Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Morality in the Streets

Last week the news (especially the BBC) carried quite a bit of coverage of the riots in multiple cities in the United Kingdom. Rightly so.

This year there have been a lot of people taking to the streets. The "Arab Spring", as some have called it, had lots of people in various places taking to the streets for protest and hopes of political or economic change. Some ending peaceably. Some still raging on with conflict.

But it seems like the events in the UK are different. People took to the streets - and to some degree it may have been influenced by economics and politics - but on the whole it seemed that it was mostly just angry mobs, seeking to turn the chaos they were creating into some personal gain. Looting and 'smash and grab' seemed to be the hallmark of the 'assemblies'. There was no call for policy reform or demand for regime change. It was opportunistic greed and anarchy. Lawlessness.

What I find interesting in these kind of events ist what's said about it by rational, self-controlled and in-charge types. Or, more poignantly - what's NOT said.

On the way to work, I tend to listen to 'the Beeb" (BBC) because I often have my radio set to a public station. (judge not) My default morning news source has a British accent (or accents - they certainly vary!) simply because I'm lazy and don't change the station.

I found fascinating what I wasn't hearing. Most of the news bits and bytes surrounding the aftermath of the riots centered around things like the judicial system and how they were handling the arrest, detention and processing of so many people - many of whom are minors. But there was also a great deal of talk from the leadership. Parliament and Prime Minister and Police.

If you take out all the wrangling over how the government should respond and how officials did and didn't react, there's not a ton left. But what you are left with is intelligent people talking about people who were acting criminally. They spoke of these people being from depressed areas. How some had insufficient services and resources. The blight of uninvolved parents and guardians and it's effect on them. They talked about how to make the rule of law and it's application better compel people to behave properly.

What I never heard anyone say about it was anything about morality. Specifically the word "wrong."

Now - don't be confused by that. A great deal was said about laws and the breaking of them. But I don't think that legality and morality are about the same thing. The legal question has to do with laws and the breaking of them: External actions. Morality also has to do with law, and the breaking of it - but of a different sort. It's more all-encompassing. It's about internal evaluation. Morality has to do with the internal world, and the bedrock level beliefs about what is right and what is wrong. Everyone has this. It doesn't have to be taught.

External laws and punitive actions have an effect on our behavior - to a point. But only to a point, which varies from person to person. If you were to take away all influence of external laws - take away all possibility for punishment, I think you would get a good read on what people's true internal morals are. People who truly do believe that it's wrong to lie would continue to be honest. People who may say that lying is wrong but at bedrock level believe that personal gain through lying is morally acceptable would not be honest. No sir.

The fact that all societies have laws governing behavior and punishments for when those laws are broken is really a reflection of humanity's moral state. And it's not a pretty reflection. People, left un-compelled by an external authority of law, would tear society apart. And each other. Just look at places today where the government is incapable of controlling factions and ethnic groups. Horrors galore.

The British politicians aren't talking about the morals of the rioters. The reality is that the mobs happened because those people were willing to make it happen. Morally, (internally) they didn't have a real problem with those actions - especially when (for whatever the real reasons were) the capacity of police to compel external obedience to the law was diminished or non-existent.

In this day and age, there's a real fear to 'push morality' on people. Morality is seen as a personal thing and if you insist that I hold myself to a particular moral standard, then you are assigned a place with the Nazis and street preachers. How dare you try to compel me to be a certain way, morally. Who are you to say which moral standards are superior!? How dare you condemn me!

This is absurd. On the external side, what are laws? Isn't that exactly what they are? Are they not a forced morality? Whether you believe that murdering someone is justified or not doesn't matter when you get to the court room. The law is that murder is wrong. The penalties are severe. (and rightly so) All laws are a standard that is placed on a society for what is right and wrong. We don't vote for our laws.(except in California)

But again - the law is external.

Politicians, legislators and the like create more and more rules to govern our behavior - but external laws can't do that. They can compel certain actions or curtail others - but they don't have the capability to control hearts and minds. Or to motivate goodness. They never can.

What's needed for a healthy society are people with good morals. And I believe some moral systems are better than others. (I actually think one moral system is best.) Morally sound people govern themselves - they are compelled by an internal sense of right and wrong. For those kinds of people, the government doesn't need to compel them very much. People who are compelled only by external laws do not form a healthy society because governments can't catch everything and everyone. They just might get away with it. And as that possibility increases, the likelihood that they'll break laws will also increase.

So when I see greed induced riots all over the United Kingdom, what concerns me isn't the effectiveness of policies, or the capacity of police to enforce the law. What concerns me is that so many people would consider it alright to behave in such a way. That, to me, is the biggest issue - and one that no amount of legislation will be able to do anything about. The problem is far deeper than the law, and the dangers for us all are far greater. Perhaps we should start talking about that?

What we need is a clear set of laws for the internal, moral world. And there too we need someone who has the capability to know when those laws are broken and can effectively punish. Is there such a person? Is there such a moral law?

And - what we REALLY need is someone who can change us. Because even if the law written in our internal world is crystal clear and the recording and punishment of lawbreaking is absolute - we still break the law.

What we need is a change of heart. A change of desire. a change in our nature. Because, after all, the laws (internal and external) exist solely because we need them. Left to ourselves, we'll tear each other apart.

But who, then, could change us?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Your Massively Important Smallness

Some months back I saw a post on a friend's facebook page that I found intriguing.

It was a photo of a plaque on which were written a number of scientific statements intended to give perspective to the reader. I'm not sure where it's from, or who took it, but the final statement was strikingly... well - ironic. So much so that I laughed when I read it, but not because it was funny.

Here I mean "ironic" not in the wryly sarcastic way it's often used, but more like this: Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs

But before I get to the punchline, let's define some terms so we know what we're talking about here. I'll post the photo below, but first let me point something out. Or, ask a question really. What is science?

It's likely that the answer would vary depending on the frame of reference. Who I'm asking. What their field is. Where I'm asking. But broadly. Generally. What is it? How would you define it?

Very broadly, very generally, let's ask our long-dead but still relevant friend Merriam Webster. Here's what he (or his ghost) has to say.

Science. noun

1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3.any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4. systematized knowledge in general.
5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
6. a particular branch of knowledge.
7. skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.
Good. Broad and general definitions. Thanks MW. Please note some important consistencies. First, that science deals with knowledge. "Well, duh." But second, it's not ALL knowledge - at least not all at once. A body of facts, a system of study, a branch of knowledge, or knowledge of facts/principles which are gained through systematic study. And Third - most of the time this deals with the physical, observable, natural world. 
(Math, you could argue is an exception, but basic math still operates as a representation of the physical world. i.e. the number 2, while an abstraction and conceptual, still represents the concept of 2 of some thing. So does E=mc2)
In other words, we know a broad definition of science is that science is knowledge narrowly defined. It peers into the world for answers, but it does not stand on the edge of a canyon at sunset taking panoramic photos, then heading home. No. It goes down into the canyon with specific questions. How was this formed? What kind of rock is this? How deep and wide and old? Then is asks more questions based on the answers to its questions, drilling deeper and deeper. It builds a picture of the canyon by looking closely at its parts - it's physical, observable, testable parts. Science, at least as I learned it, seeks to be objective. It describes objects and the processes that govern them. Agreed?
But hey - weren't we talking about some funny plaque about 20 minutes ago, or something? Oh yeah. Back to the plaque. Let's go line by line, then I'll plop in the pic.

Line 1: "You are 1 person out of 7 billion people.
Is this testable and observable? Can I show this to be objectively true? Yup. Hard to count, but possible. 

Line 2: "on 1 planet out of 8 planets"
Yup. Testable, observable and objectively true. (sorry Pluto, you're out of vogue)
Line 3: "in one star system out of 100 billion star systems"
Again- yup. Harder to count, but observable.

Line 4: "in one galaxy out of 100 billion galaxies"
Yup. Ok. 

Line 5: ... well - read it for yourself. 

"and you are enormously insignificant"

Here is where I laughed. I did. 

First - and this is enormously petty - but I don't think you should say something is enormously insignificant. Utterly or ultimately maybe. How can insignificance be enormous? That's as dumb as calling something "enormously petty." Petty things are small. 

But, more significantly; Is that last line testable? Observable? Empirical? Does is deal with systems governing the natural world or the nature of the physical world itself? Nope. It's a value judgment. It's a statement of worth and relationship. It doesn't belong at the end of that list. To say that we have no significance at all is far too broad.
This is a value statement. Speak of mass, or electromagnetism or gravitational pull or chemical properties when you speak of my significance and I will concede. We're not physically significant relative to the incomprehensible scale of the universe. But value statements are subjective, not objective. There is a story going on in value statements. There is a subject and some consciousness that forms/comprehends a relationship of some kind to it.

The author seems to think little of me - he tells me that I am enormously (snicker) insignificant. But I don't believe him. He doesn't believe it either, otherwise why design, build and post a plaque saying so? If I am completely insignificant, why even pander to me by trying to convince me of it?

And consider the marvelous significance of our ability to even do science, and understand physical laws! That  physical matter can be so organized and structured that it becomes aware of itself and desirous to understand and make use of the properties of matter is incomprehensibly significant. It dizzies one's consciousness to consider that fact alone. Self awareness? Goodness. Is there any other place in the universe where this happens? That we can even consider this questions is remarkable!

The invocation of the word significance (or really, ANY words) itself is a robust objection. Language!? Now we're beyond a single self aware consciousness and on to interaction and communication between ourselves and others conscious 'matter.' Have we observed any other matter in the universe that willfully tries to communicate with other sentient matter? Only here. If someday we found conscious life elsewhere, would that be insignificant? And to apply the word significance means that it's not simply transfer of data, but evaluation of what data is of more importance to us.

Ok - enough. But when I see things like this I laugh first, then shake my head. I love science. It's been an incredible tool for understanding the nature of the world we live in. The knowledge of what the world is like gives us incredible capacities to make use of it, to enjoy it, to preserve it. But science makes a lousy worldview. And it makes a lousy standard for human significance. And there's where the problem lies. 

As a basis for making value judgments and moral decisions - science is insufficient. You cannot scientifically derive meaning, beauty, love or happiness from the physical world because they are relational, conscious-driven concepts. They are real AND they are non-physical
There are many to whom science becomes their religion - where only the physical world exists and is our source of origin and purpose, but this means they must find a way to explain emotions, a sense of meaning and personal consciousness from only physical/chemical means. They will deny their own humanity in the process. 
Either our consciousness and internal lives will become a physically pre-programmed robotic response, or they will become illusions - tricks of our physical mind which are in fact unreal. Lose your will, or lose meaning. Either one reduces us to rubble. There is no meaning, or love, or purpose, or consciousness in a physical-only world. Only chemistry and physics.

But no one can live like that. The author of this sign probably looked up to see the billions of billions of billions of stars and felt real, non-physical mind-blowing awe, began thinking about his place in the world - and got it wrong.


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Smoke Signals

I'm sure the blogosphere is buzzing over reports today on a little church in Florida that has made plain and public it's plan to burn copies of the Koran in a bonfire this coming weekend - on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Let me make 2 points, or offer a view without too much flailing and gesticulation.

We live in an age of hyperbole and marginalization, where one side demonizes and makes their opponents and their view as crazy as they can. In this case, that doesn't seem to be too hard. I'm sure there are a ton of viewpoints flying around making the "Dove World Outreach Center" to be insane and haters and a litany of other colorful name giving.

I suppose my first point is - let's hold up a mirror. My reflection is the reversal of what I actually look like  - the image of me that I see is flipped. If I were to hold a mirror up to this situation, it seems to me that it would look pretty similar on both sides.

On one side is a minority of believers whose theology is at the more extreme edge of their faith, seemingly full of hate and willing to do hateful acts in retribution toward their enemies. On the other side is a minority of believers whose theology is at the more extreme edge of their faith, seemingly full of hate and willing to do hateful acts in retribution toward their enemies. (is there an echo?) Granted, one side has been willing to do more severely damaging and evil acts than the other. Let's hope that reality doesn't cross the mirror's boundary.

Terry Jones, the pastor of this little church, may argue that he's just trying to purge the world of lies and false teaching, but I have a little trouble imagining Jesus showing up to the book burning, much less organizing it.

I don't think that Islam is true. I think its spread is causing problems around the world because of its large radical elements and percentages who act on that thinking. I think it's oppressive to freedom, to women, to open inquiry - but I also know that my job as a Christian is to take a different tack in opposing it - or any other falsity.

It's pretty clear, if you're at all familiar with Jesus' teachings, that love is the currency of change. That we're to love our enemies. That the approach to change people's worldview is to do so by speaking about and demonstrating to them a better way. That vindictive cycles of hate and revenge cannot bear the weight of forgiveness and kindness and love. Bad worldviews are not dissolved through sheer reason, or bombs or aggrandizement - they are supplanted by better ones.

While Mr. Jones might think he's doing something bold and significant on the side of truth, I think the smoke that rises from those hundreds of burning books will only be seen from the other side of the world as a confirmation and a call. A confirmation of their suspicion that Americans in general, and Christians in particular, are their enemies. And a call to retaliate. Until they're shown something better - why wouldn't they?

And I wonder what the 'World Outreach' is in the Dove World Outreach Center. For Muslims the world over this week, it will be more of a World Outrage Center.

Second Point - and I'll make this one REAL short.

Let's also 'thank' the news media yet again. Being a conduit doesn't mean you're neutral.

When streakers (for whatever reason) cross fields in sports events, the general policy is not to broadcast the stunt. The cameras turn away. Why? Because by sending it out to the world you are rewarding the nut-case and encouraging similar actions for others that I also don't want to see naked.

But not the news media. Their insatiable appetite for 'that which will make you watch us' seems to override what prudence demands. The BBC themselves, in their article on this point out that...

Gen David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said on Monday that the action could cause problems "not just in Kabul, but everywhere in the world".

"It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems," he said in a statement.

 And they even help us understand the situation by reminding us of previous events....

There were deadly protests in Afghanistan in 2008, when it emerged that a US soldier deployed to Iraq riddled a copy of the holy book with bullets.
And further lives were lost in Afghan riots in 2005 when Newsweek magazine printed a story alleging that US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet.
The story later turned out to be false and was retracted by the magazine.
Yeah, Newsweek - you can retract an incorrect story, but you can't retract the 'deadly' part of the protests. Too bad. Did you cause the reaction? No. But you happily pumped it out there. So, you're a bit culpable too. You're not the crazy, but you're glad to report it. People will die. 

Thanks Newsweek. Thanks news media. While this whole new situation is certainly illustrative of a problem that exists, there is a part of me that thinks the news outlets would do better to turn their cameras away from this streak of naked hostility.

Perhaps I need to know this - but can we report on this after the fact, quietly and with tactful forethought? I'd prefer that to your salivating and showing up early to the book burning with a camera man and several sets of billows.

BBC Article here:

I took the liberty of editing the original photo. Hope the Associated Press doesn't mind. Terry might. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Praise of Spring

What a wonder - spring!

Which with subtle scents
Gently beckons to me
On soft, cooling breezes
To pause in marvel and praise.

Somewhere, unseen honeysuckles
Send good news of life and beauty
Borne on the wind;
"The cold and death are done!"
They cannot help but cast,
To all who may receive,
The news and aroma of life anew.
Once a forecast
And now a foretaste
Of what is yet to come.

What a worshipper - spring!

Which, with it sensuous sights
Bids me kneel in grateful adulation.
Behold the azalea; altogether common
Yet it somehow gathers
earth and air and light
(All more common than itself)
And transforms them to flowers!
Fragile and
Fragrant and
Flagrant in hue.

And the peonies in their peak,
Too heavy with dew-soaked praise,
Bow their beauty toward the ground.
Glistening beads of gratitude
Laid before Him who
formed the earth
and moves the air
and speaks the light.

Is the world so rich adorned
With sights and scents of Spring
a foreshadow, A fleeting glance
which points us toward a King?

Friday, May 07, 2010

A Good Boy?

Philly news last night lead with a story that left me scratching my head.

The initial line was something like "stock market takes a historic plummet - but first, in Coatesville tonight protesters marched to the local police station."

So my first surprise (but not really) was that a sudden drop in stock value (nearly 10%!) was a runner up in the evening news. That's a big drop, but apparently made less newsworthy for the fact that the market also made up two thirds of its loss by the closing bell. Apparently, the already jittery market was tipped into panic by someone's keystroke error: a 'B' instead of an 'M' which does matter when it preceeds '-illion.'

But the top story, as mentioned above, centered around a local town and some of the events that went on there yesterday. We'll get to the protesters - first what happened.

Here's the shorty short version: Police in the neighborhood started following a car driving with its lights off. (around 11pm) When they ran the plates, it came back as a stolen vehicle. They attempted to stop the driver but he continued to drive. The news deemed it a 'low speed chase.' It ended with the car flipping over after it struck several other cars. The driver in the accident died in the crash. He was partly ejected from the SUV when it flipped, and it crushed him. Horrible.

The surprise here was that he was a local kid, just 13. The police thought he was trying to find a place where he could quickly exit the car and run away, avoiding capture. So he wasn't wearing his seatbelt, which undoubtedly would have saved his life.

Enter the crowd. Family and friends gathered together and marched in protest to the local police station. At this point the news showed footage of people being interviewed. Friends talking about how bad this was and that the kid didn't deserve to die...etc. The most forceful soundbites came from the tearful aunt, who said he was a good boy. He was just a good boy and he didn't deserve to die.

Some people claimed that they were shooting at the car and that they had run into it, prior to it flipping. One kid, tears flowing said "He was 13 years old - why did he have to die? Why couldn't they just stop the car? Why'd they have to kill him?"

And so there was a march, protesting the behavior of the local police. The two officers were put on administrative leave, pending the investigation.

First off, let me just say that yes - this is horrible. It's awful that this child died, and died in this way. It is tragic and my condolences to the family and friends. How terrible.

But there is something in human nature that's absolutely puzzling. What is it about us that always wants to pin blame and responsibility on someone else? I do it. I'll bet you do it. It's been going on since the beginning. We're inherently uncomfortable with being to blame, especially when we really are. It's as if wrong-doing goes against our very natures, yet we are wrong and guilty and lawbreakers at times and that feeling of 'this isn't what I'm supposed to be' persists. What seems to be the default then is to move that right blame to another person. Or circumstance. Or system.

Really, let's say you're a cop in this situation. Your job is to protect people, their property, their rights and their safety. Hold people to the laws.

While on patrol, you see a car driving through town, well into the night with no lights. Maybe they just didn't remember to put their lights on? We've all done that. So you follow him. Maybe there's more to it? So you run the plates and it comes back that this vehicle has been stolen earlier today. So you put your lights on, let's pull this guy over.

He doesn't pull over, he continues to drive. He's not speeding away, trying to outrun you, so you keep following them. No need for drastic measures yet. Call in for backup. Use the loudspeaker to tell him to pull over. Maybe he's violent and armed. Better be ready and call for help.

It seems he might be going slow so he can ditch the car and run into the night. Then the car sideswipes a couple others, reals out of control and flips over. You find the driver pinned under the car. He's a kid. A 13 year old kid.

From my perspective, I don't see anything critically wrong with the cops' behavior. Let's say they did bump him or try to stop him using their vehicle. I don't see a problem with that. Police are trained on how to make forced stops if needed. Did they shoot? Investigation says no weapons were discharged. Is there any hard evidence that they did, or just local hear-say?

And let's assume something here. From the police perspective, it's some person driving a stolen car. That person either knows it's stolen or he doesn't. If he doesn't, why wouldn't he pull over? All they know is that the car is stolen and the unknown driver is refusing to stop. What they don't know is who the driver is. Could be a violent criminal who is armed or a charmingly disoriented grandmother.

If the dispatcher came across the radio and said it was 13 year old boy, what would they have done differently? For those angry with the police, what do they think the police should they have done? Not pursued him because he was going slow? Just stopped?

Dispatch: "Pursuing officers: Be advised, the driver is a 13 year old"
Dispatch: "Affirmative, he's just 13"
Cop: "Roger that, dispatch" then turning to his partner "He's just 13. We just passed a good coffee place. Let's turnaround for some caffeine. I need a pick-me-up. We'll worry about him in 3 more years."

Ridiculous. It's a stolen vehicle. If it was mine, I'd want them to get it back, and I'd want them to catch the guy who did it.

Perhaps emotions take over, and I understand that. I just wish news outlets would be a little more rational and fact reporting. Another quote they aired from the Aunt was "A car like that doesn't hit the curb and flip. They [the police] killed that little boy." "He didn't deserve to die like this"

Again, respectfully. No he didn't, and this is a horrible tragedy, but why are we so afraid to own responsibility? Little Johnny wasn't just a good little boy.

Maybe he stole the car, but I think that's irrelevant. He broke all kinds of laws. He was driving a car - at 13! He was driving a stolen car. (at 13) He refused to stop for the police.

Little Johnny (not his real name) made bad choices which, so sadly and tragically, resulted in his death. Good people don't steal cars, joyride in them, drive when they're 13 and run from police.

Am I saying he was a completely evil person and deserved what he got? Absolutely not. No 13 year old deserves to be crushed by a car. He may have been a great kid. I'm sure he was worthy of love and was lovable. But I'm also sure he was breaking good laws.

He, like the rest of us, was a mixed bag. Full of good, but capable of and practiced at breaking rules. His bad choices led to a situation in which he died - as a result of his own actions.

Let's say he was just joyriding, lost control at the same place and time and died in the same way. What would we say then? ( I wonder, really. ) Would people say that they intersection was too dangerous, or that SUV's tend to roll over too easily? Or that the car owners should have secured the vehicle better? The street should have been better lit? I hope not, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Johnny shouldn't have been in a stolen car. He shouldn't have been driving. He should have had his lights on and when the police tried to stop him, he should have. He didn't. And something tragic happened. What we should say is that he made choices that were wrong, put him in danger and he died as a result. And we're heart-broken, sad, regretful and disappointed to the utmost that his life ended like this. We loved him and we miss him terribly.

But isn't it interesting that when we do something wrong, it's only when the law givers or law-enforcers show up that we talk of guilt? And we often blame them. I do that.

I tend to turn everything in to a mirror to look at myself in. Maybe I'm a little too self-absorbed? But I do see a moral tale here - and a clear reference to a greater, but parallel story.

If there is a God, and he's a righteous law-giver, there's something to this pattern. We break the laws and think it's (for the most part) pretty fun to do so until we're faced with the unpleasant point when we must own up to our behavior. We're guilty, the laws are good (and for our protection, really) and justice must be served. When the light shines on our wrongdoing and shameful acts, we'll either run from the light, or, if there's no other option - fight. Deflect the blame to someone else - or in a real act of twistery, accuse our accuser.

And what's both crazy and beautiful about Christianity - and utterly unique, is that it makes an audacious claim; The lawgiver and law-enforcer is also our rescuer. And we, who are about to be crushed under the results of our defiance, are offered an exchange; own up to our defiance, turn from it and have Him knock us out from under the car - saving our lives at the cost of His. Or let the results of our lawbreaking come down squarely on us.

What a crazy notion. Could such a thing be true?

Meanwhile, we're mourn for that local kid.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Black Smoke Monster Song

Hoping to find a more convenient name for Dead-Locke's new identity as the black smoke monster on LOST, some time ago I wrote (i.e. ripped off) a little tune and revised the lyrics. I propose we call the Locke-Monster "Puff" and here's his song...

Puff the Black Smoke Monster

lives by the sea

and tosses people - tears them up

On a show on ABC!

Puff the Black Smoke Monster

May be a Deity

Imprisoned on an island jail

that moves around the sea

Puff the Black Smoke Monster

He's longing to be free

And now that Jacob has been killed

(Big finish) Well, We'll just have to see!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Poetry Slam?

A friend and I have been having a little "poem war" through Facebook. We work with each other so we get to laugh and kid about it. But I've tried to up the ante - especially with my last little entry:

Children fear the thunder, but the power's in the bolt.
It's strength is not cacophony, but measured by the volt.
The little ones, pajama clad - it's thunder they're afraid of
to those distressed, let me divest;
Tis light that thunder's made of.

And so dear friend, let me contend
That rhyming is just thunder.
So let's do more, (though it's a chore)
and aim for works of wonder.
Lines erudite and full of might
in syntax rife with meaning;
these are the things our poems should bring
- like bolts of beauty gleaming.

We'll see if she'll take the challenge to go deeper.