Poetry & Personal

Poetry & Personal


Empathy: The Wellspring of Goodness

empathy August 17th, 2019

What do we think when we pass a homeless person begging for money? Do you judge and ignore, or does their situation sink in as you are on your way to a meeting or a museum?

How do we feel when a person of another race is a victim of a hate crime, or killed by a police officer for unjustifiable reasons – and does it sink in if you’re white?

What is the meaning of a woman being discriminated against trying to get a job, or raped as she serves in the military, and does it sink in if you’re a man?

Empathy is one of humanity’s highest aspirations. Truly, it is the fount of kinship; it is the better part of our mottled souls; it is the mother of kindness; it is the foundry of care; it is the wellspring of goodness; it is the origin of forgiveness.

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Virtue and Character: Coping with Aging

coping with aging June 7th, 2019

Rush is one of the best bands out there not only for instrumentation, virtuosity, and precision, but also lyrics. Amazingly, the lyrics below are a song written by Neil Peart. It’s a haunting piece about aging, success, confidence, sadness, desperation, and suicide. It’s absolutely remarkable. In the end, I have a link to watch it being performed live. For anyone who tries to reach the pinnacle of performance and the zenith of success, you will no doubt resonate with this melancholy song. Alas, death comes for us all, and as soon as we are born we start dying. For some it reaches the point of absurdity and extreme existential angst. I will add a few quotations for your consideration about life, pain, aging, illness, overcoming, meaning, existentailism, hope, and optimism in the end.

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Confidence & Creativity: Commonwealth Cafe

confidence June 5th, 2019

I met a remarkable guy in 2007. He was an entrepreneur, a risk-taker, and a leader. His sense of humor, his dedication to build something wonderful led to us building and running a wonderful diner, named Commonwealth Cafe. Those days of working extremely hard, reaching to come up with the right plan, and having a lot of fun are treasured by me now, though there is also a deep pain. The licks I took on the project and the skills I learned have paid dividends in subsequent years. It isn’t easy to suffer a major loss, but there was so much merit to the Cafe while it was being built, promoted, and run. It was a really soulful and special place. Leighton Hollingsworth will always have a special place in my heart. We both created a bit of heaven on earth, and went to hell and back.

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Songs I’m Thinking About Today

March 16th, 2019

Two deep and inspiring songs that struck me today are the following. Van Halen’s “Dreams” and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. Let these masterpieces sink in…

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Old-School Honor and Integrity

honor and integrity March 14th, 2019

I have incredible respect for “old-school” honor and integrity. I fear that it is either American decadence or simply a low point we are experiencing since 2000 that accounts for why people feel that their word doesn’t mean much, that they needn’t put in the effort required to be a person of high character and live a life that is totally in integrity. This is my lamentation lately! I am really let down today, emotionally. Am I being too hard on everyone I have ever met, or are honor and integrity too much to expect from people? 

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Loyalty, Friendship, and Civic Virtue

loyalty March 7th, 2019

Those of you who know anything about my writings or political belief system might find the following surprising: Donald Trump and I share at least one value in common. Is it greed? Immorality? Do we both value self-aggrandizement at the expense of the community/country? No – at least, I hope not! Click through to find out which one I am referring to, and why.

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Why I Am So Into Values, Wisdom and Ethics

values, wisdom and ethics August 28th, 2018

Back around 2003, I began to try to take my love of quotations (those that represent values, wisdom and ethics) and create a way of organizing, sharing, and touting them. I had a stack of quotations sitting in a folder (an actual foldable folder, for paper) and couldn’t find the one I was looking for (it was a quote about honor). I began to type them into a Word document, and the rest is history! This blog is about what Values of the Wise means, how it came about, and what it is good for. I hope by the end, you will see (and hopefully appreciate) my love of values, wisdom and ethics.

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“Running on Empty” Strikes Deep Into Me

August 21st, 2018

I was mowing just now. It’s not an easy task – mowing in humid South Carolina. A song randomly came on my music player: “Running on Empty“, the classic and trenchant song by Jackson Browne. I began to cry as it struck deeply into me. It’s a haunting and prescient piece. It’s intriguing, incisive, introspective.

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Memories of My Father Evoke Mixed Feelings

memories of my father August 13th, 2018

In this blog, I share a few recollections, memories, conclusions, and facts about my father, Morton Merchey, who died about a year ago. I have been thinking about my dad while reading a biography by David Richman, in which his father’s death is recounted in evocative ways. I tend to go through life only occasionally reflecting on all that my father purposefully and unwittingly taught me, but today I will dig in and see what personal growth might come of doing so.

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Meaning: Reflecting on a Friendship I Miss

meaning August 8th, 2018

Have you ever heard the rock song “People Who Died” by The Jim Carroll Band? I was in the mood today to listen to that and miss, mourn, and lament the people I’ve known who have died. We all have folks and pets who brought a lot of meaning and joy to our lives. Mine are my dad, John Alexander Marshall, J.J., my grandmother Esther, and Gil Haimson. Let me tell you about Johnny “Ringo” Marshall, as I called him.

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