July 5, 2010

Max’s Musings

maxBy Max Molleston

I am ready to say that creative writing, with some exceptions is much like fishing. Even if you, as writer, are steered to a time and place or a subject there is plenty of word choice and situations that can be stretched. Truth may be a master but the skill of the writer is the key factor. If you or me as a writer, or poet, takes tackle and bait to a shady area on a small creek, we face fewer challenges.

I have been fishing deep history the early part of this warm season. Will Durant, historian, authored what I believe is a five volume History of the World. His first volume, about the Orient, was finished in 1934 and published in 1935. That is the year of my birth, and a long time ago.

Durant’s initial volume at 700 pages, was stuffed full of the humans and their missions in life long ago, the lives and styles of living going back 7000 years, but mostly hangs around the time periods of 5000, back to Sumeria and Babylon, stuff most of us touched on when studying the Holy Bible as youngsters in Sunday School classes.

Egypt is considered the greatest of the ancient nations for all the reasons historians push around to create some kind of ratiing for civilizations. Leaders formed alliances and depended upon their armies and intellects, insofar as they could be trusted or tolerated, to move things along.

One Egyptian leader, a younger man in the dynastic successions was called Ikhnaton, and historians in this case acknowledge among other skills he was a poet. We offer part of one poem this month. Will Durant, author of this volume, Our Oriental Heritage says Ikhnatons’ poem about the sun, a stunner in those times, is the best he had seen coming out of that era. This era, 1380 b.c.

Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of the sky.
Oh living Aton, beginning of life.
When thou risest in the eastern horizon
Thou fillest every land with thy beauty.

It covers three pages in this volume, and each line is beautifully crafted. Ikhnaton was a better writer and poet than leader. Lifestyles and icons were changed, and he bashed established religious practices and the priests who lead many gods choosing Aton, the sun, as his and Egypt’s God. One only.

It has been a few months since I solidified a poem idea I began on I-80 from Iowa City to Davenport. It too is about the sun. After soome struggle with wording and main point, I titled it:


An unexpected early September fog
allows night to loosen its grip stubbornly,
finger by finger. Journeys like this, late
dark and early light arouse our imaginations.

We can guess at what we see when
thick fog overlays everything, hiding
cornfields and bushy soybean plants.
Some trees stand guard beside the road.

The glow, increasing above our horizon,
is life for us. Our sun controls and we create.
Brilliant sun promises all humanity and empowers
billions of lesser animals, plants and insects.

Green fields begin to brighten.
Our star lights the way for brothers and sisters
as earth spins landscapes and water to an away
from its intensity. Shine begins.

Sun supreme, spawning life with its touches.
Our planet gives and takes from waters large
and small, where if we believe, all life was gifted.
It is now over, this spell, as our sun overwhelms.

Poetry IS fishing. fishing through our minds and situations, aiming for some pathway. Even though we land nothing, the work was done to make way for a catch. In the case of my poem, Intensity, fog was the initial emphasis, as it would be for anyof us driving anywhere. Driviing east in the cornbelt presents few challenges than other vehicles in normal conditions. Passage of time and waning energy of the fog against the sun is my path to a conlcuded poem.

I hope you are enjoying this summertime. In your area lots of community events compete with each other, town for town and event for event. As a farm broadcaster for decades I want you to visit your county fair. It is support for a practice in agriculture that is timeless. Great for younger kids who will not know that there are fewer rides than last year, and fewer places to grab something to eat. But it’s all there at your county fair. Take one in then join me here in August.