Gandhi, Hitler, a Book, & Dog/God by da-AL plus Cheryl Batavia’s poem

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — supposedly Mahatma Gandhi said that. (Isn’t this picture of him great? He’s drafting a document at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. My novel-writer side can’t help but wonder if he knew that writing longhand enhances creativity — and I bet intelligence!) First off, he didn’t….

Gandhi drafting a document at Birla House, Mumbai, August 1942. By Kanu Gandhi – gandhiserve.org, Public Domain.

Second off, if anyone said it, is it true? I love animals and have followed a vegetarian diet for years. All the same, I’m definitely nowhere near a saint, particularly given my now-and-again deviations into the hypocracy of eating fish. My father was wicked to his family, yet tears rolled down his cheeks when he heard that local geese were slaughtered. Hitler and was a vegetarian for the last part of his life. And he adored his dog…

View original post 974 more words

The $5 Challenge

Photo by Joseph Greve from Unsplash

The $5 Challenge

I heard the stories as a child…

of Dad skipping school and running wild,

breaking the ice to go for a swim.

Skunky smell emanating from him…

sent home or banished to the hall.

Given his grades for playing basketball.

Joined the Navy by lying about his age,

used the GI Bill to go to college.

Photo by NeONBRAND from Unsplash

Dad wasn’t much help with study skills,

but he gave me an incentive of a five-dollar bill

for earning straight “A”s…a perfect report card.

In my sophomore year, I tried really hard!

Photo by Hello, I’m Nik from Unsplash

By dropping my hated typing class,

I thought I could get all “A”s at last!

But the honor roll with a “B” or two

just seemed to be the best I could do.

The quest became a pain in the neck,

and to this day, I still hunt and peck.

The next two years, until graduation,

I focused on directing my own education.

I abandoned chasing grades…No “busy work” for me!

There were books to be read as far as the eye could see!

Photo by Jonathan Simcoe from Unsplash

After that, I took art class seriously

and sketched my teacher in trigonometry.

Like my father before me, banished to the hall,

I read a book and didn’t mind at all.

I was multitasking in trigonometry…

Figuring that out, my teacher tolerated me!

Moved to the back of the room, not banished to the hall…

I sat drawing, learning, and having a ball!

Mt. Rushmore, Photo by Brandon Mowinkel from Unsplash

My history teacher was a boring jock!

Outline the chapter?…I think he was in shock

that my outline was heads and subheads. My grades slid,

but I got an education despite the rude things I did.

No “busy work,” copying sentences in grammar!

Zeros hurt my grades, but it didn’t matter…

I scored high on tests, so my grades were okay.

No offense, teachers…Just trying to find my way!

Photo by Anna1991anna from Unsplash

Married at eighteen, then job and family.

Night school part-time at twenty-six…I was ready!

At the beginning of each quarter, I always asked,

“What do I have to do to get an ‘A’ in your class?”

After all the drama, I finally had my four-point-oh…

Dad’s offer had expired…five dollars was a “no show!”

At forty, I graduated and consecutively

started teaching and earning my masters degree.

Elementary Classroom, Photo courtesy of CDC from Unsplash

Like my father before me, I say, “Don’t do as I do!”

Educating yourself is essential, but grades are important too!

Dad went back to school after I was grown.

He earned five doctorates…Who could have known?


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


Word to the Wise

If you are a student, please don’t do as I did! Or as my father did, either! Find the balance between earning good grades and educating yourself about the things you want to know. Take it from someone who learned the hard way…Grades and following your interests are both important!

Remember to be kind to your teachers. Karma may get you if you are rude to them! As a teacher in inner city schools, I got back a little bit of what was coming to me. So, if you are ever tempted to give your teachers a hard time, remember my advice, and don’t go there!

The Joke & the Divine

Photo by Nikola Knezevic from Unsplash

The Joke & the Divine

Young Mary told a naughty joke…

The Reverend heard her as she spoke.

In stern rebuke, he raised his hand,

with eloquence gave reprimand,

and when that great Divine had done,

he walked away and stood alone…

He thought upon her clever wit,

and, quite unholy, laughed a bit.

He bowed his head in bitter shame…

and then, poor man, he laughed again!


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


This poem was written when I was in high school, about 1966. I remembered it when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. I am not sure whether my father, who was a minister, was pleased when I teased him by writing this poem. However, he may well have laughed about it when I was not around! He did have a sense of humor.

Great Discoveries of Love

Jupiter and Saturn Conjunction, Photo by Hikarinoshita Hikari from Unsplash

Great Discoveries of Love

Like Galileo looking at stars and planets

through his telescope,

I see the light in your eyes.

Just as dinosaur bones are found

buried in rock strata,

we discover a love as old as time.

Dinosaur skeleton, Photo by Adam Mathieu from Unsplash

Like Gregor Mendel’s

cross-pollinated peas,

our love is expressed in varied colors.

Just as Leeuwenhoek found the miracle

of microscopic life in pond water,

we find life’s wonders in ordinary things.

Photo of Earth from Space, Courtesy of The National Library Association from Unsplash

As cosmonaut Valentina Tereskova

explored outer space,

we explore the inner spaces of our minds.

Like the “forty-niners”

mining for gold in California,

I find my treasures in your heart.

Mathamas Gandhi Leads a March, 1930, Photo by WikiImages from Pixabay

As Gandhi changed the world

through nonviolent means,

we live in peace.

Nurse giving an injection, Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control from Unsplash

As Florence Nightingale

made hospitals survivable,

we take care of each other.

Oil from wells in Titusville

brought new energy to the world,

Likewise, you energize me.

Divers, Photo by Eduardo Nascimento from Unsplash

Like Jaques Cousteau,

diving deep into the oceans,

we explore the depths of feeling.

View of Mount Everest, Namche, Nepal, Photo by Ananya Bilimale from Unsplash

As Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition

climbed to the peak of Everest,

we climb the heights of inspiration.

The Lost City of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy, Photo by Denise Jones from Unsplash

Even as Pompeii

was buried by Vesuvius,

we will soon be buried.

I hope, when we are discovered

under the ash and hardened lava,

I will still be holding your hand.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

What a Strange Creature is Man!

HOT & COLD, Poured acrylic painting by Cheryl Batavia

Detail of statue of a satyr, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

What a Strange Creature is Man!

A satyr rescued a freezing man and took him to his cave. The man began to blow on his fingers. The satyr inquired why the man was blowing on his fingers. “My hands are cold and I want to warm them up,” said the man.

The satyr prepared the man a bowl of steaming soup, and was surprised when the man began to blow on the soup. “Why are you blowing on the soup? “asked the satyr. “I am trying to cool the soup,” the man replied.

“What a strange creature is man!” the satyr remarked. “He blows hot and cold with the same breath!”

Satyr statue, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

Retelling of an ancient Greek/ Roman myth. A satyr is a drunken, lustful woodland god with the lower body of a horse or goat and the upper body of a man. I read this myth in Illustrated Classics when I was about eight or nine years old. I have always remembered this story and gradually came to understand the meaning as I grew older.

What does the saying, “What a strange creature is man! He blows hot and cold with the same breath.” mean to you?

Blue Light (Follow-up post at the end of the page)

Photo by David Travis from Unsplash

Blue Light

There was an old blogger on WordPress

whose computer time was endless!

When her eyes were exposed to blue light…

she suffered from blurry eyesight.

Computer glasses relieved her distress.


Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia


After experiencing eye discomfort and blurry vision, I went for an eye exam. I will have a slightly updated prescription and the new glasses will have a specialized reflective coating that shields my eyes from excessive blue light.

My eye doctor told me that the blue light emitted by computer screens and other devices with screens can be a cause of eye problems, including macular degeneration, which can eventually cause blindness.

There are several options to protect eyes from blue light. If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, you may want to check with your optometrist. If you already use eye protection from blue light, feel free to comment about it. I’ll let you know how my experience goes.


Follow-up: After 10 days of wearing my new glasses that filter the blue light emitted by screens, I have not had another major episode of blurry vision. After some twelve-hour days on the computer, I did notice slight blurriness.

My eyes are definitely better with the new glasses than they were before. I am also using eye drops from the optometrist for dry eyes, trying to drink more water to keep from becoming dehydrated, and keeping room air humidified. I know I should cut my screen time further, and maybe more frequent breaks would help.

I have been noticing a return to my normal sleep patterns–seven hours of uninterrupted sleep most nights. Again, I know I should be getting off the computer a while before trying to sleep, because blue light can cause insomnia. I think the glasses are helpful in preventing insomnia caused by blue light.

Good luck to anyone who is having vision problems due to longer computer time. I appreciate all the helpful comments about this subject, and I hope this post has been helpful.