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29 June 2017

How will I know in thicket ahead is danger or treasure when Body my good bright dog is dead

by May Swenson

Body my house
my horse my hound  
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep  
How will I ride  
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount  
all eager and quick  
How will I know  
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure  
when Body my good  
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door  
and wind for an eye

With cloud for shift  
how will I hide?

May Swenson, “Question” from Nature: Poems Old and New. Copyright © 1994 by May Swenson. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: Nature: Poems Old and New (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)

15 June 2017

a bit late, but Vleeptron wishes all Ramadan Kareem

Please click to enlarge.

I ask the world to pardon me for being a week late to celebrate the holy month Ramadan.

This time it wasn't my Despair at the vile cloud of hate and violence that has darkened our human world for years. (But I certainly haven't found a cure, or a pill, for the Despair caused by this never-ending 9th Crusade.)

I'm told Roman Catholics have one Unforgiveable Sin: Despair. Because it is an insult to God to lose hope that no matter how horrible the world is, God will not help us fix it.

Much less profound. I was laid up with a minor stupid unserious disease. All I could do was shriek with pain. This dumb illness has, thankfully, subsided.

Now I can get to Vleeptron's wishes for all my neighbors on Earth for Ramadan Kareem -- a Generous month of Ramadan, in which Allah spoke the Arabic words that Muhammed wrote down as the Quran.

(No, my Arabic is almost non-existent, I read an English translation of the Quran published by Penguin -- some say it's the most read Quran translation on Earth. Vleeptron would be deeply grateful if readers -- particularly readers knowledgeable in these matters -- would comment on or critique the Penguin translation.)

Generous ... as Muslims celebrate this holy month, they take upon themselves the obligation of being generous to the poor, to those less fortunate. The greeting is simple: Ramadan Kareem. (Almost universally, the reply is a smile, a brightened face.)

Now I will stumble into controversy. My ignorant controversy, but at least I will try to keep it as short as I can.

Some of the Earth Cloud of Hate and Violence can be traced to hostility between the two main branches of Islam, Shia and Sunni. Historically this ancient hostility dates to disagreement over which of the religious leaders who followed Muhammed now preach the true Islam.

I note only the tens of thousands of men, children, women who have been killed and wounded over this difference. I pray somehow Shia and Sunni will follow Islam exclusively in neighborly peace and cooperation.

(Comments also welcome.)

For the first time in memory, Shia pilgrims celebrating Ramadan in Tehran -- Iran is the great world advocate of Shia -- were attacked and murdered. The suspects are Sunni terrorists.

I will go out on a theological limb here and declare: This is not the way to observe Ramadan.

Starting with 2 USA and NATO coalition wars, the 9th Crusade -- well, we try not to flash it all the time in big red neon, but these are the longest wars the USA has ever fought. Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen. I see no chance of the Long Wars ending or being politically or diplomatically settled. War without end, Amen.

Perhaps some reader can comment about a God who wants to be worshipped by never-ending wars, terror attacks, poison gas, barrel bombs. There might even be a big Greek word for this kind of God.

Dear readers, friends, neighbors -- Ramadan Kareem! At month's end, there will be great feasts and lots of candies and sweets. Worry, fear, grief will vanish, and then, in a decade or two, will fade and start to be forgotten. 

What do you remember about the Spanish-American War? Well, someday in the future, dream of a world that has forgotten today's long wars that were fought in God's name.

Vleeptron particularly wishes Ramadan Kareem to a brilliant and spiritually powerful friend, known to millions on the Internet, who is of Syrian and Palestinian ancestry. I wish all the torments of his family's land to cease -- without violence. (And I wish he could help me fix my mIRC, I downloaded the newest version and haven't been able to get back into IRC.)