Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Every Man of Tom Joad

In an article reprinted in the Sunday edition of the Courier-Journal in Louisville Kentucky, Rich Wartzman’s Los Angeles Times’ article of the 17th “The enduring power of Steinbeck’s classic” was astute in drawing parallels between our country today and the United States during the Depression of the 1930’s.

To quote a couple of points: “For many, polls show it’s becoming increasingly clear that the public sector has a role – and a responsibility – to help lift up those who are being left behind, as well as to more tightly regulate the corporations that, if left unchecked, can inflict so much damage throughout the economy. Even the Bush administration has warmed up to the notion of more vigorous oversight of business.

It has been said that when Franklin Delano Roosevelt finished reading “The Grapes of Wrath” he said, “there are 500,000 Americans that live in the covers of that book.” Then he went on to work for Social Security and other programs to help these people. If you have not read the book, do so now. Today there are at least 100 times those numbers. The families may own another name but the working poor continually increase and are this week being told it is their responsibility to bail out the rich.

The Great Depression was caused by an unfettered free market and greed.

What we are experiencing now had the same cause. Whatever happens, we must demand with our vote that this does not happen again.

Summer is Leaving

Summer is leaving.

It is September and the air is cooling
But my mind does not grasp that we
Are running downhill now towards a
Cold hard winter while wooly worms
Are taking on that second coat of fur.

I hate winter.

Especially I hate the winter that is
After Christmas and before me now
I see a long flat stretch of snow covered
Lots and fields where even the brown
Grass is covered by wind driven drifts.

My morning started as it usually does
With a cup of coffee in my hand and
The newspaper tucked under my arm,
As I walked out over the asphalt lot
To the bench under the still leaved trees.

The sun was up and if I had not known
It was September 20th, with fall two days
Distant, I would have seen a summer day
Through the glass door as I left the house.
The air was filled with the sound of geese.

Leaving this place for another warmer one.
They flew in a familiar wing, wings outstretched
And flapping together as friends and family
Often move toward the same place in time.
Yes, summer is leaving with the geese.

September 23, 2008