Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tribute to Atlas Shrugged

I wrote this in 1990 after reading Atlas Shrugged for the second or third time. My big confession: I never finished the book. I couldn't bear to be without John Galt.

A Tribute to Atlas Shrugged

Empty wall, bare wall.
Open just for a moment and
let me walk through you.
Show me a place unlike the
world where I exist.

Show me the factories of
Henry Rearden, the railroads
of Dagny Tggart. Show me Wyatt's
Torch and Galt's Gulch.
Let me walk through the a'Anconia mines,
and sail the ships of Danneskjolk.

Let me see those that the world hated,
yet could not do without.
Let me talk with the immovable movers
and listen to the Concerto of Deliverence.

Idealist, you say. Dreamer.
Yes, let me. I will dream.
Just once I want to explore the
world of idealism, progressiveness.
People with self-esteem and independence.
People who love themselves.
People who will not sacrifice their values.

These men and women who
have left a world where men
damn existence...and damn the Earth
yet dare not question their code.

Let me dwell with those that believe
that your life belongs to you,
and that good comes from living it.
Let me join those who have turned their
backs on the sacrificial altar of socidety.

Let me unite with those who have
found a better morality to live by

Let me be part of them for just a while,
And I will return through the wall from
whence I came.

I will not live in their world
but their world will live in my heart.

Donna Black
October l990

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Off to College . . .

Empty Nest

What to do with an empty nest?
Fill it with shopping or trips to the library?
Pile it with tasty dishes from new recipe books?
Toss in hours of pouring over old photo albums?
Clean it and scrub it?
Rearrange and refurbish?
Blast music so loud that I can’t stand to go in it?

Does one keep the nest empty?
Guard it from intrusion?
Make it a shrine or a refuge from loneliness?
Or turn away and never look into it?

The days are dwindling when my nest is intact.
Nighttime is impatient with her dark embrace.
Anxiety’s cold hands grabs at my ankles.
Doubt teases my mind and fills with fear.

And I wonder and worry:

Did I teach her what she needs to be independent?
Does she know who she is and where she came from?
Did I nurture her self confidence?
Did I tell her often enough how wonderful she is?
Does she know she’s loved unconditionally?
Does she know her true worth?
Can she stand tall and strong and make her voice heard?
Are her wings strong and sturdy?
Her sense of direction keen?
Is she ready for flight and adventure and independence?

Whatever I did or didn’t do, I know in my gut,
In my heart,
In my mind
…my bird is ready to take

Donna ’09

Green Before Green was Hip

I found a book of poems I wrote 29 years ago. Turns out I was green before green was all the rage. That was back almost three decades ago when I was wise. I think I'm living backwards and that, with me, foolishness and ignorance come with age.

A Letter

Asses, fools, men.
They think the world was made
For them.
That every bird, cloud and
Blade of grass
Was made for the comfort of a
Big, fat ass.
That every creature
North and south
Was made to stuff in
An ugly mouth.

So, live it up and have your fun
Because, dear fools, your time is done.
Imbeciles that you are –
You didn’t realize that your birth
Was for the caring of the Earth.

You ugly, destructive, selfish mob,
Earth’s life and beauty you have robbed.
Because of your careless, endless lies,
Prepare your meager minds to die.
Your punishment – now that all is checked –
Is to live on this planet that
You yourselves have wrecked.

Sincerely yours,
Mother Earth

Drink Up This Day

Drink up this day
In all its deliciousness,
In all its fullness.
Breathe it in.
Listen to it.
Feel it.
Bathe in its uniqueness.
Twirl in its warmth.
Embrace its energy.
Soak up the moment.
When its over only the
Gentle glow of memories remain.
Donna '09

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

I am so glad I don't feel this way anymore, but "With Age" describes where I was in 1992. Those were dark years!

With Age

My panoramic view of life
collapsed into a Petri dish.
Where I once saw endless possibilities
I now see blockades, barriers, obstructions.

Where a myriad of colors once
danced across the horizon,
I now see ugly streaks in
shades of gray and brown.

Where I once saw glorious eternity
reigning in its splendor,
I now see only today as it clutches my
ankles and drags me down.

I once had an endless reservoir
of energy,
and now it seeps and oozes
through my blighted body.

Respite comes when splatterings
of illusions and fantasy
briefly cast dazzling colors
upon my bleak picture of reality.

Donna Franklin ‘92


Insight is never free;
growth is never painless;
self knowledge comes only
with many tears, mistakes,
with fear and with pain.

But find the courage and
the strength, and the
darkness will open to
brilliant light. The
heavy burdens will lift
and eyes and heart will open.

The green fields and flowers
of your dreams will escape
your imagination and
become reality.

Be willing to feel the pain,
to shed the tears,
to fight the darkness.
That is the only way to find
your true self.

donna franklin '97

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reflections of the Middle East

I walked in the chilly morning air through the shadows of Petra.
I heard the clamoring of chariots through Petra’s slot canyon.
I felt the spray of the Sea of Galilee as we sailed at night.
I was wakened by the call to prayer in the dark morning hours.
I heard the roar of the river at Tel Dan.
I dipped my toes into the sea at Caesarea Philippe.
I walked among the red poppies at Beit Lehi.
I strolled through the herb-scented pastures of Nazareth.
I glimpsed the ancient marble streets of Damascus from a Golan Heights’ hill top.
I smelled the fragrant almond groves around Tiberius.
I sat among the ancient olive trees of Gethsemane.
I sloshed through the wet streets of the Old City, the smell of fresh falafels filling the air.
I bartered with good natured shopkeepers over the price of baklava, tapestries and scarves.
I was jostled by children on their way to school in the streets of Old Jerusalem.
I was dizzy with the scent of heavy spices in the Jerusalem marketplace.
Sunlight stung my eyes when I left the quiet cool of the Garden Tomb.
Juice ran down my chin when I bit into a just-picked orange.
My pulse quickened as I stood where Jesus was mocked and scourged.
My heart wept as I joined the throngs of Orthodox Jews at the Wailing Wall.
The rosy sunrise kissed my frozen face as I stood on Mt. Sinai.
I awakened a sleeping camel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
I purchased warm sesame-coated knotted bread and hot falafels on the streets of Old Jerusalem.
The wind dance through my hair at the ruins of Caesarea Philippe.
I descended into the tomb of an ancient Egyptian King.
My feet felt the grit of the sands around the pyramids.
My head spun and my pulse raced in the crazed traffic of Cairo.

An ornery camel challenged by balance on the dark trail up Mt. Sinai
I stepped into holy places at the temples of Kings at Karnak.
I faced the sphinx and stared her down.
I walked along the Nile in the early morning hours.
I sat at the Damascus gate watching peddlers prepare for their day.
I dodged strange trash collection vehicles darting in and out of Jerusalem alleys.
I made eye contact with Bedouins herding their sheep.
I watched packs of wild dogs running wild in the Jordanian desert.
I saw Egyptians tend to their crops just the way their ancestors did a thousand years ago.
I longed to stroll invisible through the streets of the City of the Dead.
I bobbed, covered in black mud, in the salty waters of the Dead Sea.
I sat on the Mount of Olives and listened to stories of Jesus.
I sat – sunshine on my neck – in the spot where Jesus taught his apostles at Banias.
I climbed the steps where Jesus walked to his trial.
I stood in the shade listening to the waters of the River Jordan.
My heart broke as I wandered the solemn rooms of Yad Vashem.
My eyes gobbled up the pinks and greens of just blooming almond groves in the Golan Heights.
I smooshed through crowds down narrow stairs to see Jesus’ birthplace.
I stood on the stone road where Roman soldiers flogged Jesus Christ.
I saw the fiery orange sun dip between the pyramids.
I exchanged smiles and hugs with Egyptian children eager to practice their English.
I wandered through fields of red poppies at Beit Lehi.
I sat in the scalding sun at Masada.
I smiled at the rough-handed wood carver in his Bethlehem olive wood store.
I touched the ancient, war-pocked walls at Old Jerusalem.