About robertedahl

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

Ship of State

He thought that the traits of
integrity, honesty, courage,
following the agreed upon

rules and regulations were
found in the marrow of the
bones of the ship if not in

the hearts of those charged
with guiding the ship to shore,
but the ship is not in that kind

of shape. Now, the ship can
barely sail and the captain has
mutinied and the crew cheers.

Will the ship get to shore or
will it sink while the captain
and crew grab the lifeboat,

save themselves and let the
passengers drown in the ship                                                                                               sailing to see Poseidon.

The Day He Quit Smoking a Pipe

A newly minted twenty-one, a
senior in college, he attended
the spring fraternity dance in
the downstairs ballroom of the
restaurant on the banks of the
river leading out to the Big Lake.

It was a big deal to rent out a
facility in a resort town twenty
miles from campus. He, one of
the few frat boys to smoke a pipe,
thought it made up for his grades.

Of Scandinavian descent, he pre-
ferred the sweet-smelling blend
from Sweden and he enjoyed tell-
ing everyone, in a fake accent,
the name of the blend. It was his
first date with the cute, blond
sophomore. Someone called his

name and as he swung around, his
pipe struck a support column. It
flew out and twirled to the floor,
sparks landing on his date’s dress.
She refused his calls over the
following summer.

It Happened Back in the Day*

The author wrote, “…habituation, confusion,
distraction, self-interest, fear, rationalization,
and a sense of personal powerlessness make
terrible things possible.”

Seen any of those things around the USA?
Just look around the neighborhood;
how hard is it for you to be understood?
Those all happened in Germany back in the day.

Have you heard, “I like my routine;
I’m confused; I continually watch Fox on TV —
distracted, it helps keep me,
but what is this virus unseen?

“I have to trust the leader
to keep me safe from the hoax;
seriously, this isn’t a joke.
Enemies brown and black are breeders.

We have to stop them in their tracks
before they mount violent attacks.”

*quote by Cass Sunstein, The New York Review of Books

Divine Inclusivity, A Sonnet

Thank you, Jesus, for your brown skin;
you take in and reflect out everything —
the whitest of white, the blackest of black
and everything in between.

Thank you for your brown eyes;
you take in and reflect out everything —
the bluest of blue, the blackest of black
and the lovely, hazel green.

Thank you for the now healed wounds;
you take in and reflect out everything —
the freshest flesh, the deepest red
all the colors our wounds have been.

Thank you for helping me see
in you everyone who has been and will be.

The Guy Is Dismissed

The guy is dismissed as too harsh,
too strident, too “in your face,” —
not sensitive, not feeling, not car-
ing, not empathic but it is just the
opposite. He feels so deeply that
at the end of every Nicole Wallace
show when she recounts the lives
and tragic deaths of those men
and women who have died of COVID,
he just sits and blubbers.

I Thought I Had Been Through It All

I thought I had been through it all —
sudden, violent death of a father
when I was seventeen and the
sudden, shocking death of my
wife at forty-nine — until now.
I see the suffering, the grief,
the pain of the families of those
Blacks cutdown violently, merci-
lessly, unjustly and those who
have been burned out of their
houses and lives lost in the
fires, and all their belongings
and the almost 200,000 lives
lost unnecessarily because of the
unbridled ego of the person who
couldn’t care less and the eight
thousand children who were just
let go at the border and abandon-
ed and then I hear of the steril-
ization of immigrant women at the
hands of an ICE fiend physician
nicknamed The Uterus Collector
and I drop to my knees and cry
and I hear the wales of the
children along the banks in
Babylon, “How long, O, Lord,
how long?”

You Don’t Even Want to Imagine

You don’t even want to imagine
that some ICE gynecologist is
sterilizing immigrant women
under the guise that the women
have uterine cancer. This sounds
just like Nazi Germany right here
in the good old US of A. How far
will this depravity go? How is
this happening? Oh, I know. It’s
Trump world. And we have de-
scended to the lowest place
humans could ever go, in the
most demented psyche ever
imagined. Did you say this is
Trump world? What would his
clinical psychologist niece have
to say while we all scream?

He Would Never

He would never tell his congregation
for whom to vote, but, from the pulpit,
he told them to vote and he did it, not

just on constitutional grounds but for
biblical reasons citing justice, mercy
and compassion in a flawed demo-

cratic republic. He said that we don’t
live out our faith in a vacuum but in
the political and economic systems

in which we live. Firebrand, young,
evangelical professors at the local
university vehemently opposed the

preacher saying it is their privilege
as Christians not to vote, not to
participate in the secular city. That

was fifty years ago. What would
they say today?

Obscenity on TV

He’s watching on TV a commercial of the
corporation Volvo using the Peter Seeger
protest song Hard Times in the Mill.

An’ every night when I go home
A piece o’ cornbread an’ an ol’ jawbone
It’s hard times in the mill my love
Hard times in the mill

You, too, can drive off in style away
from that gosh darn mill and all the hard
times there, just don’t spill the cornbread
on the leather seats and don’t drop the
jawbone because it will stain the leather.
Yes, for just the right price you can leave
that gosh darn mill and all the hard times
there for the safety of all-wheel drive.

Ain’t it enough to break your heart
Have to work all day, an’ at night it’s dark
It’s hard times in the mill my love
Hard times in the mill.

Remember, you, too, can drive away
from that Hard Times Mill
in a vehicle with the best safety
rating of any car on the market.
Think about the safety of your
children as you all drive away from
that gosh-darn, hard-times mill.