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About Mark Peterson
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Bloggers PhotoI was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah where I attended school and obtained an undergraduate degree in earth science. My true love has been astronomy, and I was fortunate to secure the position of Planetarium Curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science within a year of graduation. I held this position for some fifteen years and then had an idea of converting the Museum's auditorium into an IMAX theater. Only a handful of such facilities existed anywhere in the world at that time. I opened the theater after some four years of fundraising and planning, and it performed exceedingly well. Unfortunately, I was then victimized by heavy metal, chiefly mercury, that entered my body via fillings in my teeth and the dissimilar metals of two crowns. This led to a near-total health collapse and the loss of my position with the Museum. Fortunately, the theater did well, and IMAX began referring prospective customers to me to assist. Thus, I trained myself as a consultant in this field. That I could work from home and largely set my own schedule allowed me to have adequate income over the next twenty-five years. Eventually, I also added theater design to my repertoire of services. IMAX's migration from museums to Hollywood, coupled with the economic downturn spelled doom for my practice, and I unwillingly entered retirement a couple of years ago. A joy I had had in earlier years was celestial cartography. I picked it up again and published two star maps. I'm now working on an Atlas of the Constellations--a reference level work that will take years to complete. I also enjoy sailing, ham radio and disk golf. Several years ago I placed third in the seniors division world championship for disk sports. Poetry now consumes a lot of my time. I have a lovely wife, Marci, who has just finished a historical novel about her grandparents, set in the 1909-1931 time frame. She's shopping for agents, hoping to obtain representation for "Oranges in December." We live peacefully near the waters of Puget Sound with two cats and our golden retrievers, Betsy and Belle.

Kill or be Killed

Blog Posted:6/28/2014 9:03:00 PM

I recently posted a poem entitled The Peace of Wild Things. Reactions to it have been diverse and diametrically interposed. To save time, I've copied it here.

The Peace of Wild Things

Alone and left to contemplate,
had I a pair of wings,
I’d fly away and search the world
for the peace of wild things.

To live among the animals
and sense their lack of guile
existing in the here and now,
each moment spent worthwhile. 

And free of life’s addictions,
material wealth and greed—
possessing very little,
in accordance with the need.

But should I ever so depart
it’s uncertain I’d return,
for I would have a lifetime’s worth
of so much to unlearn.

In plain language, the key points posited are:

  • Peacefulness that is often elusive in everyday human life is commonplace in the natural world. I envy the lives of my two golden retrievers.
  • Among the animals, the pervasive state of mind takes the form of what you see is what you get. There is never intent to mislead and subterfuge is held in abeyance. This is possible for humans, but there's no guarantee.
  • Such thoughts as might be appropriate are summoned in here and now fashion. This state is enjoyed by younger children as evidenced by their persistently timeless, playful mirth, yet often and thoroughly dispersed upon reaching young adulthood.
  • The lives of animals are characterized by immaterialism, yet this state of affairs is infrequently observed among ourselves. Mother Theresa comes to mind with her sparse wardrobe, simple sleeping pallet and daily living rooted in asceticism. Conversely, you may have noted the persistent emphasis to deprive you of whatever measure of wealth you might have attained.
  • The last stanza contemplates a return to the carefree state of youth from which the animals never depart. As with Shakespeare "'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished." Yet the endless trials of life have become so ingrained that I fear I could never unlearn them all.

Next my poetic friend, C.L. Thornton juxtaposes a contrary view of the absence of peace among wild things. His comment (always appreciated since they tend to exert pressure to wake up and accommodate reality) was:

"I have to bust everyone's bubble about nature's benign animal kingdom – it's anything but that – in fact, it's cruel out there! I agree with your third stanza, however, and only because animals are somewhat free from those human needs you mention. Your poem is well written of course and I appreciate it for that. I write poems on many animals in which I describe them as they really are in the wild. Not a place I'd like to be. C.L."

Of course, survival of the fittest and kill or be killed are endemic in the animal kingdom. Yet we humans experience misery and violence as well.

Thus, the question arises as to whether such poetic notions as I expressed in The Peace of Wild Things are hopelessly idealistic and saccarine. When does the beam slip off the fulcrum?

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  1. Date: 7/1/2014 6:01:00 AM
    I'm treating myself to three minutes of Soup... (long story).... and I'm glad I spent that time on your blog! Good poem, interesting discussion, great points (said by all.) Hmmm.... I think its the concept of peace, which as humans we do not see as acceptance of role or being fulfilled solely (soul-ly ;) ) by the gift of life, itself. I wonder if you'd have had the same reactions/discussions if you'd use "truth" instead of peace, or "zen" or .. hmm.... oh oh PATH... the PATH of wild things! Don't get me wrong, I like the poem as is.. and is idealism such an awful thing... ah, I was called idealistic here, once, by a friend. I stood on my soap box, agreed wholeheartedly. Join me? ;)

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    Peterson Avatar Mark Peterson Date: 7/1/2014 11:32:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    I'd also like to contrast male and female responses to this. Can you invite someone to join and offer?
    Peterson Avatar Mark Peterson Date: 7/1/2014 11:30:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Cyndi, your comments are intriguing. Yes, the whole poem can turn on a single word. I would have been content with the 'truth' of wild things. This maybe blends peace and violence.
  1. Date: 6/29/2014 5:39:00 PM
    Good points! Realistically, C.L. Thornton is correct. Very few wild animals die in their sleep surrounded by loved ones. Just watch any bird or squirrel's fearful behavior. However, taken metaphorically, I think your point is to seek a simpler life, using animals as the example. I once debated happiness in a philosophy class and came to the conclusion that it was better to be smart and unhappy than dumb and happy.

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    Peterson Avatar Mark Peterson Date: 7/1/2014 11:31:00 AM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    LOL, Roy. Nice pun.
    Jerden Avatar Roy Jerden Date: 6/29/2014 7:26:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    If it ends in a draw, it will be art.
    Peterson Avatar Mark Peterson Date: 6/29/2014 6:24:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Poetry for me is war— enemies unseen but real. Will lyrical rout empirical or reason surmount rhyme? Might it ever end in just a draw?
    Peterson Avatar Mark Peterson Date: 6/29/2014 6:18:00 PM Block poet from commenting on your poetry

    Interestingly put, Roy. The only debaate I remember from high school involved the merits of a Corvette Stingray vs. the E-type Jaguar. On topic, however, the oft-quoted statement that "Ignorance is bliss."

My Past Blog Posts

Kill or be Killed
Date Posted: 6/28/2014 9:03:00 PM
Dealing with Rejection
Date Posted: 2/20/2014 2:18:00 AM
Precious Friends
Date Posted: 2/7/2014 1:06:00 PM
The Secret Life of Poets
Date Posted: 2/6/2014 8:13:00 PM

My Recent Poems

Date PostedPoem TitleFormCategories
10/23/2014An Eternity of ThoughtFree versehope,
7/24/2014My Poetry GardenNarrativegarden,
6/10/2014The Peace of Wild ThingsQuatrainpeace,
4/27/2014Red MoonFree versemoon,
4/16/2014ApotheosisFree verseheaven,
3/15/2014MasterpieceFree versepoetry,
3/10/2014Piteous the LegionBlank versepoverty,
3/3/2014The Social Implications of Special RelativityQuatrainhumor,
2/14/2014Looking DownQuatrainpoverty,
1/8/2014Diamond in the SkySonnetstar,
12/30/2013A Tree on Winter's NightConcretetree,
12/22/2013A Poet's Constanza Lament for the NightRhymenight,
12/16/2013The Mystery Bay StoreQuatrainhumorous,
12/12/2013A Broken HeartProsesad,sorrow,
12/8/2013Soul of the PoetQuatrainfarewell,poems,poetess,
11/27/2013Terse VerseEpigramhumorous,
11/25/2013World PeaceQuatrainhumorous,peace,
11/22/2013Farewell to the VampireQuatraindark,horror,humorous,
11/15/2013Gibbous Moon in Rhyme and Free VerseQuatrainbirth,death,moon,night,
11/14/2013LabyrinthFree verseintrospection,
11/8/2013Pen in HandQuatrainage,beach,feelings,how i
11/2/2013Dying with RegretProsedeath,
11/2/2013Come Sit by My SideTail-rhymefor her,marriage,moving o
10/31/2013Barred OwlFree versebird,nature,
10/29/2013Wonder and DismayQuatrainfeelings,how i feel,intro
10/29/2013No WordsProsebeauty,creation,emotions,
10/28/2013SuperiorityFree verseirony,space,
10/26/2013Sensing the DivineProsecreation,dream,god,space,
10/26/2013Comes Then a DayCoupletjudgement,
10/25/2013Part of Me is LostProsememory,missing,
10/24/2013Early SpringProseeve,night,spring,
10/24/2013That Which LastsFree versetrust,
10/24/2013A WishFree versehope,
10/24/2013Fade to BlackFree verseage,dark,depression,feeli

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Fav Poems

Poem TitleFormCategories
IN THE MOODLight Poetryadventure,woman,
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POETIC COMPARISONSFree verselife,poetry,society,
Somber Is the Color of The DayFree verseday,light,me,winter,words
Kiss of the EagleRhymeadventure,space,travel,
Empyreal EpiphanyQuatrainnature,night,stars,
The Conceit of PoetryCoupletphilosophy,
A Little Less LaughterRhymedeath,sad,

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