A Designer of Systems

"I design systems that allow people to do their best work regularly and predictably,
instead of intermittently and by chance, and to produce outcomes in quantities
large enough to make a difference in their communities."

1

I say I'm a designer of systems, plans
Man's
Parts that stand together, set in place to serve
Trees and planets, too, which are unplanned by us
The observant, wise man
Tries to understand
Name the parts, pistil and stamen
Rocks, eskars
Elements.

Winter is shuddering to an end, mud roads
Cardinal pairs
Robin flocks return that will soon pair off
Buds
Soils swell
Will I live to smell it again, learn the lobelias
Understand and name the parts
It ought to be a great comfort to be so insignificant
Go among weeds, a wind
Thinking to myself

One's never alone
A dichotomous key is needed, a book of twigs and fruits
Accumulated over time and generations
Without it mine would be a blank mind

To be blank but knowledgeable
Without any machinery
In a perfect silence
That is the definition of death for which we have only to wait
But in my panic last night I thought death's inert
Grace requires consciousness
Hold on long to the senses
At least a century, maybe more
A boy hanging upside down from a fence at sunset, counting clouds

2

Now we go to our daily practice
And chosen disciplines
Sustained by the satisfactions of being good men among our fellow men
Women
Choosing to do this and not that
With the finite days allotted us that at first seemed like a lot
They're now few
But the chickadee's life to the chick and the cankerworm moth's to the worm
Seem as long to them as ours to us
What question am I asking today
By now, past half a century, I should have chosen a discipline
And been satisfied

To be a war president one must have war
May you live in interesting times–wish or curse?
Squirrels, high in oaks,
Fiber, fat and protein in acorns
Strong runners, leapers, climbers
Should stay off the roads which some cannot avoid being where they're born
Natural selection is occurring
Those that look for machinery in motion
Hesitate or don't as needed before crossing
Live in larger numbers than those whose modus operandi's
Guessing
The ravens eat the fur and guts of bad guesses off the roads

I impose my own small order
Having chosen mountains over plains or shore
Go to my daily discipline
And estimate the motions of the seas and stars
Measuring my satisfactions by my children's satisfactions


Copyright 2007 by Robert Ronnow.