Monday, September 21, 2020

International Day of Peace/Autumnal Equinox—Murfin Calendar Coincidence Verse

This is another one of the calendar poems inspired by random, or not so random, coincidences of dates, usually discovered as I am in a mad scramble for a blog entry topic.  It first appeared in 2013 but the calendar serendipity is annual.

Tomorrow will be the first day of Autumn but here in McHenry County sky will be an opal haze from the drifting smoke of Western wildfires.  Many of us are still hunkered down in our homes and may be cheated of glory march of the season.  We are bombarded with terrible news.  


Today is the
International Day of Peace, so proclaimed by the United Nations every year since 1982.  Since 2001 the date has been fixed to September 21 instead of the original third Tuesday of the month, which was also when the UN General Assembly begins its annual session.

This year low grade wars bubble underneath American consciences in all of the old battle grounds of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.  The Saudis bomb and starve Yemen.  The Israelis bomb Gaza whenever they get the itch and raze Palestinian homes and villages at will.  The Turks shoot the Kurds and the Russians still are at undeclared war with Ukraine.  China crushes democracy in Hong Kong.  And thanks to Trump’s whim to end Obama’s Iran nuclear deal and Kim Jung Il’s erratic sabre rattling  the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has re-set the Doomsday Clock to just 100 minutes to midnight.

An American made aircraft drops American made bombs on Yemeni civilians.

Among its grander visions which must have seemed distant even to the founders of the Day of Peace, was at a call for an annual one day cease fire of on-going hostilities.  I can recall no armies ever standing down, but perhaps I missed something.

The rapid deterioration of the environment—melting ice caps, rising seas, hurricanes, heat waves, fires, droughts, and famine—also displaces millions creating international migration crisis, destabilizing governments, and creating conflict over scarce and vanishing resources—the perfect recipe for war and more war. 

And here at home we seem teetering on the edge of Civil War.

No wonder this old piece is still relevant.

The well intentioned gather at a Peace Pole.

International Day of Peace/Autumnal Equinox Eve

September 21, 2013


The immanent equinox advertises itself

            this morning with crack crisp air,

            elderly maples beginning to rust at the crown,

            a touch of gold on borer doomed ashes,

            mums and marigolds,

            hoodies up on dog walkers in shorts,

            all under a prefect azure sky—

                        you know the one from the Sunday song

reminding “skies everywhere as blue as mine.”


The globe teeters on the edge of equanimity,

            ready to balance for an instant between night and day,

            seasons, yesterday and tomorrow,

            a perilous, promising, moment.


The poor creatures swarming over its surface,

            fancying ourselves somehow its masters,

            alas, bereft of any balance….


From the Wishful Thinking File,

            institutional division—

Festooned with doves and olive branches

            brave words on blue banners,

            a speech here, a lovely little vigil there,

            an earnest strumming of guitars,

            litanies sung, mantras chanted,

            kind hearts and gentle people…


The creatures go about our brutal business,

            blithely ignoring it all—

                        proclamation and equinox alike.


—Patrick Murfin


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