A poem about politics written in 1989

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FDR Memorial, Washington, D.C.


I wrote this poem in 1989 and it was published in my high school art and literary magazine. This is probably the only poem I have written about politics. The major events in 1989 would begin with the inauguration of George H. W. Bush in January as the 41st U.S. president, and end with the fall of the Berlin Wall, premier of The Simpsons on FOX and attempt to overthrow Manuel Noriega.

A Brush-Cut World

Someone’s head, caught in the mirror,
Twisting and turning.
Fierce comb putting all into place,
Strays hoarded and fixed.
But strays always fall out of place,
And one stray leads to another,
Banding together, strays begin to knot,
And the comb dulls and breaks.
The head seeks a new mirror,
A new comb shapes the strays,
Mousse holds them in place,
And scissors cut the extremist stragglers. …

A poem about the quest for knowledge

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Can you find the Alligator?


This is a poem I wrote in 1988 that was published in my high school’s art and literary magazine. I hope you enjoy the poem, and my selection of pictures to go with it.

The Shadow of Life

When I was just an infant,
My mind was as dark as night,
An endless void of shadows,
No perception of wrong or right.
As I grew, I learned to love,
To care, to hold, to learn,
My thoughts began to set off sparks,
And the shadows began to burn.
Gradually a candle stood,
Where shadows were only known,
Knowledge turned from dark to light,
But still the shadows roamed.
As I learned, the shadows recoiled,
And the candle became a ray,
Yet in the corner of my mind,
A shadow sat at bay. …

Better late than never?

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A perfect dinner setting after 7 years of planning — Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ

Self-service only

In 2004, I was an architect coding in Java at a large financial services firm. Java was missing most of the collection productivity features I had in Smalltalk, so I decided I would “Just do it” and started building the first utility classes in what would eventually become an open-source Java library called Eclipse Collections. I blogged about this a year ago.

Serving a full menu dinner every day for 40 years

Smalltalk has always had converter methods for its collection types. A converter method allows you to convert one type to another via an intention revealing method name. In Smalltalk, the converter methods all started with the prefix “as”. I created a mind map capturing the converter methods available on the Smalltalk Collection API. …

My top 25 wish list for the future of Eclipse Collections development

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9 Years OSS, 5 years at Eclipse Foundation

Eclipse Collections has existed as an open source project on GitHub for a total of 9 years. Eclipse Collections has been a project at the Eclipse Foundation for 5 years. There have been 4 major versions of Eclipse Collections released, and there were 7 major versions of GS Collections prior to that.

The open source community has done a lot of work on this amazing library, and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed and continues to contribute their time, spirit and code. There is plenty more that can be done to evolve the library, and it will continue to be work done by the community for the community. …

When you’re in New York

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The Oculus in Lower Manhattan


This is another one of my poems that was published in my high school art and literary magazine in 1988. Enjoy!

Anything Can Happen

8:05… Waking up,
Getting Dressed,
Eating breakfast.
8:36… Leaving home,
In a rush,
Catching a bus.
9:45… Getting off the bus,
Running through Port Authority,
Catching a subway train.
9:57… It’s getting late,
Running down Chambers Street,
Breathing irregular.
10:01… Late for work,
Looking at bank,
Gasping for air.
10:01… Falling on ground,
With gaping mouth,
10:02.. “CUT!”
“OK folks, that’s a wrap.”

-Donald Raab

Converting from one type of collection to another

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Mind map image created by Kenji Hiranabe in Astah UML. Included here with his permission.

Converting from one type to another type

In Eclipse Collections there are many different collection types. There are Mutable and Immutable collection types. There are Object and primitive collection types. There are types of List, Set, Bag, Stack, Map, BiMap, Multimap. There are so many things you can do with all of the Eclipse Collections types and APIs. But how do you convert from one type to another?

To convert a collection to another type, find methods with the prefixto

Methods that begin with to will copy the contents of a collection to a specific type and will have a linear time cost. …

In memory of Thomas Scully

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New York City at sunset after a storm

Gone too soon

In the fall of my senior year of high school, one of the nicest people I have ever met passed away. He was a student in my senior class and was a friend to everyone he knew. When the announcement of his untimely death rang out over the high school loud speakers, the entire senior class walked out of the school in tears. I recall driving that morning to a nearby park to sit by the lake and cry with friends. His life was full of promise, and he left this world much too soon. …

A poem about the finality of life.

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Photo taken in Kauai, Hawaii with moon behind clouds


This is the first poem I ever wrote. It is about the sense of helplessness and loss of control everyone may feel in the final moments of their life. The poem was published in my high school literary magazine in 1987.

Heaven’s Gate

Here I am,
Moving? No.
Lost in time;
time so slow

A breath of wind,
too soon I fear.
Heartbeat withering,
for death is near.

Upon a table
troubled will.
Breathing rapid,
fighting still.

My life before me
in mind’s eye.
Nothing accomplished
before I die.

God have mercy
on me I pray.
Forgive my sins
of yesterday. …

A poem about the little things in life.

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Rolling sand dunes of Long Beach Island, NJ


I wrote a poem titled “Playing in the Sand” when I was in high school. It was published in my high school literary magazine in 1988. This poem has remained one of my favorites over the years. I think of it every time I go to the beach. I thought the poem might have been lost to time, but my wife found my high school literary magazines today while organizing the closet in our office. I’m posting it today so that I might not lose it again. …

How to define contractual, structural, and verifiable immutable Java collections.

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Designing Immutable Collection using Sealed Types in JDK 15

Introducing Sealed Types

JDK 15 was released on September 15, 2020. JEP 360 Sealed Types was included as a preview feature in this release. Sealed Types is part of Project Amber. Sealed classes or interfaces can be used to restrict the interfaces or classes that are allowed to extend them. This is accomplished by using the sealed, non-sealed, and permits modifiers.

What is contractual immutability?

An interface or class is contractually immutable if the available public methods do not allow an instance to be mutated after it is constructed. A contractually immutable collection should not expose methods like add, addAll, remove, removeAll, clear and a mutable Iterator . These methods are available on the Collection, List and Set types in Java. …


Donald Raab

Java Champion. Creator of the Eclipse Collections OSS Java library (http://www.eclipse.org/collections/). Inspired by Smalltalk. Opinions are my own.

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