Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Poem to Mr. Geissler - by Ronald Rabenold

Thank you to all who responded to my questions I posed by email about Mr. Geissler, the German peddler who died June 1st, 1858 in the Weigh Lock of the Lehigh Canal (See post from May 26th).

Responses ranged from wonder to sympathy to creative images of the life of this man.  One included some transcendental reincarnation. 

Somehow, my thoughts returned to the exuberance of life versus the pitfalls of pride and life's journey of finding the edge between. 

Beth, Cris, and Cait, thanks for your indulgences. 
You certainly have the exuberance thing down pat! 

The Mummers show it.
They exude it. They have it,
They encourage it,
The demonstration is there.
Watch the Second Line sometime.
There are spools of it there.

Joshua’s men were lead down from the open sash
With the Scarlet Rope.
Though they themselves used it,
Thereafter they admonished it.

Scarlet Rope.
Had it been another color, my guess
Would be it would still come down as

I think the singer truly had talent.
I overheard the man give it in his own feelings.
The next time will be different,
But it always comes back in the same way.

It is true, there are horses of many colors.
I have seen working show horses
And show horses that really work.

I can see up from his grave.
The unknown peddler who died in the
Coal-sooted water.

I see the faces looking down
As dirt flings through six feet of air.
The lesson is written on their faces,
Held in that unknown grave.

Walking over it,
We can see the empty chamber.
The lock that weighed, where no living water
Now dare pass.

All fall prey to it.
The pieces of the pit
Broken, pitted and carried.

And still we dance,
Dancing along its edge.


  1. many stories that spur the imagination...real American history...thanks!

  2. Wonderful mr. rabenold. This is beyond history. This is the timeless stuff: The next time will be different,
    But it always comes back in the same way.

    my new fav. lines.