A Share of Writing: Progress and the Stump

By Kerwin Holmes, Jr.


I have been very busy the last couple of months.  Very busy.  As you may glean from what I write and the very few times that I mention my personal life right now, I do a lot outside of the net.  In fact, I do most of what I do outside of the net.  My job is not directly related to the internet, and neither is my specialty of academic study.

But I do still write, whether or not it is a paper, a social media post, or a blog post article.  I am going to share here one of the stories that I wrote in the past for the purpose of allegory.  It is one of many from my own private collection, coming from my own mind as I look out into the world with my worldview in mind.  Nothing has been added to it.  I hope that you enjoy it, but I hope that you learn from it and apply it to your relationships and the way that you validate your own worldview.  It was originally written on September 26, 2015.

[Note: This work jumps around a lot.  That actually was by design.  It draws you into the world of progress.  Enjoy, but learn.]



Progress meandered through the velvet hallways of the cemetery

He passed through the sunny tunnels in the mountains

And the cramped open plains of the country

He looked down and saw the sky, and looked up

And saw a reflection of himself in a pool of mud

All was well with progressive Progress.


But along comes mischief, that blind derelict, yes

That one that runs, and when Progress turns to catch

It running it flies like a raven, and when

Progress pulls to shoot it down it stalks like a tiger

And when Progress lays traps it stings like a mosquito

And when Progress moves to slap himself it stands before


Surely all was merry in the world, what went wrong

To all for mischief to arise?  For up was down, and

Down was up, war was ended for the troops

Had gone home from battle.

“But did the battle stop?” whispered mischief.

Round, furiously, turns Progress to not a thing but floating

Mountains in the sky, lost of their foundations

“Lost of their foundations.”

Up cranes the neck of Progress, for he cannot see where

Mischief may be.   But he cannot see, he must check

His corners.  But wait, did he look up or down, right or…

“Did you look right?”  Progress whirled about

You mean left, right?

Down the road of intolerance trod Progress,

For the paved wood and smooth gravel of that

Road is all that he could tolerate,

Yes, he did get one thing right for sure, at least!

He is alive!  Ahah!  Mischief knows better.

“But are you living?” spoke a being beside the road.

Progress stunned, it spoke with mischief’s voice,

But mischief it was not.


“So there,” said Progress pointing at his self-ascribed

manual on how to tell the living from the dead.  “See here,”

He pointed at his technology on his wrist, “my

heart is racing at 120 bpm.  I am very alive.”

“Very,” said the being on the stump.  “What is


“Why,” says Progress.  “It is only language.  It has

the meaning I want for it to have.”

“Oh, then why use them for me?” cried the being.

“Well I–”

“Stop!  Answer the question.”

“I am, I–”

“Stop!  Understand the question!”

“Let me repeat it, you said–”

“Oh, never mind,” the being angrily roared and cleverly

smiled.  Funny, Progress noted that it sat on a

tree stump, right-side up.

“Are you sitting right-side up?”  Progress asked out of habit.

“Oh, you are still talking?” peered the being from one

open eye, arms folded.   “Fine then, what if I am?”

“Then it is your business,” Progress stated.   A mountain

passed overhead and for a moment light shone

down marvelously, but it didn’t light anything.

As insignificant an intrusion it was, for it had no

tangible effect, it did cause a pause in the conversation

for a moment.

“If it is my business, then why did you ask?” the

being rejoined.

“Well, just curiosity.”  Progress stated.

“Meddling.  Invasive.  Controlling.  Judging!” cried the being

on the tree stump.

“Never!” cried Progress.  “No, no, no, if I at all

asked it is my business and not yours!”

“Define business,” the being leaned forward with

inquiry on its expression.

“Why, why, it’s…” started but trailed off Progress.

“Come on then,” prodded the being on the tree stump in


“I have not decided yet.”

“Aha!  You probably do not even know what verisimilitude is!”

jested the being in triumphant cry.

“No, I do!  For I have here a reference book…here…

I have it!”

“In what language?” asked the being.

“Any language!”

“Verisimilitude is in English.”

“But there are translations.”

“So you are telling me that verisimilitude is a word

extant in all world languages?”

“Well…no…there are some without it.”

The being folded its arms once again triumphantly.

Progress glanced about, he was on the right trail.

“But,” he cried in haughtiness from shame but not

truth…but the shame came from the truth

anyways, “Just because there is no word for it

does not make it untrue!”

“I never mentioned truth.”

“But you insinuated it.”

“I did not.  Is this another game with words?”

the being relaxed its shoulders for another round.

Progress gritted his teeth, the paved wood shuddered

in strength under his feet.

“You think words define things?” asked the being.

“I do,” cried Progress in fatigue.

“But love is not found in all languages is it?”

“Sure it is.”

“No, I meant agape.”

“Ahah!” Cried Progress, “Now it is you playing with words.”

“I was speaking Greek, moron.”

Progress took a moment to ponder the strange insertion

of a figure of speech before his embarrassment arose

at realizing that Greek is a language on its own.  “But

you are changing the game!”

“I wasn’t ever playing,” the being moved on its stump

with slight agitation toward Progress’ accusation.  “And

neither should you.”

“It is all relative to experience anyway!” cried Progress.

“The lot of it all!  Words and all!  We define our

terms and use language as a crutch to move along!

We are all subjects moving in our own play

as solo objects.  No ultimate meaning is determinable!

Nothing is true.”

“Is that true?”

“For me it is.”

“And for me it is not.”

“Get off of the road.”

“I am not on it,” the being responded, and lo behold

Progress with open eyes saw that the tree stump

itself was removed from the road.

He started to take a saw to it, but as he

stepped forward the distance between Progress and

the stump remained.

Long overworked, he caved in early.

“Hmm,” mused the being while it stood upon the

stump for a stretch before sitting back down.

“ ‘No ultimate meaning is determinable.’  Even in

language, so you say.  Choice words.”

It peered with amber eye unto the inner being

of Progress through the eye.  “I wonder if you

thought that before you picked up your

reference book.  Or before now as you stand

shocked at your being misunderstood.  I understood

clearly your misunderstanding, Progress.  Can we

move on past this now?”

Progress stood depraved, shocked at the meaning

of words and the difficulty in the being’s words.  But

Progress was whole.  Progress was alive!  Progress

didn’t need definitions or reference sources, so long

as Progress had meaning!  And he had found it!

“Meaningless Progress,” cooed the being, laughing as

Progress continued slowly on the road of intolerance.

He pondered in honesty the words of the being, and

soon came away with their meaning.  And he found

the sarcasm in the meaning even more frustrating

than what he went through to get the meaning.

Even worse, one of the mountains came crashing

down and caused a great cacophony and

trembling.  Progress had to find real shelter,

and was forced to look up to watch for other mountains subject to fall.  He had to look

down in a pool of clear water to check his face

for bruises.  And, he cursed that being on the

tree stump, it had brought such mischief to

him on his path that day.

Amber of illuminating light shining inside still

was captured in his mind’s eye.  The eyes of the

being still bore into him.  Lights that still shone, truly.

And what of the being?  Like a gremlin it

resembled, or a harlequin.  It sat on a

tree stump speaking sensible nonsense to all

passersby in that imaginary verisimilitude.

And all came away with more frustration at its

sensibility than with the process to get there.

Whether a harlequin or a gremlin, most likely

a gremlin in appearance.   For it was reality in life.

And it was good at playing the troll to nonsense.


On the Preceding, an Author’s Note

September 27, 2015


You know, if you missed the title, you really

Missed the point.   I do love to play with words, but

First because I love to know their meaning.

You should read it again and try harder.

Relax, breathe, think.

And use a reference guide or a guide for understanding when you need to.


5 thoughts on “A Share of Writing: Progress and the Stump

  1. I have always enjoyed reading this and coming away with different meanings every time I read it. And of course, I have had to read it more than one time.

    Liked by 1 person

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