End Daylight Savings Time in California.

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Support California Assembly Bill 2496.

On Seeing the Cost of Time Change

Old Ben saw too many francs

burning up in France’s candle wax.

He trusted his vision.

He trusted his watch.

 

I am convinced of this.

I am certain of my fact.

One cannot be more certain of any fact.

I saw it with my own eyes. . . .

All the difficulty will be

in the first two or three days;

after which the reformation

will be as natural and easy

as the present irregularity,

for ce n’est que le premier pas qui coûte.

 

Frankly, old Ben didn’t heed

his own aphorism’s advice:

Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.

How could he know what he couldn’t see

when he played with his watch?

A scientist of the Age of Reason,

he didn’t know a chronobiologist.

His Junto never discussed the studies

showing traffic accidents increase

because they hadn’t heard of a car.

It’s hard to believe, Mr. Efficiency

didn’t observe workplace injuries went up.

The good French wine must have blurred

his vision and slowed his heart,

or why else didn’t he see the sharp increase

in heart attacks on the day they turned the clock.

 

But there’s the catch, they didn’t.

Ben’s study group was just too small,

his hubris too large, his temperament

less regulated than his watch.

his letter to the editor of the Paris Journal

doubtless of his own perceptions.

 

I’d like to believe Old Ben would

have felt in his gut he was wrong

if he could have flown to France

on a jet and felt the lag in his eyes

for a day, in his head for two,

and all along his digestive tract

for nearly a month. But I think

Old Ben would have been sure

it was simply the food he could see.

 

He wrote the editor he needn’t be paid

except with honor for his clever insight.

 

If Ben were still alive, I have no doubt

he’d be honored with a class action lawsuit.

The plaintiffs’ counsel would surely quote

Poor Richard’s Almanack to Mr. Franklin:

“Ignorance is not innocence but sin.”

Or maybe he’d close with the French:

Ce n’est que le premier pas qui coûte.

This is only the first step that costs.

 

Stone, David.  “On Seeing the Cost of Time Change.” 2013 Writing from Inlandia. Riverside, CA:  Inlandia Institute, 2013.

 

Encouraging Questions

I found courage on Friday when I read Juan Vidal’s “Where Have All the Poets Gone?” through a link from NPR. Having sent off my own essay, “Poetry Called Present”, for consideration by The Press Enterprise and not knowing for sure if they were going to publish it, I felt affirmed by Vidal’s passionate questioning about the causes of the dearth of political poetry in America today.

I argue newspapers should be the “the viable mainstream presence” that Vidal says poetry lacks today. In addition to the example of The Los Angles Times“opinionated poems” that I cited in my essay, I think the Washington Post‘s publication of Jabari Asim’s “‘The Talk,’ a poem inspired by Ferguson, Mo” shows the potential of regular inclusion of current-events poems by newspapers.

The number of questions in Vidal’s essay reminded me of Warren Berger’s “Chasing Beautiful Questions” in the April 2014 edition of Spirit. Berger says, “To question well and productively requires stepping back from habits, assumptions, and familiar thoughts; listening to and closely observing the world around you; being unafraid to ask naive or fundamental questions and being willing to stay with the questions as you endeavor to understand and act on them.”

I’m going to continue to question: How might I encourage poets to write more current-events poems and more news mediums to include them?