Robin Williams, July 21, 1951 — Aug. 11, 2014

Peace, Robin Williams.
Heartbreaking that the laughter
Could not still your pain

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Ad astra haiku

Kansas admitted to the Union, Jan. 29, 1861

Eighteen-sixty-one
Midwifed by prairie turmoil
Kansas was born free

Two-thousand fourteen
Still free, precariously,
The state of my heart

Beauty, ugliness
Across this crazy-quilt land
A most human place

Harsh state for cities:
KCK and Wichita,
Topeka — tough towns

Johnson County sprawl
Insatiable concrete maw
Cul-de-sacs, strip malls

Small farm towns, small farms
Struggle gamely to survive
Agribusiness scythe

Lawrence, Manhattan
Now you’re talking — we know how
To do college towns

And the hills and plains
Providence made them perfect
Glorious to view

Some “leaders” right now?
Hard-hearted “Christians” astray
Jesus, let us pray

Yes, we Kansans make
Our share of awful mistakes
In fear, ignorance

But we also work
For each other’s good and share
Our food with the world

So don’t take our worst
To be our best as we find
Our way through dark times

Through difficulties,
One hundred fifty-three years
We’ve looked to the stars

“A little knowledge is a fabulous thing” haiku

Maria Mitchell, Aug. 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889
Today’s Google Doodle

‘Twas astronomer
From Nantucket, famous but
Not in limerick

Maria Mitchell
Helped her dad compute eclipse
When she was just 12

Learned astronomy
At father’s elbow, other
Celestial joints

Quaker upbringing
Valued girls’ education
Equally with boys’

Thank heavens for that
Young Maria loved to learn
And she never stopped

First librarian
Nantucket Atheneum
Served for 18 years

At night she drank in
All the magic of the stars
Science, with passion

Discovered comet
Gave her international
Credibility

Once wrote she enjoyed
“Acting the part of greatness”
— But just for three days

New Vassar College
Made her its first astro prof
And students loved her

2,000-mile trip
To Colorado let them
See eclipse first hand

Learned she wasn’t paid
As much as men, demanded
A raise — and got it

She opposed slavery,
Pushed for women’s right to vote
And equality

Left Quakerism
Enjoyed Unitarians’
Thirsty quest for truth

She found truth, beauty
In colors of God’s heavens
“Dyestuffs from the stars”

Sunspots, nebulae,
Moons of Saturn, Jupiter,
Solar eclipses

Google her, you’ll see
She never tired of wonders
Astronomical

Today she lives on
Foundation in Nantucket
Keeps her legacy

Observatories,
Aquarium, science hall
And they’re building more

She knew — we’re stardust
And her scientist’s soul still
Sparkles among us

Sandy Hook haiku

1 insane person
And too many God damned guns
We’ve seen this before

20 empty desks
40 empty little shoes
Countless empty laps

20 empty beds
20 holes in the night sky
With light leaking through

20 small coffins
20 headstones each weighing
As much as the world

And 8 large coffins
6 holding brave protectors
Can we be as brave?

Complicated, yes,
But clear: Unless we’re as brave
We’ll see this again