• Summary

    Summary

    The following is a summary of the February/March 2017 issue of The St. Croix Review: Read More
  • Editorial

    Editorial

    Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . . The Story of Dino Casali Editor’s Read More
  • Ramblings

    Ramblings

    Ramblings Allan C. Brownfeld Allan C. Brownfeld is the author of five books, the latest Read More
  • Kengor Writes

    Kengor Writes

    Kengor Writes . . . Paul Kengor Paul Kengor is a professor of political science and the executive Read More
  • Letters from a Conservative Farmer — Varieties of Religious Experience, Part II

    Letters from a Conservative Farmer — Varieties of Religious Experience, Part II

    Letters from a Conservative Farmer — Varieties of Religious Experience, Part II Jigs Gardner Jigs Read More
  • February Poems

    February Poems

    1. June is a memory in November As I remember the roses and the Lilacs Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Barry MacDonald

Barry MacDonald

Editor & Publisher of the St. Croix Review.

Thursday, 11 February 2016 13:38

October Poems

1.

With the family inside and the world out

I so happily locked the door at night

Because it felt safe and even though the

Children were quite disruptive somehow we

 

Became accustomed to the noise — and we

Reasoned with them and I had to learn what

Patience was that as tired as I became

There were necessary chores to do — but

 

Now we’ve all transformed and our small home was

Left behind and it’s not necessary

Anymore to be protective because

My son and daughter wouldn’t care much for

 

Continuing instruction as they have

Grown — though I’ll never stop being a dad.

 

It is a turning

of the wheel of parentage

that children require

transforming adoration

and careful relinquishment.

 

— Tekkan

 

2.

As if I were trying to sneak a look

At his cards to see what he’s doing he

Holds back and won’t communicate how he’s

Considering his options what he wants

 

To do what he thinks he’s capable of

Becoming — it’s time that he makes his way

That he determines a direction and

I know he doesn’t have to get it right

 

There’s wide latitude — it’s not a lifetime

He’s planning just the first few steps and then

He may reconsider readjust and

Change course but how can he know what’s best for

 

Him without testing his abilities

And discovering how the world responds?

 

Because he’s done it

because he’s reconnoitered

possibilities

a father may guide his son —

but the son may be stubborn.

 

3.

So I was in the square in Paris just

Before Notre-Dame Cathedral after

A year of schooling at Oxford having

Scored well with the teachers and being a

 

Young man with prospects for success who was

Free of responsibilities and yet

I couldn’t be happy — now here you are

Accomplished graduated prepared to

 

Be an engineer a young man with no

Obstacles except that you’re unhappy —

Is the world to come so threatening so

Imponderable it’s hard to begin

 

Or is misery merely a habit

You must overcome? You will find a way.

 

Unfortunately

I’m not able to give you

exact guidance as

in matters of the spirit

we each have our own puzzles.

 

4.

I believe so and I feel so and the

Two cannot be separated — belief

Fires emotion instantaneously

If circumstances so align that I

 

Am triggered by events — I believed from

Childhood I was unlovable and so

I was disappointed hurt resentful

And couldn’t be otherwise because I

 

Believed a lie I had taught myself — a

Child jumps to conclusions about himself

About people without knowing and he

Misperceives — how could it be otherwise?

 

Because a child is only a child and

It’s an adult’s job to reconsider.

 

So I ask myself

what do I really believe?

Is it factual?

And if I’m deluded

can I believe differently?

 

5.

A kid is open to believing just

About anything and so giving care

Has lasting implications and even

Love may not be enough to save him from

 

Unhappiness if there is chaos or

Bitterness within a home — even in

A warm home it’s possible for a kid

To form handicapping beliefs — so he

 

Will come to conclusions about whether

He’s good lovable capable heading

For a bright future or not and the most

Loving parents may foster a healthy

 

Kid or maybe it’s his destiny to

Struggle and remember his parent’s love.

 

They don’t come without

qualities dispositions

and propensities —

even while wearing diapers

personalities emerge.

6.

It happened suddenly our cat George died

And I miss him so because there’s not a

Cat as sweet as George in this world — and so

I told my friends of the loss and so Jane

 

Remarked she let one into her home when

The winter was bitterly cold enough

For the tips of his ears to freeze away —

And he’s been passed among friends because Jane

 

Has three others but he was returned to

Her — so now we have him and I’ve named him

Henry — he may not understand me yet

Or he may be stubborn independent

 

But I’ll keep trying when he comes to me

By repeating Henry Henry Henry.

 

He may not accept

his name yet but he’s chosen

as a cat will choose

all the best places to sleep

and whom to curl up besides.

Thursday, 11 February 2016 13:36

August Poems

1.

Stillwater

When the native peoples walked for water

This same valley was here resonating —

They called a section “Stillwater” because

The water spread between limestone bluffs —

 

Iced-over river and overcast sky

Slopes of bare trees and snow the clean cold air

The quiet settling among the bluffs

Prepare this place for reverberations —

 

Sioux and Ojibwa fought in a hollow

Lumberjacks floated rafts of logs down steam

A frontier prison held the Younger Gang

And steamboats plied the townsfolk with supplies.

 

Pioneer Park has a southward view

For sunrises and sun speckled water.

 

In Pioneer Park

old people

free balloons

empty sky

 

Sun river

eagle soaring

seeing

 

— Tekkan

 

2.

A name is a sacred gift for a life —

To give a name to christen a baby

Is to bestow an intention and a

Wish for joyful life — May you be Kristine —

 

A parent’s love accompanies a child

Throughout her passage with her name meaning

May you be wise good and loving like Christ

May in all your days you be moved with love

 

Kristine is a lovely name a woman

Should cherish because of her parents’ wish

For her but a name is only a word —

The essence of spirit is ours to choose —

 

 

May she remember her parent’s wishes

May she do her best to honor their gift.

 

Each object we touch

is just temporarily

so — it’s transforming —

each thing eventually

vanishes into nothing.

 

3.

I heard of a child left behind at a

Gas station — she was forgotten — later

Her parents left her at a swimming pool —

In a big family assertion is

 

Necessary — abandoned — worthless — these

Thoughts created a foundation so she

Can never get enough attention to

Undo the expectation she will be

 

Forgettable — how easy it is to

Damage a child and how difficult

To heal a mind once the poison has been

Digested — is she exceptional or

 

Do many carry such burdens? Stories

Reveal the layered depth of suffering.

 

Childhood traumas are

so easily forgotten

yet continuing

effects may permeate a

lifetime with painful thinking.

 

4.

Do you remember your first friend beyond

Your family the first intimacy

When you discovered there were secrets to

Share and with innocence you gave such trust

 

And you discovered how much fun it was

To delve and roam about the neighborhood?

My family moved to Minnesota — that’s

How I lost my first friend — so we do find

 

New friends many come and go but along

The way come betrayals disappointments

 

So that we acquire a measuring

Facility for how much trust to give —

 

We each have layers of experience —

Some preserve a gentle sincerity.

 

Childhood innocence

inquisitive wholehearted

cannot be preserved

but we can be circumspect

and also practice kindness.

 

5.

A rascal put a

snail shell in a

tuba —

rumble has rattle

curlicue in curves.

 

6.

Today Matt’s a six-foot banana on

The sidewalk. He’s standing still but moving

Along the roads of Fridley attempting

To make commuters laugh — he’s driving a

 

Segway — a T-shaped stick with wheels — sometimes

He’s Gumby Spiderman a Coke bottle —

He was a soldier in Afghanistan

Was shot in the head suffers from headaches

 

Memory loss and can’t work so he wears

A costume looking ridiculous and

Tries to impart happiness to people

Passing by — he wants to turn around a

 

A bad day a stranger may be having —

His sense of humor has the best of him.

 

What do you give your

attention to? How do you

use your energy?

Is there something you can do

To turn bad luck to laughter?

 

[Matt Burr lives in Fridley, Minnesota.]

Thursday, 11 February 2016 13:36

June Poems

1.

Abraham Lincoln

He was moved with compassion for the slaves

Declared the nation must choose slavery or

Freedom when none wanted to see the truth

He knew the choice could not be evaded —

 

Thoughtful and grave with a far-away gaze

Burdens settled on him so he became

The master of himself and of many

Hot-tempered men contesting Civil War —

 

The north fought to preserve union and law —

Not to free slaves — Lincoln understood the

Temper of his people knew not to waste

The slaughter of soldiers so he waited

 

Until emancipation could succeed —

He was the only one fit for the job.

 

Sadness troubled him

compassion moved him to lead

strength sustained him through

thousands of battlefield deaths

may he be honored always.

 

— Tekkan

 

2.

Before they have leaves again notice the

Branches of trees — some hang limply others

Beseech the sun with rising limbs — naked

Branches have a barren look contrasting

 

With the greening grass but soon the budding

Leaves emerge again and what today is

A twiggy multitude will be a profusion

Of leaves attuned to the sun and swaying

 

In the wind — sunlight and warmth and the earth

Persevere— from my childhood the trees have

Communicated to me peacefulness and

Stability — they stand resonating

 

With the wind creating soothing voices

Succoring my too human frailties.

 

The invisible

does undulate through the trees

the inaudible

does resonate through the leaves —

communicating soothing.

 

3.

New leaves emerging are like a baby

Absorbing light — we may appreciate

Their new connections but we’re observing

Not experiencing — leaves and babies

 

Crossing a threshold joining us in life

From roots to leaf from parent to baby

We multiply being consuming light —

What is happening in a baby’s mind?

 

A warming face a swirl of colors but

When do distinctions emotions emerge?

What comes first emotions or perceptions?

How soon does the baby begin to choose?

 

A parent loves being holding taking

Care — the tree and leaves simply absorb light.

 

Along a spectrum

of living beings people

are quite proficient

in seeing comprehending

but we do have our limits.

 

4.

Words not said are inaudible yet there

Was an impulse — anger not expressed is

Invisible though there was the urge — how

Should I behave when I want you to do

 

Well but I don’t see you trying? You have

So much talent — why aren’t you moving? Do

Something — I can’t remove the fear myself

Can’t make you move don’t want to compel you

 

As I’m not God — I don’t see the subtle

Expressions of my face when I’m with you

So maybe my frustration comes across

In minute gestures — I do what I can —

 

You are so much like I was at your age

And then I didn’t want anyone’s help.

 

It’s a mixture of

memories and emotions

making responses

complicated — balancing

is so important today.

 

5.

He rests his head on the piano leg

Turns his brown eyes to me — George the house cat —

He yawns and gives me a quivering chirp

A friendly utterance from slouching George —

 

George is not a kitten anymore though

He doesn’t seem a grown-up either — it’s

Nonchalance and innocence — he really

Has no duties and I impose no chores —

 

He knows my habits in the night and leads

Me to the necessary room but he

Leads more slowly than I would choose so I

Slow down to his pace — hard to go around —

 

Because George is large and doesn’t hurry —

He’s much too charming to be upset with.

 

George hasn’t a mane

isn’t on the savanna

doesn’t have a pride

but he is brown and does have

a complacent majesty.

Thursday, 11 February 2016 13:34

April Poems

1.

Again Thomas Lincoln led the oxen
Caravan traveling the fourteen days
To a fork on the Sangamon River —
He hewed a cabin with a saw and ax

Thomas was a poor carpenter — once he
Scraped a “half-faced camp” a shed with three sides —
They lived no better than bears in a cave —
Abraham’s mother died of milk sickness —

Abraham Lincoln learned arithmetic
By doing sums on a wooden shovel
He shaved off the surface by the fireside
To renew his labor — perhaps he had

A year’s schooling altogether but he
Read the Bible and Robinson Crusoe.

Weighing words
dispassionately
Abraham Lincoln
spoke the truth and
told it precisely. 

—Tekkan

 

Editor’s Note: The information in these two poems was recorded by John T. Morse, Jr.; he gathered his record of events from many sources. John Morse was the editor of the American Statesmen series published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge in 1899. Mr. Morse wrote Abraham Lincoln, volumes XXV and XXVI; the relevant chapter is: “The Raw Material” in volume XXV.

 

2.

Is there a triter subject than a rose?
They are mostly just stems and little leaves —
Yes their velvet petals are enchanting
But the contrast with their thorns? Overdone —

As common as the sun or moon in verse
Who hasn’t read poetry belabored
With roses? I’d rather see some other
Flower — peony or chrysanthemum —

Yet I adore the resonance of “rose”
And the certainty that every human
Has beheld the sun and moon and roses
So to become one with humanity —

What everyone has beheld I behold
Too what everyone has loved I love too.

Yellow rose petal
evanesces —
thorn

 

3.

Within this sheet of paper are raindrops
And also the clouds from which rain came
Reside now within this white form that was
Once a tree that has become a poem —

Without the rain drops to nurture the tree
The expression of the tree paper and
Poem could not be — the minerals in
The soil also live within this paper

Because without minerals soil has no
Potency — the magic of the sunshine
Rises off this paper to warm your face
While I communicate to you with words —

The logger the road maker and the mill
Worker each have labored for this paper.

Metamorphosis
is a fact and the magic
is a mystery
and the mystery is deep
though it happens everyday.

 

4.

Such things too
the smudges
and slabs
take part in
the bloom —
row apartments
and vine roses.

Thursday, 11 February 2016 13:33

February Poems

1.

My mind is a bowl pondering a response          

To a friend who has gone missing who said

He has no friends whom he can rely on —

When we meet again what will I say?

 

My mind is a bowl containing tension

Between a zeal to persuade a woman

To submit to my arrangements while also

Measuring my own too frequent breath —

 

My mind is a bowl receiving the sun

And amidst the blue sky are moving clouds

But there suspended is the moon

A faint white crescent in the morning —

 

My mind is a bowl and an offering

Of my best intentions for the day.

 

Crescent moon in the

blue sky of morning —

a hole in the day

 

— Tekkan

 

2.

You burst before my eyes and snatch my sight  

Swallow swooping rising diving turning

Turning as if you were a whirling blade

Turning and then vanishing into sky — 

          

But you humble bee lumber in the grass

So plodding ponderous and purposeful

Wanting to get your nectar and go home

Serving the manufacture of your hive —

 

I can’t resist the urge to grab a toad

To turn it over and gently squeeze it —

Is it frogs or toads that give the girls warts?

I suppose it’s either but I don’t care —

 

I’ve spent an hour playing in summer

And so escaped a dreary winter day.

 

Cold winter days

and frozen toes and

worry about

constantly frozen toes —

a thaw and warmth again.

 

3.

Only banana

tastes like banana

only a tongue

can taste banana —

I have the joy.

Thursday, 04 February 2016 08:13

Feb. Poems

1.

Asphalt Driveway Co. (1978-1981)

I was privileged in summers long ago

To work on the crews who put in asphalt

Driveways and we came in our tall trucks with

A tractor a roller and a paver

 

And also our muscles and the skills we

Honed as young men with gusto learning the

Required tasks — like standing on a load

Of asphalt while the soles of my boots burned

 

And shoveling from the truck down to a

Wheelbarrow because that’s the only

Way to get the stuff to an odd place — I’m

So grateful to have done that work because

 

Within my layers of experience

I learned simmering determination.

 

 

I am proud of the

exertion I expended

disporting a maul

a shovel and a pickax —

I grew a capacious heart.

 

— Tekkan

 

2.

Willie might not impress you on the street

As he was just too thin and tanned almost

Black and the sun is not kind to exposed

Skin and his brawling drinking smoking ways

 

Weren’t upper crust but as the chief on an

Asphalt driveway crew he was a master

Craftsman sizing up the job timing the

Arrivals of the trucks and the movements of

 

The grunts from the seat of his tractor as

He tore up the old and sculpted the ground

With an eye attuned to the drainage of

Water and he raked the underlying

 

Stones and then the asphalt spreading so as

To lay a perfect surface — state-of-art.

 

Willie was wicked

with mercurial rages

over carelessness

stupidity or even

for no discernable cause.

 

3.

Grunts: prideful foolish given to displays of strength.

So Davey folded the plastic rings that

Connected a six-pack of pop into

A single ring and with both hands grasping

Behind his neck he so tore it apart

 

And Joey spastically shoveled stones

In the correct general direction

And he drove trucks the same way hastily

Weaving in traffic with a hot load of

 

Asphalt and there came a day I had to

Prove myself so I swung a pickax like

John Henry and the next day they let a

Surplus guy go and kept me and with my

 

Boot I balanced on an empty pop can

And with my fingers tapping crushed the can.

 

The chief has mastered

all required skills before

he drives the tractor

and he is the general

determining everything.

 

4.

A tamper is a steel tool a pole with

A square end that’s used to put a raised edge

Alongside of an asphalt driveway and

I had a good eye for tamping a long

 

Straight line and the crew chiefs wanted me as

My work was a nice finishing touch — I

Was happy because I kept working and

I’d found a skill setting me apart and

 

I enjoyed riding from job to job in

The back of those tall dump trucks wearing a

Bandana but not a shirt feeling like

A pirate or gypsy encountering

 

Curious expressions from passersby

Because I was a member of the crew.

 

It doesn’t take much

to encourage a young man

to entice him to

work like a raging demon —

just give him some belonging.

 

5.

A roller uses two cylinder wheels

That we filled with water and it’s about

Twice as big as a golf cart and I went

Forward by pushing a lever forward

 

And backward the same way and one day I

Was rolling pressing a just laid driveway

Going right to the edge of a ten foot

Drop enjoying an easy interlude

 

Between hard labor and I pulled back on

The lever but the roller kept on so

I jumped and down it went boom boom and like

A cat I landed with my heart going

 

Boom boom and I might have been dozing a

Little beforehand but then I woke up.

 

Synchronicity —

a mechanical failure

a ten foot drop and

vigorous dexterity

produced a happy ending.

 

6.

It was a joke we enjoyed — four of the
State government road crew were leaning on
Their shovels as one was shoveling — though
There might have been a little envy too

Because we were like skinny feral cats
From the moment we arrived at the yard
There was ceaseless motion before dawn to
Returning past the evening twilight and

Through the heat of the summer days and the
Only reliable rest I could have
If there was room in the cab was to doze
On the way to the next job otherwise

I’d stand in the dumpster part of the truck
With my arms over the sides holding on.

Such a test of pride —
to lift a wheelbarrow
and hurl it up and
over the side into the

dump truck about ten feet high.

Thursday, 12 February 2015 09:39

Stillwater

When the native peoples walked for water
This same valley was here, resonating.
They called a section “Stillwater” because
The water spread between lime stone bluffs.
 
Iced-over river and overcast sky,
Slopes of bare trees and snow, the clean cold air,
The quiet settling among the bluffs,
Prepare this place for reverberations.
 
Sioux and Ojibwa fought in a hollow;
Lumberjacks floated rafts of logs down steam;
A frontier prison held the Younger Gang;
And Steamboats plied the townsfolk with supplies.
 
Pioneer Park has a southward view
For sunrises and sun speckled water.
 
In Pioneer Park
old people
free balloons
empty sky
 
Sun, river
Eagle soaring —
Seeing
 
 
—Tekken
Wednesday, 30 July 2014 11:42

Editorial

Our Mission Is to Reawaken the Genuine American Spirit . . .

Ronald Reagan's Faith and Optimism
Barry MacDonald - Editorial

11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative, by Paul Kengor. Beaufort Books, New York, NY, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., ISBN 978-0-8253-0699-0, pp. 157.

It is obvious in many who engage in or watch politics and governance: cynicism. My hero/commentator, Charles Krauthammer, is an admittedly proud cynic, expertly honed to see underlying motives. Charles sees motives, goals, and likely results: self-promotion predominates, solutions ignored, Americans without power suffer, and problems accumulate - the veterans who die waiting to receive medical care while VA managers hide waiting lists so that managers win bonuses is a poignant example. The Veterans' Administration is not being run for the benefit of veterans but for the benefit of VA managers, which epitomizes the nature of bureaucracies.

Page 3 of 3

Calendar of Events

No events

Words of Wisdom