How far we’ve come in 35 years

A reblog from my dear friend, POETLADYUNIVERSE. You don’t have to be from New York to appreciate the beauty she captured.

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Miami was a humid town
Buildings no more than 25 years old and
Biscayne Blvd a 2 lane cement road
Where you could fall off your scooter and laugh all the way home
No assholes in fast cars mowing you down
And running away

Then I came to New York
Old buildings from before the war
What war?
Pick one long ago
And chances are buildings older than that

Now my heart skips a beat
Arriving in Manhattan
The brick the stone the ivy walls
Secrets hidden
if walls could talk
How much would they say?

I was here before you
I saw the rolling hills and clear
Rivers which you named and polluted
I watched the buildings go up
Sometimes slowly sometimes quickly
Depending
Whatcha need?

And a man came along
He built a vast park
To compliment the buildings
And he told them
You can stop here and…

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Oh Please!

Sharing a delightful poem by my dear long time friend, “POETLADYUNIVERSE”.
This is certainly what we all think about as watch the years go rolling by.

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Sometimes I wish
I could do it all over again
My mother always said
If I knew then
What I know now

What would be different?
We were so certain of things
Things we loved
And things we hated
Things that we forgot about
As soon as we could

Now in an older age
We are not so certain
Maybe if I
could have
Or should have
Or would have

We look back and wonder
All those roads not taken
Oh please!
We didn’t want to go there anyway!

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Varying Degrees of a Dilemma…

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Different stages of life bring varying degrees and interpretations of what constitutes a dilemma. Here is my example for today…

I woke up earlier than usual this morning because I am scheduled to be a poetry judge  for “Louder Than a Bomb Florida”. I have been looking forward to hearing students share their poetic voices and express themselves in a lyrical format. The finals to this competition will be later in April and my small role is to help narrow down the best poets and poetry teams by judging today’s competitors. (Keeping in mind that poetry is subjective. However, based on a given criteria, the group of judges have their scores tabulated and score keepers come up with an average for each individual poet, group, and school to see who moves on to the semi finals.)

Anyhow, I started thinking about the young poets I’ll see and hear today. I had a fleeting moment of recollection of my own youth when I used to write poetry, turn it into songs, and then play my poems as music on either my folk or electric guitar. I lamented momentarily for my long lost youth, which ironically still seems very alive to me, until I happen to walk past a mirror.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for every gray hair and every line because I have survived life, when so many others have not. And so I rejoice each and every day that I am still alive. A part of me has been shouting to the heavens my gratitude that in less than a week I will reach the last year of my 60’s, but another part of me realizes that I am verging on the decade I have set aside in my mind and called OLD age!!!

Whenever I refer to myself as middle aged, my older son in his 40’s, laughs at me explaining that HE is middle aged and therefore I cannot possibly be middle aged too. I tell him he cannot call me old until I approach my 70’s and as long I am still in my 60’s I am indeed middle aged, at least as far as I am concerned!!! (I’m a junior senior and that’s that!!! End of discussion!!)

So, with 69 lurking in the wings, and a little envy at the young fresh faces and outspoken words I will be hearing today, I have a plethora of mixed emotions this morning about getting older. There is still that young rebel inside of me and I envy the poets of today, who with their words have the power to change our world. I rejoice in their passion, their strength, their physical beauty. But most of all, I admire their energy.  I still feel like just like they do deep down inside.  That is until I actually look in the mirror.

This morning I stood in front of my reflection to slap on a little blush and lipstick and low and behold, in front of my face I saw a huge red ZIT on my left cheek!!! I burst out laughing and actually jumped up and did a happy dance. YES. I jumped for joy! I mean, if I can still get a pimple, doesn’t it mean that I am still young inside??

Gone are the days when a blemish was the end of the world. I used to agonize over those period pimples that would pop out of nowhere when I least wanted to see them. But today, I rejoice that I have a large red zit on my face. I feel young again! Hoorah!!!

Now, my dilemma is this… I don’t have pimple cover up since I am 68 years old and never get break outs anymore. I suppose under eye concealer will do the trick. Or maybe, just maybe, I will let that big old red sucker shine brightly proving that this old girl is still young enough to break out! Hahaha isn’t life something???  I have a pimple today. Yippee!!!! I feel young…. or at least 40 again. I can’t believe it!  I am going to a poetry slam and I will fit right in. I’ll have a pimple.  Isn’’t life grand???!!!!!

 

Moi with Judges for “Louder Than A Bomb Florida”

 

An Evening With The Bard!

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Tonight the newest movie version (2013) of Romeo and Juliet was on television and I decided to give watching it another try.

Those of you who know me well, know R & J is my absolute favorite play of all time. Without a thought I can recall just about every line from every character in that play. So when this particular film version first came out I couldn’t wait to watch it. But, a few years ago I turned it off before Romeo ever set eyes on his beloved Juliet. Why? Because the director had it rewritten so that it was in every day language and thus despite the exquisite scenery, gorgeous costumes, and beautiful actors, it was a mockery of that which we call Shakespeare.

However, this time when I flipped through the stations, I came upon the scene where Romeo first gazes at our gal Juliet. He went right into his original lines. “O she doth teach the torches to burn bright! ” etc.
And so I gasped…and tears instantly welled up because their “meet and greet” scene was exactly as it was originally written. Just as I performed it in college back in 1970, and just as I taught it to my students year after year. And in that moment I was immediately drawn back into the world of blank verse. (Better known as unrhymed iambic pentameter).
Yes, to my delight, the director was at least clever enough to use The Bard’s original verse for most of the important lines between the world’s most famous lovers. Thank goodness!!!!!!

I don’t know why this director felt the need to dumb down a good portion of the dialogue. Young people today aren’t stupid. They would still watch it, and still understand the content and passion this play evokes without ripping good old Will’s words to shreds. Thankfully, enough was left intact for me to enjoy .  But seriously, why would anyone want to tamper with perfection?
The director could have changed the costumes, the staging, and the set; modernize the make-up or hairstyles, but NOT the words! NEVER THE WORDS!!!

There is a reason this play and all of Shakespeare’s plays have survived for centuries. It’s because they are brilliantly written. His words fall of the tongue like musical notes and float up into the theatre, circle around, and touch your heart. And they stay with you for a lifetime.

So… tonight I found some unexpected joy when I watched my favorite play.  I now have yet another movie version to enjoy when I long to hear The Bard.
Sigh…An evening with Will Shakespeare and unrhymed Iambic pentameter. Ahhh… Life is grand!!!

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1970 University of Miami. Juliet AKA Lesley

 

 

 

 

The Mass Shooting Down the Road.

On any given day, at any given time, in any given school, in no particular order, any one of our children or grandchildren could be killed while trying to get an education.

Today it was the school down the road from my house. Today 17 people lost their lives just 15 minutes from my home. In a beautiful neighborhood, in an academically excellent school, while the sun was shining, while I ate lunch, a gunman murdered 17 human beings, just down the road.

This morning parents said goodbye to their children never realizing that their precious darlings would never return. All this happened in my perfect little Florida community on Valentine’s Day.

As a retired educator I spent 36 years of my life teaching children. I never dreamed that something like this could touch my community. Not mine. But it did, and just down the road from where my sweet grandchildren sat in their classrooms in a nearby elementary school.

There is a gun epidemic in America that is more deadly than any virus or disease. And It is destroying our beautiful bright future and killing our children. And what do I say to my grandkids who will now be terrified to go back to school? I don’t know how to make them feel safe again. This is NOT how we should have to raise our children. This is not how America is supposed to be on any given day, at any given time. Not America!

Dear neighbors and friends, together we must make this nightmare stop. It Is fixable! By voting for representatives and leaders who are bold enough and care enough about our families to pass safer gun laws, “We The People” can save lives. Together we can do this! Our children do not have to be sitting ducks any more. We can stop this slaughtering of innocents. But, we must demand change and vote out those who don’t care about our loved ones.

These home grown terrorists,who are mostly young white males, can be identified and denied fire arms if Congress passes new gun safety laws and enforces them to protect our babies.

The President and Congress can keep their prayers to themselves. It doesn’t help those students killed just down the road from my house. Only safer gun laws will protect the rest of our children. Not speeches or bowing down to the NRA. Until better laws are created, then we will continue to live in the Wild West of Ignorance . And Americans don’t want to live in that world anymore. Enough is enough!

What is Congress Teaching Our Children?

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I’m watching the news and waiting anxiously to see if we are going to have another government shutdown. The clock is ticking…

I am so relieved that I am finally retired and not teaching in the classroom any more. Gifted students ask questions and while I never got political or took sides (Not ever!) when I taught school, it would be really hard to answer questions honestly during these trying times.

With Congress acting like bullies and non compromising fools, how do parents and teachers expect children to “play nicely” when our leaders and representatives are always fighting and finger pointing? It’s like Kindergarten! My new name for them is: KINDERGARTEN CONGRESS!!!

And NOW we have a leader who wants to spend a fortune on a parade???? Good Lord, you just know gifted students would come into school and want to debate that issue. So, I would have to let THEM debate and stay out of any political implications (And boy would that be hard.)

But, teachers have NO business pushing any agenda in school. So, I would have the students brainstorm topics, let them break into groups, do research, and then based on their data have a debate. It sure would be interesting to see what the students  think about everything happening in the world right now. I wouldn’t rate them on being right or wrong, but on their research skills, presentation ability, logic, and teamwork etc.

And MAYBE, just maybe, I’d have a group of youngsters who actually learned a lesson from seeing all this bad behavior from the people who are supposed to be in charge. MAYBE they would learn that intelligence, reason, patience, education, compromise, open-mindedness, willingness to listen to one another, is the best way to help the American people.

And just MAYBE a few of those children might run for office some day. Now wouldn’t that be grand?

I am still hopeful that this mess we are watching every day will be a lesson for what NOT to do when our kids grow up. Let’s hope!!!

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       2017 – A Year of Losses.

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WHAT A YEAR!!!!  2017 began with heartache and loss. The loss of an election that shattered my hopes and dreams of seeing a woman lead our country.

The loss of decency in “The People’s House”, where buffoonery and illiteracy overshadowed intelligence and eloquence. The loss of a free press and of a nation that was admired around the world.

The loss of a country, which supported diversity. Replacing a true leader and gaining a figurehead that turned facts into fake news and who criticized, and accused rather than uniting.

Yet, all through 2017, I brushed away tears and persevered pushing forward to hold fast to the convictions that right defeats wrong, that good overcomes evil, that love trumps hate.  This year has been one of many losses and I am left hollow, bereft, and fatigued.

December rolled around with the passing of one of my dearest friends, who danced with the demon Cancer. That shadowy, smarmy figure that ravished her body but never touched her kind soul.

Yes, 2017 was filled with so many losses. But, I have never been one to hold grudges, or stay down for very long, so I will rise in 2018 to meet new challenges.

I go into this New Year NOT wiping away the slate. No, to me, wiping away slates erases history. Deletes the 6 million who died from the hands of a dictator, ignores bigotry, misogyny and evil. NO! I do NOT forget. Because to forget means we erase history and we cannot learn if we forget. But I DO move forward.

I pledge to move forward and continue to work towards equality for ALL in 2018. For EVERY citizen of the world. Every man, woman and child. For every gender and anything in between the lines. I promise to value each and every one of you. And I promise to help as long as I am able. THIS is what I promise to do in 2018. NOT to wipe away the past. BUT TO USE THE PAST TO MAKE OUR FUTURE BETTER!!!!

Because we have a leader who is obsessed with the word GREAT, I have thought long and hard about how to do my best to achieve that goal. Greatness is defined as being admired and respected; yet to me it is much more than that. In my opinion, greatness is promoting the welfare of others. Looking to those less fortunate than ourselves and helping them. Making sure they are clothed and fed, educated and given shelter. Helped to be able to stand on their own. And taking care of those who cannot stand any more. Those who are sick, or elderly need our respect and our kindness. THAT is what I will be doing in 2018.

I will be helping, working, dreaming, creating, and making sure that ALL our citizens get a chance to live, learn, and be productive members of society.

I am energized now. I look forward to helping change the lives of those in need. 2017 kicked my behind. In 2018, I kick back!!! Happy New Year.  Welcome 2018!

2782797-wonder_woman_new_yearHappy Happy New Year! Welcome 2018.