Monday, September 29, 2008

Poem: For My Mother, September 29, 2008

A Poem For My Mother

Where do I find you now?
If you're in the air
Where are you in the "there"
For I know you're beside me
Your smile is inside me

Where do I find you now?
In the rustle of the leaves
In Dad in his shirt sleeves?
In the songs of birds
in the naked, yawning trees
In the embrace of Winter's cool breeze?
In the screech of tires in the street?
In the pain I feel in my tired feet?

Is it in the Sun’s gentle reach
through the muddled clouds
that lets me know how you teach?
Do I find you in your dearest friends -
In the tears that sometimes never end?
It's in the tea you served us every day
and the wisdom we take from your life's silver tray

This I know
That I'll never forget your kindly smile
Or the charm that was your elegant style
The calm confidence holding your warm hand
How you were so effortlessly grand
The soft, proud forehead that last day I kissed
Dear, sweet Mother, you are sorely missed
(Nick Lowery, Nov 22, 2006)

Poem: Peace and Quiet, September 29, 2008

Poem: Peace and Quiet

Peace and quiet
Are not easily found
Unless your feet are solidly on the ground
Unless you breathe the rich full air
And find something special on which to stare
And pause for a moment or maybe two
And find that polished jewel that was always inside of you

(by Nick L)

Poem - Busy Brains, September 29, 2008

Poem - Busy Brains

Busy brains
Are like when it rains
Your head must clean
It’s muddy stains
For when we stop
To think a lot
And forget to breathe
We start to seethe
With unclean thought
Not what we’ve been taught
So slow down that noggin
And quit yer sloggin’
The answers are there
Under that lovely hair
Don’t just stare
It’s only fair
To breathe
And in so doing
Your head will lose
It’s muddy stains
And then you’ll remember
why it rains

(Nick L 1/15/07)

Poem - Singing Souls, September 29, 2008

From Singing Souls

The song that lasts
Is one whose music
Is written new each day
On the echoes of
Our own internal choir
The personal fire
We stoke with
Spiritual coals
From singing souls

(by Nick L)

Poem - Pain's Phonebooth, September 29, 2008

Poem: Pain's Phonebooth

Pain and truth
In the same phone booth
While fear
Well, that's not as clear
It hides
And slides
From shadow
To light
Just so slight
It makes us blind
To what is in front
As it plays behind
We cannot confront
This other kind
So near
To our nose
We smell it not
The pure rot
Hidden beneath
The rose

(by Nick L)

Poem - Clumsy Words September 29, 2008

Poem – Clumsy Words

But poetry might be lost
When time and kindness
To the winds are tossed
A sweet friendship might be the cost
For the one who chose silence
As her sense of the finest
When instead a random, clumsy effort of words
Would return the kingdom
Of love to its throne
Then you'd be home

(by Nick L)

Poem - Perfect to the Taste, September 29, 2008

Would that the secret
Be revealed
That each moment
You have stealed
For worry or regret
Be forgotten and erased
Such that God's sure purpose
And your eternal grace
Be your daily food
And perfect to the taste

(by Nick L)

Triumph Comes in Small Doses

Kickin’ It with Nick, September 29, 2008

Triumph in Small Doses, by Nick Lowery

When we think we have it so rough, sports teaches us lessons; but like life, only if we let it. Sharing success is one thing. We are all proud teammates and fans when our team wins, and when things go well. We jump on that bandwagon, or at least stand a mite taller if we are already on it. However, only if we permit ourselves, do we reach out to witness the parallels we share from stories of pain, tragedy and failure. Those literally hurt more. They echo more deeply in us. They touch raw nerves, and unhealed wounds.

When Tony Dungy’s 18 year old son James (who I met and played with when he was barely 3 when Tony was a Kansas City Chiefs coach) committed suicide in the midst of what could have been the Colts’ run to a Super Bowl, there was Tony Dungy thanking the Tampa Bucs Owner at the funeral, who had fired him a few years earlier, for how kind he had been to his son when he was Tampa’s coach.

Perspective. That’s what sports – and the theater of life’s stage – can help us achieve. Can we get to the balcony to view the jumbled and even bruising dance floor that usually pervades our life? Can we hear over the music what is really happening? Can we see the connections? Better still, can we see the connections to our own lives clearly enough to share them with our children, and those that might understand us better by experiencing compassion through this common drama?

Coaches are often the teachers who best make those painful lessons more plain. I spoke with Valley Center Athletic Director and Cross Country coach Mike Cummings about the darker side of the sports stage. Darker stories bring light to tragic outcomes for young people who need to be prepared to meet the tough times, Cumming said. Tampa Bay Bucs kicker Matt Bryant’s infant son Tryson died in his sleep this week; Bryant flew to Texas to bury his son Friday. He flew back Saturday night in time to play in Sunday’s game. After kicking 3 field goals and the game-winner yesterday, he said, "I wanted to go out there and honor Tryson’s name…I didn’t think it was very fair for his life to end so short."

As David Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel said, “Unfair is having a ref blow a call that cost your team a game. Tragic is going in to kiss your baby good morning and finding he won’t move.”

Sports is teaching kids how to win on a daily basis, said Cummings. “It teaches us that the lessons come through life’s struggles. I teach math, and I often say to my students that the mistakes always happen; its those who struggle through the mistakes that get better….My daughter Rebecca, seven, who I coach in Pee Wee soccer, thought I was mad because she didn’t score this week like she did last week. I told her – you didn’t run as hard as you did last week…if you give your best, it doesn’t matter if you score.”
So there was Matt Bryant, knowing he had to honor his son Tryson because “it’s not fair for his life to end so short.” And the rest of us can feel for him knowing that the worst of days can be re-written by the gentle tug of a little hand or the smallest smile. “I don’t know if we can ever be successful unless we learn to overcome our fear of failure.” Said Cummings. How about overcome our fear of the pain of life?

Because it will come sooner, or later. Ever the coach, Mike Cummings boiled it down to terms we might shy from but understand when the light is not so bright.
“I tell my Cross Crountry runners, it’s who is willing to hurt longer than the other.” Triumph for us, and for Matt Bryant, sometimes comes in short and overwhelming doses.

And I am not talking about penicillin.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Trust But Verify - NFL's own Glasnost

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Trust But Verify - NFL's own Glasnost

Trust but Verify - the Opening with the Commissioner on Retired Player’s RightsWe are being encouraged by the Union to be cautious with Commissioner Goodell as he meets with former players in all 32 cities. This by a players association that has not allowed former and current players to ever meet in a safe, unpressured environment so that accurate historical information and present reality is learned calmly and dispassionately, unfiltered by those who might have personal agendas.We will of course be cautious, but we will not prevent a dialogue with someone who will hear our needs and respond to them with more open space for honest, unintimidatable (if there is such a word) dialogue that honors equally all sides.

Since 1994-5, $1 Billion has been diverted from a pension plan that benefits all the players to one that has only gone for "post career" (read retirement/pension) benefits of current players. And these are for rights players in the 70's and 80's struck and sued for and secured with zero help or sacrifice (they were simply not playing yet) of current players.

Be cautious? Be cautious also to see this transparently: This is not saying that current players wouldn't see this more clearly if they could meet with former players in a calm and safe environment without intimidation or implied or real threats from leadership. If there could be a safe dialogue, many of these issues would soften and naturally and progress. And it wouldn't be made at a snail’s pace, but in a way that respects the urgency of this issue and addresses the outrageous amnesia regarding the truth.

What truth? There have been no increased benefits for those players who struck and sued during the 80's and redefined (according to ESPN's NFL Hall of Fame journalist John Clayton most recently) collective bargaining permanently in the new fundamental terms of % of Gross and Free agency.If the two post career/retirement funds were rejoined, all pension benefits would double, current players would still get increased benefits to match their still hugely and consistently increasing salaries, and the deserved justice we seek would be attained, restoring nobility for all.

Most importantly, the game itself, the worlds best sport, a game that embodies strategy, grace, speed, power and physical courage better than any, would be the better for it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Professor: A Poem

September 10th, 2008

The Professor

Life is a professor
With hard Lessons each day
Did we pay attention
Did we the dragon slay?

Life is a teacher
Did I listen well
Did I hear the bell
Did I Show and Tell?

Life is a preacher
Did I learn the verse
In whose land did I dwell
The last supper,
or the bitter silver purse?
Who owns this universe?

Love is a feature
In all our dreams
‘Tis not what it seems
Can bore through walls
But did we hear the calls?

Can snore through cries
But not the sighs
But more -
‘Tis what it defies

All logic
All reason
Depends not the season
‘Tis what it justifies

Only Truth never lies
Excuses it despises
Hides the hero disguises
In just seven tries
It’s brussel sprouts, turkey and Pumpkin pies!

No purple pill.
Nor spiritual chill
Don't wait till
the tear dries
Or the angel flies

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Destiny's Moon: a Poem

September 9, 2008

At the End of the day
To where are we on the way?
Are we on a journey truly together?
Can we bind our selves close -
As tightly as leather?
That we might join as one
That we might loosen our childlike ties
to those that provoke lesser selves
Can we sweep away those dusty shelves?
When we stand up to fear – it simply dies

Can we let it exit
To it’s darker doom?
Lock it up
Sweep clean with redeeming broom?
Shed light into this open room?
Feel the cool rays of destiny’s moon?
The travel of smaller minds
Cannot birth futures
That leave old pain behind
Leave it dead as past wounds fell
For Heaven’s alive
Honest Love is most well

Monday, September 8, 2008

Poetry is God’s Motion

September 8th, 2008

In addition to thoughts on politics, this blog will also have several original poems per week by the author that seek to connect themes and feelings that may or may not matter to the reader.

Poetry is God’s Motion

A poem is a humble means
To discover what's inside our heads
Past subtle screens
And doom's dreads
What's real yet the stuff of dreams

For if we can share our souls
And fill our hearts' sterling silver bowls
If we can join something eternal
That we both hold true
Than we might come closer
As one, not two

We might learn
A more infinite wisdom
An endless love
That heals the loneliness
And Helps us rise above
Over silent boundaries
With wings of a dove
With a clean happiness
That can not be denied

A poem is a humble prayer
Simple words sanctified
For it reaches out
With calm voice
Not anxious shout
It touches our heart
Burns through doubt
And daily reminds us
In this minute
In this breath
That connecting as one
Is the secret of life
That triumph's hollow death
His will be done

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lipstick on the Pit bull

September 4, 2008

Republican Convention

Sarah Palin's speech was one of the best speeches for a young politician at the beginning of a wonderful story. She has character, humor, backbone, chutzpah. She is fresh air, and she will help the ticket. The election will be within 4 points, not 7 now.

However, like her main points on Obama, it was more a smoothly delivered, dramatic speech than substance.

For instance, references to a do-nothing Congress forgets to mention that 7 of the previous 8 years were Republican controlled by a Republican President. I agree that the Democratic leadership has lacked any passion or effectiveness, but once again, I'd like Republicans to own up to the multi-trillion dollar dismantling of the balanced budget and the US Dollar overseas.

Or the traditional porkbarrel Government spending that Sarah says she cut back in Alaska, that actually brought $27 million to her town as Mayor and $750 million to Alaska, the highest per capita "pork barrel" in the country. And the bridge to nowhere that she opposed, well...she actually only opposed it after Federal support for it dried up.

My prediction is that because Democrats don't have the viscious muscle tone of the Republicans, she will have a longer honeymoon, but in the end, the Geraldine Ferraro factor in reverse (as in relentless attacks on her credibility) will begin by the end of the first of the two months left till the election (by mid October). Lets hope the Joe Biden doesn't pull a John Edwards and wimp out during his Vice Presidential debate with the gentle lady.

Sarah Palin has brought an X factor to this election. Let's give credit to surprises in politics. Let's look for new ideas, courage, and new insight into energy and fighting corruption, something she should have with her familiarity with those issues. And let's pray that the Pit Bull Hockey Mom doesn't make the mistake of not being aware of what she doesn't know; we've had almost 8 years of that already.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

George W's No-show

September 3rd, 2008

Showing up

George W Bush not showing up for his own convention is a telling example of our fearless leader unable to face the music. He has tried to do a better job this time Post Katrina with his visits in Gustav's wake to Louisiana; the coordination of federal state and local authorities, as well as the ownership of the local citizens in evacuating 1.9 million in such a short time is commendable... and a huge relief. However, it does not explain the President not showing up last night for what should be his role to pass the baton to the next generation of Republican leader - John McCain. He is an incumbant 8th year President, and yet he found a way to avoid what should have been his night. Is that character and leadership?

There will be those who say that John McCain could call the shots, and the more distance he gains from W the better, but that is not the protocol and not tradition. There is to my knowledge no example of a sitting president not attending the coronation of the new would-be king.

We have been lectured for 8 years about personal accountability in war from a President, Vice president and Defense Secretary who have never faced danger or a bullet. We have been told for 8 years that Democrats run from responsibility and throw their cares to the arms of Big Government. Yet it is this Republican party - starched, lilly white and older as it paraded its higher luminaries last night, that continues to spend its time attacking the Democrats and waving the American Flag and not for once saying they could have done anything better.

For once, don't you want to hear someone say, "We have learned a lesson we will not repeat"?

For once, I want to hear the fresh new face of this ticket, Sarah Palin, take on those same party elders at the national level the way she fought so courageously back in Alaska, and say we can do better!

For once, I want to hear the echo of Teddy Roosevelt say we will and have made mistakes, but we will never make the mistake of avoiding learning from them!

And for once, I want to hear a Republican say that those who disagree with them over the best choice for the country are not less American than they are.

Its tired, its old, and its not leadership.