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Switch Off

I couldn't switch on the news today.
I knew the world would still be groaning
with fighting in Ukraine,
deaths in Gaza, ebola in Africa
and mayhem in Iraq.

What was the point of watching it all again?
Haven't we got enough problems of our own?

But tomorrow I expect I'll turn it on once more,
enthralled by exploding bombs, dying patients,
troop movements, obscure strategies,
and the hunger and thirst of desperate refugees.

How can I ignore all that?

To switch off I turn to Facebook,
drawn in by trivial snippets
from the lives of a hundred individuals,
most of whom I hardly know.

But that's not really enough, is it?
Any advice would be welcome.

Editing stage: 


let me say a belated welcome. I've been missing for a while.
Next, free form is not my favorite form so I have little to offer in the way of suggestions. However, I did appreciate the use of a clean metric form. So often freeformers (is that a word?) feel that "anything goes" means writing in a choppy, non metrical style. This flowed comfortably.
I also agree with the sentiment. Watching the Ebola scare actually has me nervous. I don't need that. Maybe I'm a cynic at heart. I'd rather focus on my immediate environment.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

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as you put it, is an enviable one. I have a caring wife, three great children and two lovely grandchildren, some good friends, a nice home and a pleasant job, but instead of focusing on them I find myself being constantly distracted by the world's problems, most of which I can do nothing about. I think I posted this poem to find out if anyone else has had a similar experience and might be able to give me some advice on how to improve things. I used free form because when I write about this kind of subject I am so much more interested in content than in shape, but I'm glad you think it flowed suitably. I aim to achieve a conversational rhythm, at least. Many thanks for your comment.
Best wishes,

author comment

You must prioritise your thinking, and the number one to look after is "you" now that may sound elfish, but think on it if you are not cared for all the others in your family will suffer.
Next are those that are your family, in their order, Wife then Children.
Your work obviously is of great importance so that is there as you fend for your Wife, Children and honour your parents they brought you to where you are and the man that you are .
Your extended family is next where they can receive, if you have more left to give.
Now we come to all the world and it will be easier if you start where you are, and stretch out to all around you, your village, town, city, area, then just unfold your thoughts outward always do everything with understanding and unconditional love.
Then you may reach for the stars, but just use your mind to do this and send out the love always.
Once you have done this, then take another look at you there inside, you will find it can hold the stars in its ways, it will shine as a star..
Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

though I find it hard to put into practice because I am so obsessed with the bigger picture, namely global problems of all kinds. Perhaps my family has fallen into second place because they can all get along without me now, as they had to learn to do while I was mentally ill for many years, so I just observe their lives and enjoy their successes, but without participating much any more. Anyway, I'll try to bring my concerns closer to home, as you suggest. Thanks for your comment.
Best wishes,

author comment

As you draw nearer to your family you will find that peace you so crave, then all the world can be observed, with your thoughts intact, this is a short piece that I wrote when I was 15:-

Nowhere does the sun feel so good
Nowhere does the wind blow so gentle
As in the heart of a peaceful man.
I have not strayed from that path for the past 57 years which I feel is a good thing, but I have had lots of help on the way, and it has been a lovely journey, Yours Ian.T

There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

for your encouraging comment and poem. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find that inner peace at present, given all that is happening in the world.
Best wishes,

author comment

half the time they were there for the cheap booze and women.
debauchery and death..they got caught up in fighting..
"all quiet on the wester front" that saint fellow in his airplane..xuley?/

make you stop worrying is when something goes wrong
intimately and to get ebola from helping others in those
countries..they know its there..they get all their shots..those people
but you can still contract things..

interests are to be interesting
national geoprapic mags i devoured with words its pics..
now they have a television show oing over the new
grounds..the internal of man
via prisons gangs drugs...

very rarely do i see a documentary about tree planting
or solar powered crews
big brother and that sort of "reality" tv..

i watch the news to see what the politicians
are up to and a few religious programs
and when i need to get away
from the entitlement society
here and elswhere
i go for a walk about in the bush
best thing going..
the greatest teacher

that and the coffee shops for philisophical
discussions on politics sports..god
taxes and death...
and the odd rebellious thoughts...

and reading..i include neopoet
in this..
makes one well rounded

thank you!

although there is no real refrence to the idea of a switch...
kind of a spoiler alert...thank you for this thoughtful poem
about our modern moment in the now.

Although I'm not sure if I fully understand the first one, both your comments made me think. Your idea of going for a walk in the bush is probably very suitable for me, as I have always enjoyed being in contact with the natural world and it seems to have a soothing effect. The idea of joining in some kind of coffee shop discussions also sounds positive, although as an emigrant I may lack the right sort of friendships to achieve that, as most of the expats I know are more into boozing and talking about women than into analysing global problems. Anyway I suppose your general message is that I should try to broaden my horizons a bit instead of worrying about what's on the news each day, and I'm sure that's good advice.
Best wishes,

author comment

calamity observed is different then getting right in there..
car crash...upside down car..small fire in engine.looks horrible..
steam rising..the big arc..huge long arc on pavement..
morning...only three cars...four people standing one moving.
so i ordered people what to you..go check out whose inside.
see if anyones and me..grab handfuls of sand to get
that fire out in case someones trapped in this...two people scrambled
down the shoulder..the car was wedged bonnet to boot on the rock cut
and the shoulder..a deep ditch where the rooftop was amazingly intact.
we poured sand on the fire to smother it....only an oil leak not a fuel...
but still..once it gets going theres no turning back..
we were on the way to work...i didnt want a memory of people like this..
fire out..we checked out the occupants who amazingly were not badly
injured.....broken bones....heads spine gashes....we got them
out of the case of any kind of wire short.....just another day on
the job for fire crews whom talked some of the things they needed too..
and ambulance drivers i used to sit with.....war people who did not talk
about their experiences and old vets and people talk the
worldy stuff..along with keeping an eye on the problem there..

just strip away everything you care about in some cases and use what
you have at hand you can carry....hide law low or be out front on rooftops
throwing firebombs like the hungarian people i knew.....ive got enough
true war stories to last me a lifetime....but war will never cease..
calamity will only grow.....we just live....
adapt....i grew up native in the white village mostly....racism..superior
attitudes by people judge to be "white trash" this is a slang..
and church foundations which were good...believing in nothing
just will have kept me in rationalizing all my actions which were good
and evil just like a lot of be a good person is an amazing
thing.........but i dont shy from being human..or weird...i embrace it..
the news makes me feel normal......and nature tells me how hard life
would really be if we had to just go live there.......its essential..its like
a default..and in the learn how to live too when you are on
the bottom basic dont confront people schmooze..

must go..have to do housework for my woman....its peaceful tool
thank you for the comment and repoires...

mr esker

description of an accident and people's reactions to it, which I suppose contrasts starkly to my much more distant perceptions of disasters on television. At least you were able to do things to help in this case, whereas I tend to feel totally helpless when confronted with much bigger problems. If I had enough cash I could give to NGOs, but I'm afraid that is not the case, or at least I can only afford to give to one.
Best wishes,

author comment

to separate the calamitous world news from a personal life view, which can be disastrous thinking for someone who suffers from depression.

The best I can to do is to try to converse face-to-face with people in real life, who though mostly ignorant and stupid, do manage to focus on the simple beauty of things and that the vast majority of people, even if they believe in god or other superstitions, even if their politics are moronic and conservative, are by far the most part kind and caring.

Also by focussing on the beauty of nature and art.

There is the advice asked for.

Poetically, again your seemingly ingenuous, prose like verse disarms your reader and allows deeper cognition and appreciation.

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