About robertedahl

Husband, Father, Brother, Friend, Jogger (40,000 miles and I've stopped counting), Cyclist, Kayaker, Hiker, Camper

Collective Amnesia

They are counting on the collective amnesia
of the American public, memory that lasts

about ten minutes. That is exactly what the
political predators are counting on in order

to get their way and then she flipped the
channel to the Public Television’s foreign

mysteries with subtitles and he gave a sigh
and his blood pressure dropped as he waited

for the team to discover the culprit and
bring him or her to justice, something on

which he reliably can count each evening,
something to which he looks forward because

it gives him a sense of security in this
increasingly uncertain world and the part-

icularly uncertain world of US politics which
veers frighteningly close to fascism and

other political systems of oppression. Thank
goodness for the Swedes, Danes, Norwegians,

Dutch, Germans and French for keeping his US
hide in stride not something he wishes to hide.


I Guess

I guess they have to say,
“It’s for the greater good,”
for them to stand before
the mirror and not
see the decay
like Dorian Gray.

I guess they have to fool
themselves into believing
it’s for the greater good
for them to stand before
the mirror and not
see the ghoul
creating a political

I guess they have to lie
themselves into believing
it’s for the greater good
for them to stand before
the mirror and not
see wise mortality
and one who will die
by and by.

I guess…I guess….

Birthing *

The eighty-five-year-old woman slumped
to the floor upon hearing about the sudden
death of her forty-nine-year-old daughter
and let out an involuntary, blood-curdling moan.

The twenty-year-old woman slumped
to the floor upon hearing about the sudden
death of her forty-nine-year-old mother
and let out an involuntary, blood-curdling moan.

The twenty-four-year-old man walked slowly
up the drive to the house where his forty-nine-
year-old mother lived before she died suddenly
and as he walked he let out an involuntary,
blood-curdling moan.

The forty-eight-year-old man lifted an angry fist
to the heavens and cursed God following the sudden
death of his forty-nine-year-old wife and he let
out an involuntary, blood-curdling moan.

The moans joined the moans of all those throughout
history who suffered tragedy in any and all ways —
slavery, war, pestilence.

The moans rose to the heavens to join the
moans of Father, Son, Spirit, Mother,
Daughter, Sophia, Creator, Redeemer,
Sustainer until there could be heard
nothing throughout the universe but
one, involuntary, blood-curdling moan —

and that one, involuntary, universal, blood-
cuddling moan birthed life.

*idea from a meditation by Richard Rohr

Life With Labs

While she is online, she looks for
the sponsored sites which feature
dogs in interesting situations.

He will hear her chuckling and
assumes she is at one of those
sites. He says, “What?” She says,

“Oh, it’s one of those sites with
interesting photos of dogs. Here
is one with a Great Dane sleeping

with his butt on the couch and his
head on an ottoman.” She hands
him the I-Pad and he hands it back.

Mostly, she hopes to see photos of
Labrador Retrievers (mostly the
chocolate variety because she is a

sucker for Chocolate Labs) and
she is never disappointed regardless
of the color because Labs (especially

puppy Labs) get themselves into
really interesting situations, like
tearing up roll after roll of toilet

paper and then sitting with ears
lowered and a totally penitent look
on his or her face. She laughs out

loud as she moves gleefully from one
photo to the next. She has had five
Chocolate Labs as she looks away

from the computer and with a stern
face at number five on the floor
next to her chair because the six-

year-old female rescue just ate her
reading glasses. It will take a while
before she finds that humorous.

The Impermanent Smiley Face

He read the advice from the
spiritual director of his church

on how to begin meditating.
He had already begun and

was pleased to have the affirm-
ation that he was doing it the

right way. There was advice
about paying attention to breath-

ing. He did that. This time on a
rainy day he opened his eyes

and decided to exhale on the
window in his study causing

the window to fog. Quickly he
drew a smiley face and meditated

on the impermanence of the Emoji
as it faded and disappeared forever.

Then he smiled, closed his eyes
and went back to paying attention

to his breathing for the last
four minutes of the session.

The Streams and Rivulets of Life

It seems
his life has been
a series of rivulets
and ever-expanding

The question
it seems
is what
rivulets and streams

Are they leading
or does he
even care?

It seems all
rivulets and streams
lead to a lake
and then
to the sea

where all other
and share.

Even if he
doesn’t now,
he will
eventually care.

It’s always wonderful
to discover what
one’s rivulets
and streams

in relation
to all
rivulets and streams.

Twenty-Four Seven for a Week Camping With Two Who Are in Love and Have Recently Celebrated Twenty-Three Years of Marriage

So, five days together 24/7 in a
17’ travel trailer and we argued
vehemently about what exactly

last night before we went to
bed and let the sun go down
on our anger against what the

good book says and plotted
revenge all night long like how
I would take quick visiting my

son/her step-son in two days
out to breakfast without her
and then in the morning it was

a foregone conclusion that we
would apologize and we would
get on with getting on? And then

we pulled the Egg Camper into
the driveway, unhitched, unloaded
everything and went out for happy

hour and then looked forward to
an evening at home, a bit of TV
and a wonderful night’s sleep.

Later we would discuss my issues
with my mother and her issues with
her father and our issues together….


The classical music radio station host told the audience
     she recently discovered a nineteenth century minor
composer she liked and that the station was offering
     the cd for a pledge of seventy-five dollars as the
riding lawn mower roared past their little travel
     trailer drowning out the first five minutes of the
newly discovered piece of music that when he was able to
     hear it sounded more eighteenth century than mid-
nineteenth. The piano had a distinctly harpsichord sound
     and the lilt of the tempo made him think of young
maidens in white dresses dancing merrily through an English
     garden. The riding mower roared again after the rider
took a bathroom break thus blocking out the rest of the piece.
     The listener caught the next pitch for a pledge and
thought to himself, “and this is what we left home for”
     thinking a camping trip would be just the needed anti-
dote to the ubiquitous roar of riding mowers in his neighbor-
     hood. He had actually been looking forward to a different
roar, the roar of the concert goers after the final note by
     the orchestra of the eighteenth century minor composer’s
composition but he wouldn’t even have heard that if the riding 
     mower hadn’t roared past because the composer only had minor 
status and the concert goers probably would have given the 
     piece a polite but quietly reserved reception — unlike that 
the man was experiencing on his getaway camping trip.



Fragile, a word most of us don’t think of when thinking 
of the United States of America, until now, 

but I listen
to the morning awakening with cars and trucks moving 
loudly up and down the street. 

Breakfast is being served 
at restaurants in town. Coffee is percolating. 

A neighbor 
emerges from his house with gardening shears and clips 
dead petals off of the fall flowers. 

Old guys sit around a 
table bemoaning yesterday’s football game. 

Life seems 
pretty normal for a Monday morning. 

And then the networks begin analyzing 
the early morning tweet-storm.