, da, da…)
This is you Babe…

Down on your luck, clothes tattered and torn
The people pass by, leaving you ignored…
Cast adrift, your life flashes by
When friends were gay and family stood by your side…
Babe…
(da, da, da, da, da, da…)
It’s so true Babe…
(da, da, da, da, da, da…)
This is you Babe…
(da, da, da, da, da, da…)


Watch out 2

(hummed to some song, the title of which I can’t remember…)

Watch out
Here they come
I say watch out
They’re on the run
And if you watch out
You’re sure to see
That Obama and Romney
Are phony as can be.

Ten times ten is no big deal
But when your paycheck’s gone
There’s no more meals.
You’ll starve to death if you listen to one
So if you get my drift, you’ll start to run.

You better watch out
They’re on their way
So just watch out
I’m goin’ to say
That if you don’t watch out
We just might become
Another third world country that’s on the run.


Homage to the blogs I follow

On the way to Mount Snowdon
I met a Slate Quarry.
Though not the one to err
Yet I found deep thought
In the passing of memory
Far under a tree
So Dark,
and dog-nab-it,
in the trolley garage.
Then as we retreat
you may vent, as you please–
But not to neglect,
to Canada we photo
And while Easy does it,
He’s my favorite by far!
But do not ignore
Doggystyle, yes, there’s more–
Thundering Herd, not absurd;
And we speak of adopting a little bit more!
So here’s to my minions–
In them I do reckon, with Brevity, tis true,
A soul’s walk will do,
So splash a little paint–
my words shall remain
with Margo’s Notebook,
and Sage’s misadventures
a source of real pride,
at night by my side–
Love those dogs, I confess,
Can’t get enough of you, I guess!

Stanza #2
It should so please me, if you would just see,
My newest companion–
It’s Zack, he flies free!


Food!

oops whoops
oh boy
whoa
not so
oy vey
I swear
I might have had a fright
oh my
I looked around until I found
a pair of Starlings flying low
and other birds aloft, you know
that birds in flight
can tell a lot
of things to come
and things undone
of dreams inside your pretty head
and silly words to stop you dead
of vegetables that rot in hell
and others that divinely make
your day a wondrous place to dwell
and fill your tummy till it swells.
And then there’s dips and chips and such
that fill you up, and up, and up
with calories and fat and more
that in the end will make you swear
to reassess your food affairs!


2 Sleep

Sleep 1
It’s very strange
That once or twice
I come upon a thing that’s right
For most of it is very wrong
And takes you on a path that’s long
And far away from everything.
It brings you grief and nasty things.
But when you find a thing that’s right
It makes you sleep quite well at night.

Sleep 2
I sleep and sleep and sleep at night
And wake when it is very bright
Perhaps at 10, 11, or noon
Even 1 is none too soon.

I need my beauty rest, of course
There’s nothing worse than having lost
That beauteous glowing, silky skin
That ageless patina that’s akin
To Venus of De Milo fame
Or David, Michelangelo’s creation.
So let me rest till I decide
To rise and take myself outside!


…to Silver, Obama, Romney and all…

It’s a dog eat dog world
If you know what I mean
It’s Martini and Rossi
It’s a drunk’s perfect dream
There’s a bone in the cupboard
And more in the store
But you’ll pay through the nose
And eat off the floor.

So here’s to the jobless
And the minimum wage
To Obama and Romney
And the millions they make
For themselves and their cronies
For the widening gap
‘Tween the poor and the rich
And no middle class.

Just one more thing –
Here’s to Silver and his crew
In New York they had thought
A raise was their due.
But they screwed themselves royally
And this I don’t mind
For its been several years
Since I’ve seen a dime.

I’ve been without work,
Just one of a crowd.
Don’t mind me saying
I’m not really proud.
But I can’t rightly say what a restaurant looks like
Haven’t been to the barber,
Cut my own hair, that’s right.
And the doctor, well hell
Who knows the last time
Had my temperature taken
Or felt really fine?
And my house,
Well it’s standing
But when winter comes
The thermostat won’t reach past 51.
That’s Fahrenheit friends,
Not Celsius, no
So I’m glad those old sweaters I didn’t let go.

So here’s to Silver, Obama, Romney and all
The politicians who knock at my door
Wanting my vote
For what, I should ask.
They’ll do what they want
And we’ll fall through the cracks.


Missing a Life

To say “miss” is to imply there once was, but I assure you there was not.
Growing up in a morass of mediocrity, accomplishments were relegated to others, and ours was a life marked by others’ needs, a turning of the lamp before dawn, a turning off at night. What happened between was of no consequence.
Nor did it provide satisfaction or mere contentment.
It was but a passing of time till sleep. Sleep, less and less each day, and time grows burdensome.
Fragments of contentment appear and disappear, so subtle that their remembrance lasts not long, insufficient to be recorded.
Which yesterday revealed a moment with the possibility of renewal, satisfaction, meaning, continuity? If there was, it is lost, intangible.


from within

Knocking from the inside.
I have never noticed this
Nor known I was closed.
You could not see
Nor hear me.
Only I hear, the ramblings, deranged.
Laughter and sorrow, wound together
within.


Dream/Wake

Pain

Last night I sent a bus careening, with people calmly going to their death
In my dream
Wrapped in plastic
But that was the second bus
The first hurtled out of control by itself
The first was a ghost
A foretelling of the second
And a third, split in two, suspended in air
And shrink wrapped
With damage control emblazoned on its side
Spun down the corridor after the two.

Then I woke.
Unscathed.

Later.

At 4 in the morning you wake, depressing yourself
At 6:11 it’s not the same.
Two pots of coffee, and you’re almost sane.


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