Haiku Journey

Short, long, summary of a life

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Oh,… ?

Oh, what should we seek,

happiness or contentment?

A different world…

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One leaf bud breaking,

new horizons unfolding.

Springs emerging day.

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No Dreamers…

American life,

Where even poor seem rich, free,…

But not for dreamers!


Sunday Guests: Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A poem to consider in times of conflict. By those who serve and those who don’t.

This is considered one of the greatest poems from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s tenure as Britain’s Poet Laureate.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,  
  Half a league onward,  
All in the valley of Death  
  Rode the six hundred.  
“Forward, the Light Brigade!  
Charge for the guns!” he said:  
Into the valley of Death  
  Rode the six hundred.  
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”  
Was there a man dismay’d?    
Not tho’ the soldier knew  
  Some one had blunder’d:  
Theirs not to make reply,  
Theirs not to reason why,  
Theirs but to do and die:     
Into the valley of Death  
  Rode the six hundred.  
Cannon to right of them,  
Cannon to left of them,  
Cannon in front of them    
  Volley’d and thunder’d;  
Storm’d at with shot and shell,  
Boldly they rode and well,  
Into the jaws of Death,  
Into the mouth of Hell    
  Rode the six hundred.  
Flash’d all their sabres bare,  
Flash’d as they turn’d in air  
Sabring the gunners there,  
Charging an army, while   
  All the world wonder’d:  
Plunged in the battery-smoke  
Right thro’ the line they broke;  
Cossack and Russian  
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke     
  Shatter’d and sunder’d.  
Then they rode back, but not  
  Not the six hundred.  
Cannon to right of them,  
Cannon to left of them,      
Cannon behind them  
  Volley’d and thunder’d;  
Storm’d at with shot and shell,  
While horse and hero fell,  
They that had fought so well    
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,  
Back from the mouth of Hell,  
All that was left of them,  
  Left of six hundred.  
When can their glory fade?     
O the wild charge they made!  
  All the world wonder’d.  
Honor the charge they made!  
Honor the Light Brigade,  
  Noble six hundred!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson, was humbly born into a clergyman’s family, one of a dozen children. A father troubled by mental problems, alcohol, and at least two brothers similarly afflicted, resulted in a shy, socially inept young boy entering Trinity College, Cambridge in 1827. Poems he published with a brother about the same time drew little critical attention but did catch the notice of the “Apostles” of Cambridge, a quasi-secret society of intellectuals. One member who championed Tennyson for Apostles membership was Arthur Hallam, whose sudden death four years later would inspire Tennyson’s acclaimed poem In Memoriam. When In Memoriam was published in 1850 it cemented the already popular Tennyson as England’s most popular poet and lead to his being named Poet Laureate on the passing of Wordsworth. In 1883 Tennyson was awarded a peerage by Queen Victoria.

Tennyson’s poem The Charge of the Light Brigade was published in 1855, six weeks after the charge took place.

The Actual Charge of the Light Brigade

On October 25, 1854 the Battle of Balaclava, part of the Crimean War, was being fought between Russian and combined English and French forces. The terrain consisted of rolling hills that form a valley with both ends being slightly higher than the middle of the valley. Lord Raglan, overall commander of the British forces, ordered the light calvary to charge and harass a withdrawing Russian artillery unit. In passing the order downline the vague order was misinterpreted to be for the Light Brigade to make a frontal charge on well established Cossack artillery at the opposite end of the valley. The heights on either side of the valley were controlled by the Russian forces with well established artillery.  Lord Cardigan led the Light Brigade through and into heavy artillery and rifle fire, breasted the Cossack batteries at the end but had to almost immediately begin a retreat back through the withering fire. During the charge and retreat, Cardigan’s brother-in-law Lord Lucan withheld his Heavy Calvary who were more suited for frontal assaults, under the justification that his charge would have been futile and he could more suitably render support and aid to the retreating Light Brigade. It was actually units of the French calvary who provided the greatest aid by clearing some of the batteries and rifle units on one side of the valley in support of the retreating Light Brigade. Since Lord Raglan’s orders were vague the blame, motivations, and responsibility for this senseless act of valor has for years been contested.


Well yes, but…

With Passover and Easter fast approaching and Ramadan in June it’s a good time to reflect on how we live our lives.

Don’t Just Believe In God, Believe Him is the title of a blog on The TJ Blog, by – wait for it – TJ. I know, you already guessed that. But take the time to get to know TJ. I know that you can only get to know as much about a person from their blog as they’re willing to share, but TJ does a pretty good job of that. But, he’s young, only a little younger than me, but that’s because he’s more mature than his years and I tend sometimes to be (someone I love would say immature) a little less mature than my years. Which doesn’t diminish what he has to say.

But, that’s not what this post is about. It’s about what TJ had to say on the subject of God, about believing Him. That’s spot on. Believing in God, is very different than believing God, and TJ clearly sees, from experience,  that that simple difference has profound potential if you take the next logical step of trusting God. But, do you trust Him enough? There are amazing things to learn when you’re willing to trust Him enough to step off the path. The path that seems to be the main highway of life these days – the “my way or the highway”, “they’re different, they’re wrong”, “us or them” path.

But, then there’s Pope Francis. How’d he get into this discussion? Simple, he’s stepped off the path and taken the next logical step after TJ’s blog entry. Francis believes in God, he believes Him, and he’s obeying Him. If you’ve missed that, step back and look at what he is doing and saying because it’s all tied to two verses in scripture. TJ cited the first one, John 3:16, and Francis is living the second one, John 13:34 (Actually everything God wants for and from us is summed up in three verses: Mark 12:29-31, in the Qur’an 98:5 and 103:3 or if you’re neither Muslim or Christian, the Golden Rule). I hope you read and think about those references before you finish reading this post.

TJ lived it during his mission years in West Africa, read about it in his blog. TJ closes the blog entry that started this ramble with “Trust Him. Let Him take care of you. It might be scary at first, but He won’t let you down. He loves you.” But, now it’s time to love others!