Dreams of the Future, Ghosts of the Past

Monday Morning Musings:

“bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. . . .I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. so good night! I will dream on, always fancying that mrs Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries.”

–“To John Adams from Thomas Jefferson, 1 August 1816,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017,

 

 

A porcelain ghost looked long

and laughed delicious poetry,

remember this

she said,

or it is over

 

And so, we remember over and over

forgetting what we knew

embracing new ideas,

loving them each time as original and unique

and they are

every time

dreams of the future, history of the past

 

We walk cobblestone streets and brick drives

chasing ghosts

followed by shadows

whispering glorious words

“We the people”

history of the past

IMG_6006

Janet Givens and her husband, the past, present, and future all around them.

 

But under a dying star

a naked fool celebrates

his courtiers cheer

his nonexistent suit of clothes

as darkness falls

he eats a second scoop of ice cream

 

Still, we remember

sometimes forgetting to remember

until we remember again

We the People

history of the past and dreams of the future

 

On a day in May

that feels like July

perhaps like the summer of 1787

when a group of men

(white men, only men)

made compromises  and wrote We the People

but on this day,

a day in their future,

we walk with friends to see and read about the past

to hear and read the lofty words

of men who had lived and fought a revolution

and though they themselves were flawed

still their words glow

and grow

from the past, through the present, and into the future

visions they had and hopes

dreams that have been realized

and worlds they could not imagine

dreams of things that are yet to be

 

I gaze at the beautiful handwriting

of educated people

who read and valued learning

and think of misspelled Twitter rants.

We’ve forgotten

and it’s time to remember

dreams of the future, history of the past

 

We’ve added and clarified

giving freedom to people who were enslaved

giving rights to women

IMG_6016

 

ruling on free speech, freedom of religion, individual rights versus the state

fighting a civil war

(yes it was about slavery)

prohibiting the manufacturing of and sale of alcohol

and then making it legal again–

after so many lost jobs and the government lost revenue–

and there was more crime

let’s face it

We the People like to drink

from the past of George Washington’s distillery

to the future of new breweries, vineyards, and manufacturers,

the dreams of We the People

 

 

NCCLineupPhoto

This history swirls about us

all the time

because of a revolution

and a convention

a document that still lives

expanding like our nation

built on a strong foundation

like the building

we see as we sit outside on that warm day

IMG_6008

but life is not complete without some treats

(We the People like our sweets)

our nation built on bitter and sweet

dreams of the future, history of past

 

 

Two men, Adams and Jefferson

one, a Massachusetts man against slavery

(though not exactly an abolitionist)

the other, a Virginia plantation owner and slaveholder

dissimilar in so many ways from appearance to beliefs

but both admiring each other

both enjoyed the wit and education of some women

while disregarding them as citizens

with their own rights

and bodies

(I’m looking at you, T.J. Sex with a slave is coerced.)

their friendship suspended after the Election of 1800,

but later renewed,

bridged, despite their differences

liked a structure spanning the gulf between two disparate lands

like the bridge we need now

for We the People

as we dream of the future

and remember the past

and hope that it is not over

IMG_6013

Leaving Philadelphia, heading to New Jersey over the Ben Franklin Bridge

 

For those unfamiliar with it, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins with the words, “We the People.” You can read more about it here.

My friend, Janet Givens, was in Philadelphia with her husband to celebrate an event. I will leave her to talk about it, as I’m certain she will in an upcoming post. We visited the National Constitution Center , ate a delicious lunch at Farmicia restaurant, and stopped at Shane’s Confectionery, which has been a candy store on that site since 1863.

 

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19 thoughts on “Dreams of the Future, Ghosts of the Past

  1. It’s good to remember that even those we admire are/were not perfect. Because we are privy to so much information today, we make demands on people that no one can meet.
    On the other hand, for those with no redeeming qualities or sense of the history they are making, I have nothing but contempt (you know who I’m talking about I’m sure). (K)

    • Thanks, Kerfe. Yes, indeed I know who you mean. I agree!
      And the other part is, “the Founders,” the wars, the governments, throughout history are only part of the story.

      • So true. Perspective is necessary. One big problem with Congress is that they are totally focused on the here and now. The past and future might as well not exist.

  2. “…laughed delicious poetry.” How wonderful! Yes, We the People like our sweets and our alcohol and for some of us, knowing our history. Sounds like a great outing, Merril, and I thoroughly enjoyed the photo of you in the line-up. Well done. 🙂

  3. I like how you “called out” T. Jefferson~ coercion! It doesn’t make us any better than the kings of long ago who took advantage of their cooks and maids. We came here to be free and be better! We are still, unfortunately, a “work in progress!”
    The picture of you and Janet shows good friends who are warm and caring towards others. You look great in that royal blue, Merril.

    • Jefferson needed to be called out, but unfortunately he was not unusual.
      Janet and I don’t really know each other that well. I and some other blogger friends stayed with her in Chincoteague last year. It was good to see her again and to meet her husband.
      I had to look back to see what I was wearing. 🙂 Thank you, Robin!

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