Tanka – Writing Assignment #12

April is National Poetry Month

The Tanka Poem – Writing Assignment #12

Did you set a goal or intend to do a  special project for April?

Because this month is National Poetry Month,  I chose to write a TANKA-a- Day  during  April. This is a challenge to me because I never wrote a TANKA poem before this month.  I wanted to try something new when I decided to choose the TANKA form. It dates back about 1200 years in Japan.   I had to dig into some research on the Japanese Poetry Form.  This is what I will share with you today.

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What is a TANKA poem? 

The TANKA poem originated in Japan.

Typically, the topics of the TANKA are nature, seasons, romance, sadness, love, strong human emotions.

Tanka poems do not have titles.

They may simply be numbered. My Tanka poems are labeled like this:

I simply write “Tanka” and put the poem’s number behind it. (Example: “Tanka 105”)

In the Tanka, the writer uses personification, metaphor, and other allusions. The lyrical intensity of the Tanka gives a sense of a personal and intimate world

There is no need for capitalization or punctuation in the Tanka.

I like this so much since I like to allow the reader to use her imagination  by filling in thoughts as she reads through the poem.  Fragmentation in this form of poem is highly desirable. It leaves the poem “open” and allows the reader to develop the poem in a creative way while reading it.  Punctuation cuases a poem to have stops and stalls in it and is directional and didactic. The Tanka flows smoothly without this kind of direction by the writer.

What does the TANKA look like?

It is a poem form that has 5 lines.

Each of the 5  lines has a specific syllable count. It will be 5,7,5,7, 7

What else do I need to know to write a TANKA poem?

The lines will be like this:

_Line 1:  5  syllables – Line 1 would be one or two  concrete personal images. Keep it simple and write from personal experiences.

_Line 2:  7 syllables – Line 2  write reflections on how you felt or what you were doing or thinking about in the first line’s experiences.

_Line 3:  5  syllables – Line 3 describes thoughts or feelings   This is the PIVOT LINE of the poem! It refers back to lines 1 and 2; and ahead to lines 4 and 5.  You may have to switch and move lines around to get this working in the poem’s  format.

_ Line 4: 7 syllables that combine all five lines of the poem’s images and ideas

_Line 5:  7 syllables that continue to carry out your themes and imagery.

***

Here is a Tanka poem I wrote today. I had been outside in the early morning walking my dog. Rain had dampened the earth significantly before we departed on our walk. As we walked through the soft gray mists, rain once again started falling down on us. I put up my red umbrella, and my dog and I continued walking together.

***

Tanka 105 by Lynda McKinney Lambert, 2015

wet red umbrella

cool morning rain and grey mists

tiny lilac buds

we step into soggy grass

rain water soaks our bodies

Walking by Inner Vision Journal –  Writing Assignment #12

Using the directions above, create your own Tanka poem!

I would love to read your poem – send it to me or post it in the comments below.

Be sure to follow to the bottom of the page and sign up for my newest posts in your email box.

Thanks for visiting today!

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Writing Assignment #11: The Morning Walk

Our Early Mornthe Early Morning Walk

Did you know April is National Poetry Month?

I decided to occasion EVERY DAY this month by keeping my focus on writing poems.

 

 Morning walks are a special time between me and my dog, Mitchell.

I decided recently that I want to photographically record the area where I live, and in particular the landscape around the Connoquenessing Creek in Western Pennsylvania.  This is where I have lived my entire life and the Creek has been a central image every day even when I am not consciously thinking about it.  I plan to do photos and write about the changes as they occur throughout the year. I call this series, “Life on the Connie.”

***

Around 8 am, Mitchell waited patiently at the kitchen door as I pulled on my Wellies and slipped into my warm jacket.  As I put her red leather harness on her she lifted one foot, and then the other, as she stepped into it. I snapped on the red leash, and we were ready to leave for a little walk.

We left the house together for our first walk of the day. I took my camera along and snapped a few photos of the landscape, all so familiar to us.

I noticed that the grass in meadow was covered with a fine, light silver layer of frost. There is a quiet beauty in frost that we might miss if we are not paying attention to the visual details of the moment.  I thought, “I know the calendar tells us it is SPRING, but it does not look or feel like it yet.”  It was crispy cold!

I paused to look at some of the details around us.  It will be changing rapidly as the month of April moves forward and if I don’t capture these days with my photos, I will soon forget how special they are.  I’ll be swept away with the unfolding of grass, weeds, wildflowers, and trees by the end of this month, I thought.

Within a few minutes, I heard an owl hooting. Just in case I was daydreaming, the Owl spoke once again. Ah, no, it is real. There truly is an owl nearby this morning. The haunting sounds of the owl, a lyrical moment; it seemed to be coming from somewhere near the creek just beyond our view. I felt like the owl was greeting us as we passed by on our morning journey.

Today’s photos show a world that still looks like a winter day.  By the time we walked back towards the house, I noticed the sun was already climbing up into the sky more than I had realized.  It was already bright and the frost was gone from beneath our feet.

***

Walking by Inner Vision –  Journal Assignment #11:

Take your camera outside with you today.

Look around for some little details that you have overlooked but now you are beginning to see them.

Take a few photos of some little details and some wide landscape views that catch your eye today.

When you come back inside, write down some notes about your experience.

Note what time of day it is.

Think about sounds you heard.

Can you recall the breeze, or the scents in the air?

Did you experience an internal dialogue today?

What thoughts were swirling around as you tried to pay attention to the world all around you?

Try to think about what is going on inside your head when you are looking at your world through new eyes.

Write about your experiences as you look at one of the photographs you took today.

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Assignment # 10_The Lesson

The Lesson: “When My Daughter Cuts the Roses”

Writing Assignment #10 – The Lesson

 

I had some great news today!  The editor of “Magnets and Ladders Literary Magazine”  notified me that one of my two poems to be published in the forthcoming Spring/Summer issue has received a 2nd place PRIZE for Poetry.

The title of the poem is:

“When My Daughter Cuts the Roses.”

Here’s the BACK STORY to the Poem:

Our daughter, Ilsa Barry, visited us last November. I had a bouquet of fresh flowers on the dining room table. She glanced at the bouquet of roses  and said, “The water in the vase is cloudy. I will change the water for you.”   We walked out to the kitchen sink with the bouquet, and she began teaching me how to take proper care of a fresh bouquet of flowers.  She emphasized how to keep the water fresh and how to cut the stems of the flowers so that they would last long in the vase.

As I watched her going through the process, she explained what she was doing.  I took mental notes.  Later, my memories of that afternoon lesson came flooding into my thoughts as I wrote a poem.

The POINT here is this:

The most basic and mundane activity can be transformed into a poem. 

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“When My Daughter Cuts the Roses”

My daughter looked

at the bouquet of fresh roses

noticed two of them were drooping.

“Let me show you how to trim the roses

so they stay fresh and strong.” she said.

Her hands held the roses tenderly

one-by-one, trimmed off extra  leaves

“These will make the water stink,” she said.

She  found  scissors  in the drawer

put the roses in a bowl of tepid water

held each stem under water

sliced  them all, diagonally –

“As I cut the rose under the water,

little bubbles of air come to the surface.

Now, when the rose inhales

it will only breathe water into it,

it won’t fill up with air.

The living water inside the stems

gives longer life to each rose.”

She carried the freshened flowers

In the tall glass vase

back to the center of the dining room table

darkest  crimson buds, sunny yellow petals,

deep green fern leaves

and a frilly white carnation.

***

by Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved..

Published: “Magnets and Ladders Literay Magazine” Spring/Summer Issue, 2015.

Won 2nd Prize for Poetry.

Visit this link to read the latest issue of “Magnets and Ladders Literary Magazine.”   www.magnetsandladders.or

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Walking by Inner Vision Journal – Writing Assignment #10:

Think about something you learned how to do. Did someone teach it to you?

In your journal, I want you to record every aspect of how you learned to do something. As you see in my poem, it can be a very simple task.  Perhaps you learned something recently – or – maybe it was a lesson learned a long time ago. Spend some time today thinking about it.

What was the occasion for the lesson?

Who was teaching it to you?

Where were you at the time?

What was significant enough for you to remember it?

Add any other information that comes to your mind.

Write your poem in free verse.

Speak it out loud as you write – and several times during the writing process.

Listen carefully to the sounds you have made.

Make the changes you need to make to allow the voice of the poem to relate the lesson and the experience of that special time.

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Spring Haiku: Writing Assignment #9

 

Blog_2015_WBIV_PHOTOCrosusinSnow

 

I know that SPRING is on the way because we already turned our clocks FORWARD  here in western Pennsylvania.

 

Turning the clock forward by one hour gives us such a different perception of the time and the shift we are experiencing  into a different season.  I can FEEL it in the AIR ~  Spring is nearly here!  The layers of crusty, slippery snow are quickly melting  into the muddy earth.  The all-day rains have moved into our area and that signals that VERY  SOON little flowers will pop up as the Earth warms.

This is the best time to take a walk around your neighborhood and look for the signs of Spring that are all around you.

Have you done that yet? Even in the rain, you can take a little “WALKABOUT” to see what is happening.  I do it every day because I have a dog who needs to be walked a few times a day.

That is my excuse for being “out there” in every kind of weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a poetic form called a “Haiku.”

It is a Japanese form that is elegant and so much fun to write.

There are just a few rules for the Haiku and here they are.

One_The Haiku will have just 3 lines

Two_The meter of the lines will be:  5, 7, 5 (Just count the syllables out for each line.)

Three_ Your Haiku needs to focus on a season. In our case, we will focus on Spring. You need not name the season in your poem, but you can give information and words that make the reader think of spring.

Let’s try writing a Haiku..  I would LOVE to have you send yours to me so I can rejoice with you in creating your first Haiku poem. I warn you, they are ADDICTIVE, and you will want to do lots more.  You can contact me by sending your poem to me at: riverwoman@zoominternet.net

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Writing Assignment #9:  Write a Haiku to Spring.

Example:

This poem is written in the Japanese  Haiku form. A Haiku has three lines, and traditionally it will have a reference to a season.

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Spring Haiku

Bright saffron flowers

disrupted crystal blankets

to announce, “It’s Spring!”

 ***

 

Lynda McKinney Lambert.Poem Copyright, 2004.

Blog Essay and poem, Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

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Morning Hour – Journal Writing Assignment #8

Morning Hour

First Published on: January 1, 2013

 Revised and re-blogged for March 5, 2015


As our WINTER SEASON in Western Pennsylvania begins moving  SLOWLY towards the coming of SPRING this month, I am sending YOU this LATE WINTER article with a POEM!

I know, everyone is longing for sunshine and flowers, but looking out my window today it is not realistic.  We have deep snow, and right now some icy cold rain and temperatures plunging DOWN! Not yet, my friends, not yet.  Winter is still with us!  Let’s not waste time wishing away our days. Don’t long for the days to pass quickly, it is your life you are wishing away if you do that.  Learn to enjoy every day, just as it comes, and be thankful for that day!

This morning I read a verse in Psalms 118.  Here is what I found there:

“This is the DAY the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Here is a GREAT LINK that will give you TWENTY-FIVE Bible verses about SNOW and WINTER.

http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Snow

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Walking by Inner Vision  Journal – Writing Assignment #8:

A couple of years ago, on a day just like this one, I wrote a poem about winter.  I was seated at my computer, that day, and looking outside my window as I wrote this poem.  What do you think I saw that morning?  What did I feel?

Spend a little bit of time today outside. No matter what the weather is, you will have an experience with nature.  Maybe you want to take your camera along, or a note pad, to record what you are experiencing.  Now, if you want to do it, you can take your photo and/or your notes, and create a FREE FORM POEM from them.  No need to worry about rhyming ends of lines, no meed to think much about formal poetry forms. Just have some fun today with what you see and feel, smell, touch, taste, etc.  OH, and be SURE to use your IMAGINATION and let a few pieces of information from your mind and spirit enter into your poem, too!

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Here is the Free Form POEM I wrote while peering out the Winter Window in my home one morning:

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Morning Hour

In the early morning hour

a nippy breeze

wrapped  around my bare feet

like  soft gray cashmere clouds.

My own reflection

slowly materialized-

I was exposed, naked,

on a clear icy glass

surface.

Outside the frozen windowpane

an icicle boundary

surrounded my view

of the aging Douglas Fir.

I turned for a closer look

through the silent porthole

Quick movements

in the shadow

revealed

one tiny  ruffled bird,

a solo performer

hunkered down

deep

on snow-clogged branches.

Inside this room,

a blizzard

a scattering of words still lingered

Waited  to be gathered,

In a winter bouquet-written on a page,

in spite of the bitter cold

We have been here

for a thousand years

In the early morning hour.

***

P.S.: I would LOVE to read your poem. If you email it to me, I will read it and send you my response to it.  I am always here to cheer you on in your Walking by Inner Vision Journal.  Any time!

***

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Essay and Photos by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Poem Copyright 2013. Lynda  McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.

Essay and photos by Lynda McKinney Lambert, Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Christianity, Literature, Lynda McKinney Lambert, Nature, Seasons, Writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Journal Writing Assignment #7: Love…or Fear?

This is  Article Number 91 on Walking by Inner Vision. Thank you, dear readers for your encouragement and for walking with me on our Divine Journey with God this year!

 

GE DIGITAL CAMERA
Photo:

Bob and Lynda Lambert

April  2012:  We paused for a photo this very hot April afternoon in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Love…or Fear: a Choice

~A Lenten Meditation by Lynda McKinney Lambert~

Walking by Inner Vision Journal Assignment #7

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Last April my husband learned he had  Acute Myeloid Leukemia, aka AML.  Prior to this date, we never heard of AML but quickly learned about this disease when Bob received a phone call to give him the biopsy results from a bone marrow test.  The hematologist repeated several times…

Bob_April27_withMe

 

“This is a very aggressive blood cancer. We  must treat it aggressively. You have to get to the hospital in Pittsburgh immediately. They have a room ready for you right now and do not stop at the admissions office. Go directly to the 7th floor – T-7 – and they will have your room ready when you arrive.”

We stood there listening to the doctor; we were numb. The doctor went on to tell Bob,

“You will stay at West Penn Hospital for a month.  Intensive chemo therapy will begin today!. There is no time to waste. Get there as fast as you can!”

 

Bob hung up the phone; we grasped each other in an embrace and cried together. How could this be happening?

We called our daughter at work, and between the sobs and tears, we conveyed that we needed her to come and get us and take us to the hospital.  The three of us arrived at T-7 that evening. Our new journey into the unknown world of AML was now underway. Bob’s life had taken a shift that was unimaginable, and I was fill with fear as my daughter and I said “good bye” to Bob, and we  departed the hospital that night to return back home.

Bob_April27_withMachineOnce back home, I felt like I could barely breathe with the realization that I was alone in the house and would be for an entire month. The greatest fear that gripped me was the fear of what might happen when people began to hear this news.

 

Would I be a target for a robbery or some terrifying event because people would know I have profound low vision? Would I be a victim? These questions pounded my brain, and the more I considered the possibilities of what could happen to me, the more anxious I became.

“But wait just a second,”  my spirit whispered.  Is fear how you plan to live your life? Will it be fear that propels you to make decisions?  Will you choose, today, to walk in fear?

In moments, my thoughts settled down as I began remembering promises in the Bible that spoke about fear and every one of them gave me encouragement, assurance, and a deep sense of peace. Yes! My husband was facing all the terrors associated with a dreaded disease;  I was blind and unable to drive a car any longer. How would I get him to appointments in the future? How would I be able to visit him in the hospital which was an hour’s drive from our home? How would I manage to take care of the dogs and cats at home? How would I get groceries, and other necessary things we needed?

Every time a frightening possibility tried to give me fear, I immediately turned that thought off, and instead, spoke a true thought from my Christian worldview.  No matter what life was bringing to us,  Bob and I would be provided for and we would be safe. We have found that God, Himself, takes care of all our needs. Our brothers and sisters in Christ have brought us loaves of freshly baked bread and jellies; shoveled out or driveway after a snow storm; brought our mail to our doorstep every day since Bob’s illness began; sent us cards and special messages of love and encouragement; provided us with transportation to scores of trips to doctors and to the hospital; bought us food; given us monetary gifts to help with gas and parking garage expenses; sent us books; walked and fed our dogs; visited us; brought us medications from the pharmacy; and so much more.

We need to act on our faith in a crisis. I decided to do two things as an act of faith so that I would not walk in fear.

First, I found an AML Facebook Page that is a closed group for patients and their families. It’s private so that we can honestly speak of the challenges of AML and ask others how they are doing things – this all helps so much. I am not alone in dealing with Bob’s disease and his difficult days. I can go to the FB group and ask questions and get answers. This has been so helpful and I became  a much better care giver to Bob because of this group. I have gained insight and good information there which has been helpful and healing for us both.

If you need more information on AML for yourself or a family member, you can request permission into this group. ~ find this group at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/71803149485/

 ***

Second, instead of keeping Bob’s condition a secret and allowing misinformation to circulate around our little town, I decided to put out the word in a very public forum.  I created a community page called, Bob Lambert Diary, in which I post photos of Bob and others who are with him on this journey. We provide a photo-diary type of page where anyone can visit Bob, see photos of him periodically, and we give out information on AML and blood cancer to help other people be informed. We desire to give a correct image of Bob’s journey, and keep it forefront on the page to keep incorrect and misleading gossip or information from taking root. Most of all, we want to provide positive and truthful facts on Bob and on AML.   Instead of walking in fear, and keeping Bob’s journey a secret, we publicly put it out for anyone to read. You can visit Bob’s page by clicking on:

https://www.facebook.com/boblambertdiary

 ***

 Blog_Bob_CompressedNearly a year later, we can say for certain there has been no crisis, no pain, no uncertainties, and no imaginations that have not been met by Jesus. He comes to meet us at exactly the center of every need – Jesus, “God with us,” is ever-present. He comes through with us, from one situation to the next, with his grace to move on in spite of the fears the enemy throws at us.  Our risen Lord, has been faithful and we walk in peace.

 

I’d like to share a few Bible verses with you today. I want to let you know, for sure, we are always surrounded by promises of peace.

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John 14:27 – English Standard Version (ESV)

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

You will find many other quotes that will help you overcome fear and be victorious through God’s word. Here is a link that will provide you with understanding of who you are in Christ, and how you are protected every day.  You will  face challenges because that is part of being a human being. We are fragile. . God will meet you where you are, and in whatever fearful situation you are facing now or in the future.  Go ahead, step forward, and take hold of the PEACE He will give you.

For additional WORDS from God, Click on:

http://www.openbible.info/topics/fear_and_anxiety

 

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Walking by Inner Vision Journal – Writing Assignment #7

 Today, I want you to think about the times you were overcome by fears.  Describe the circumstances, how you felt, and what the feelings of fear did  to you physically, mentally, and spiritually.

The opposite of LOVE, is FEAR. It is not hate or envy or anger. It is FEAR.  Fear obliterates love if we are not aware of what it does to us.

Do you have favorite Bible verses that have helped you pass from fear to love?

Can you describe how you chose to love instead of fear?

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Note: You may contact me personally by email at any time.  My blogs are my gift to the world, and I am here to help YOU –

Lynda McKinney Lambert.  Copyright, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

 

You can sign up to FOLLOW all my posts. Thank you for visiting with me today.

Posted in blindness, Christianity, Lynda McKinney Lambert, Writing | 2 Comments

Journal Writing Assignment #6: Walking

artist, educator, author

Lynda McKinney Lambert

Walking by Inner Vision, my new blog will discuss issues of sight loss and blindness as I am experiencing them daily.  Life as an artist and author, changed for me in October 2007 when I lost my sight due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy.

I am a retired  Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities,  Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA.  My life purpose is in teaching and sharing the gifts I posses. In this blog, we will  meet together and explore topics in Fine Arts, Humanities, Christian Faith, Blindness, and more. Thank you for joining in this journey with me today!

I began to learn how to walk using the inner vision that we all have. It has been an interesting journey over the past two years. I will write this blog to share my journey,  Walking by Inner Vision.

Lynda_Studio_Sept04

I am passionate about everything I loved  before sight loss. I’m crazy about visual art, poetry, literature,  philosophy, history, and music.

.Nothing is more delightful to me as traveling and meeting exciting new people whom I encounter.

Most of all, I find that I love hearing the stories of others who have had vision loss and learning how they do things and how they now see the world. I will share my vision through this blog.

I am always open to hearing from others. You may have sight loss, or you may have a friend of family member who has sight loss. Please write to me at my email address if you have questions, comments, or just want to chat with me. Let’s keep in touch. PLEASE, take a moment to send me a COMMENT after you read my post today. I look forward to meeting new friends here.

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This was the FIRST post I wrote when I launched WALING B”Y INNER VISION.  Everything I wrote then, in 2009, remains the same today – over five years later.  I have published – NINETY Articles – This post is number 90! I am celebrating and so happy to still be here and talking to YOU after five years. THANK YOU!

This year, I introduced a new project for this blog.  The Walking by Inner Vision Journal. After each post, I will give you a short journal assignment to help you get started in writing your own personal  journal.  You can join in at any time and choose any of the Walking by Inner Vision Journal Writing Assignments you like. This is my GIFT to my readers this year. I PLAN to write 50  short essays with assignments for you as we go through the year together.

 

Most of all, I am a woman of FAITH, and I encourage you to think about your own faith life with me as we write and visit together

***  Walking by Inner Vision, Journal Writing Assignment #6:

When did you begin walking by the Inner Vision that god gives to everyone who asks him for it? What was the circumstance in your life that brought you to seek out God’s leading for all of your days?  How long ago did you begin your personal walk with God as your friend? What was the ONE moment when you knew HE was with you and that you would never be walking alone again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Journal Assignment #5_ Reading the Stuff of Life: Year 5

Reading the Stuff of Life:  Year 5

Walking by Inner Vision Journal  Assignment #5

 

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

21 February 2015

 Shelves of BooksI wrote the original essay for publication on “Walking by Inner Vision” in 2010. I revised and updated and published it on 21 February 2015.

In the winter of 2010, I wrote,

“What a delightful time I am having as I read  The Power of Myth  by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers. This  massive book was on my library shelves for a number of years. It is a larger book that stands out because of its size.  I often picked it up and looked through it, used it in references for papers, but had never read it from front to back. There it was, still  waiting for a time when I could sit down and really learn what is between the covers by reading it completely. ”

***

Today, five years later, I am reading a different sort of literature, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, by Tony Judt  – published in 2005.  It enlightens me into the history and political struggles of some of the countries where I took students every summer for about twelve years.  I taught a course called “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg” every July until I retired in 2008. As I read this well researched historical tome, I envision each of the cities and countries I am familiar with from my own travels.

 

As a Professor of Fine Art and Humanities, it was always my intention to read a number of literary works “when I retire.” My profession required extensive, close reading. I loved to read and I devoured books and periodicals as I researched my focused topics for my courses.  However, the reading and research was specific and targeted for classes I taught. I longed  to have time to read outside my course materials and requirements. I dreamed of the day, someday in the future, when I would be able to spend quiet hours in my home library reading across disciplines  with no thoughts beyond the joy of days with no deadlines and unlimited reading time. I considered how I would spend those delightful days after I retired from my demanding teaching schedule.  I kept this future goal in mind; I began collecting all sorts of books I would read in the future after my envisioned retirement.

***

My shelves bulged with the array of collected literary treasures!  I gathered them, placed them on shelves in my cozy home office and had no idea when the day would come when I could read books instead of driving through snow storms like the ones we have been having this past couple of weeks. Today, I reminisced on how I traveled back and forth to the college every day.

 

At times, I used to muse:

 “Someday I can just read all the books I desire and I will have time to do it. I won’t be tied to my office any more. I won’t be grading papers on weekends and late into the nights. I won’t be spending so much of my life organizing classes, taking students on international trips, writing conference presentations and professional development projects. I often envisioned ideal winter days in my cozy library. I’d be reading, and I would still be writing more essays, articles, books and poems…”

Of course, I thought of retirement but I did not know just when I would retire because I really loved all the hard work I was doing as a professor.  My profession was my life-long goal – it was my Plan A for my life. I had no Plan B!  Each year, I waited patiently for summer when I took  students to Europe for a month of studies.  In the winter, I had additional opportunities and took my students  on trips to Puerto Rico every March. I was part of a special team of professors who developed a course in Puerto Rico Culture and we took our students there every year.

 

Sometimes I even reflected on the idea that   I might retire when I turned sixty-five years old. In my heart I knew that when I would be sixty-four years old I would think, “well, I probably will work until I am seventy.”  I had no idea exactly when this book reading project would begin. I continued to gather the literature and lined my shelves in anticipation for that day.

***

What did I collect? What is on my shelves? Primarily, the shelves hold volumes of poetry.  I have collected poetry  anthologies and other books on poetry; many are about the process and craft of writing poetry; but mostly the books are by favorite poets and authors.  There is something about a book of poetry that is intimate to me.   I can hold a much-loved book in my hands; feel the cool heft of that book. The pages feel smooth. The texture of the cover intrigues me. Art work is usually on the cover. But, the book itself is a work of art, an object I admired. I see the life form that is akin to a sculpture because it exists in a three dimensional space. The book is tactile, physical, fragrant, and symbolic.

Let me just share some favorite poets who reside on my shelves:
Robert Bly beckoned me as an undergraduate. He drew me into the world of nature with images of snow, trees, and a dying seal on a beach. I learned to love and respect mythology and the inner world through reading his poems. I traveled in a world of the mystical that one arrives at through images all around me. Through Bly, I realized the ordinary stuff of life in a new dimension.

 

Louise Glück takes me to her world of flowers and plants, brings me closer to the illusive and unnamable. I nearly tremble as I encounter her voice in a summer flower in the garden. The iris and the roGE DIGITAL CAMERAse have a voice.  I listen to them speaking.

 

Some nights I danced with William Carlos Williams. We whirled around the room, making shadows on the window blinds. I entered into his kitchen and saw  the notes left for Flossie when he ate the plums; I felt what it was like to visit the sick in their homes, and ride along the country roads as he jotted poetic notes on his prescription pads.

*** 

Walt Whitman waits for me to join him in his walk down a rural road. I want to travel with him, listen to him speaking as we walk together. I can feel the wind at my back or the sun on my face. I want to scream out into the landscape, to be a part of it all.

***

There are many more poets and books and journeys I will take to  familiar terrain or uncertain new places by the poets. Some stories and epics were sung before the days of recorded time, when everyone knew that the capricious, controlling gods were orchestrating the events and details of all immortal life in the heavens and mortals on earth.

Unlike the informed visitor to a Greek tragedy, I did not know the entire story before I entered  the theater. I could not have known it would take a personal catastrophe to stop me in the midst of my dreams and plans. In my story, I came to a sudden stop, completely shut down in the middle of my dreams, forced to learn how to live my life in a new way in October 2007, when I lost most of my eyesight with no warning.  In a few days, the visual world I had lived in disappeared.

Since that time, I am reading books via a digital cassette player provided from National Library of Congress. Each book, recorded for use by blind and handicapped people, is available through a regional library. We can order the books we want to read. They arrive in our mailbox and are free to those who participate in the program.

On winter days like this one, I am in my library while the world outside my window resembles life as experienced inside a snow globe. It’s beautiful and I am at peace with the world. As I read the history of Europe on my digital payer, I also knit on a project that I am working on.  I   think about the good thoughts and feelings I have while I am reading and knitting.

***

I sit today, surrounded by many of the books I collected.  But, there are not as many on the shelves because I donated about 400 of them to the local library last year when they needed books to sell for their fall fund-raiser. It made be so happy to share my treasures in that way, and to know that one by one, the treasured volumes are in the hands of new owners.  I even gave away entire collections of particular authors which had taken me years to find.  I have to confess here, I could not give away my books of poetry though.  These remaining books of poetry and some significant, colorful art books remain with me. But, I have no regrets.

In a few more days, most likely, the snow that blankets the  roof of the house will begin to melt; the long silvery crystal icicles. They drip and grow smaller when the sun shines on them.  Much like that melting icicle, the loss of eye sight brings transformation with the changes of time  I, too, feel transformed as the season slowly changes from deep winter into the hope of springtime. Much like the life of nature stirring beneath the deep snow, and stirring up into the bare branches of the trees, something inside of me is moving, too.  Hope is just beneath the surface and it’s just about ready to bloom profusely in the sunshine of a warm spring afternoon.

 

**********

Walking by Inner Vision Journal Assignment #5:

Do you have a library or personal collection of books?

If so, can you write about how it all started with you?

My own book collecting began when I was a child. How about you?

Describe your books – favorite authors and titles.

How have you collected them?

Why do they hold special meaning for you?

If you are a new collector of books, I suggest you begin with a visit to your local library. Browse the shelves and pull out some books that catch your interest.  Read some of them, and soon, there will be special authors and books you will want to own.  You can search for them at yard sales, book sales by your local library, or on the internet. I have purchased many good books from Ebay – and Amazon.com, of course,  is an excellent source to buy books! Personally, I enjoy owning books. If it is a great book, then I have to have it on my shelves.

Once you begin your private collection, it  will be a life long journey. Have fun.

***

Lynda McKinney Lambert. Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Posted in Art, blindness, Literature, Lynda McKinney Lambert, Myths, rehabilitation, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Journal Assignment #4 – A Love Letter _

Blog_2015_WBIV_ValentineHeartFancy In February 2000, I was asked to write a couple of “love poems” by a friend who is a jazz singer. Bettie Douglas, of  Douglas Art Gallery in New Brighton, PA,   was  to give a program on the topic of LOVE  at the Merrick Art Gallery. She wanted me to write a couple of poems she could use as part of her performance. I did write two of them.   Mid-way through the concert she performed the poems. My husband had accompanied me to the concert but he did not know anything about my secret.  You can imagine his surprise when she began to speak the poems to him that night. He was all smiles. I was delighted to give him this Valentine’s gift of love.

 

I  thought today about writing this blog article and wanted to write about Valentine’s Day. I remembered the poems, and looked back into my archives and found them.  I’ll give you just  one  today with this article.

 

blog_2015_WBIV_Photo_ValentineHeartsWalking by Inner Vision –

Journal Assignment #4:

Write a love letter to someone in your life. It will be  an actual letter, or maybe you want to try your hand at a poetic love letter.  It can be “Free Verse” or any other poetic form you like.  After you create your Valentine verse or letter, give it to the one you wrote if about or for!  Share your love this week during Valentine’s Day celebrations.  Your creative work will be a cherished treasure for someone you love.

***

 

 

It’s a Question of Love

 

What do I see when I look at my love?

Who is this man I call my best friend?

How many years has it been since he first won my heart?

It was a spring morning when he placed a yellow wild flower in my hand

I was only a high school girl and knew little about life

and had no idea that he was  the special one.

 

Like that yellow wild  flower, our love was a very fragile one

a delicate struggle to find the path to our love

We had so much energy then, in the youth of our life

we never knew then what it means to be a true friend

some  days it was a difficult task to just reach out my hand

because I wanted to protect my most private and tender heart.

 

I wondered what he would do if I offered him my heart

would he dash it to pieces and leave me for another one?

or, would he hold me close to his body and reach for my hand?

Would this young smiling  boy become the husband I now love?

or, would this hot-blooded romantic youth only want a short-term friend?

And, what I really longed for then was to share my entire life.

 

I wanted someone to talk with about my dreams  on the journey of life

and I needed to know when he looked at me he would see my heart

that he would be the special man who would be both lover and friend

to give me strength when I needed it and be the long-term, committed one

who wanted to keep me warm on a frigid winter’s night and surround me with love

when I embraced his comforting body and held his strong hand.

 

Nearly forty years have passed by since I held the yellow flower in my open hand

How is it that we travel so quickly through the daydreams and night time’s of our life?

And, looking back I don’t quite seem to remember how our friendship turned to love

or the day when I knew for sure he would give me his whole heart

or when exactly it was that I knew  I was his only one

but I do know that I have enjoyed the years I have lived with my best friend.

 

And, I wonder what my life would have been like if I had never found this dear friend.

Who would have wiped away the tears from my eyes or reached out for my hand?

Would I ever have had  so many days filled with friends and a family like this one?

He has given me all that a man can give a woman – he has given me his entire life.

What would my years  have been like if he had not given me his heart?

And, who would I have become if I had never known his enduring love?

 

 

It’s impossible to answer one of these questions about the nature of romance and life

for we can never  know when we stretch out our hand if there will be a lover’s heart

and a lifetime friend when we go on a quest to find answers to explore  the question of  love.

***

“It’s a Question of Love,” was composed in  2000. today,  fifteen years after I wrote it, I am still in love with my husband, Bob.  Love isn’t magic and we are not soul mates. I think that is a myth. Love and marriage take lots of work, and willing partners to do the work to make it last and become more meaningful through the years.   Like the true meaning of love, we  worked  on making our lives into a a trusting and loving relationship that lasts a lifetime and beyond. That is where God comes in, to help us be the people he made us to be – two loving souls who grow together through the years.

***

This is a poem written in the SESTINA form.  If you want to learn how to write a SESTINA yourself, you can refer to an earlier post on this blog. Here is the link to another sestina I published in October 2014:  http://lyndalambert.com/shelter-from-the-wind/

 

By Lynda J. Lambert, Feb.2000

Copyright 2000 and 2015.   All rights reserved.

 

Blog_2015_Photo_ValentineTree

 

 

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Journal Assignment #3: Paint a Landscape

Photos by Lynda McKinney Lambert  

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Winter Trees
bY WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

***
Note:  This poem was previously published on “Walking by Inner Vision,” on March 13, 2014.

***

GE DIGITAL CAMERAWilliam Carlos Williams is one of my favorite modernist poets. He was a family physician who jotted down fragments of his poetry on the pages of prescription pads and in notebooks in  his car when he made his rounds to see patients.  He wrote  poems  in between driving to visit his patients in their homes or at the hospital.  I believe Williams  had a unique perspective on every aspect of life through his profession. He wrote about what he saw as he lived his life of service as a family doctor.  He focused on individuals, objects, buildings,  and nature and celebrated the extraordinary aspects of everyday, mundane  life. In this exquisite  poem, he celebrates winter and gives us the feeling that every living thing anticipates and prepares for  the changing seasons.  In the poem, we begin to see beyond the snowfall, and into the very essence of the  life force in the woods.

***

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning the words of this poem came back to my mind as I looked out the window at a  pristine, snow covered landscape.
Soon, my two dogs and I walked out into the newly falling snow as we do every morning. I shoveled the sidewalks, then came back into the kitchen to have my morning coffee.
I remember there is glory awaiting me  every moment , each day.

********************

Journal Assignment #3:  Paint a  Landscape

Read the poem, Winter Trees,  by William Carlos Williams over a few times. Allow his words to form a picture in your mind.

Do you see the picture he has painted with his words?

Look at how he mingles his imagination with the actual sight of the winter trees in his descriptive poem.

Look out your window.  Imagine the window as the frame around a painting.

Imagine this window view as a painting hanging on your wall.  What room is it in?

Imagine you will be painting this picture.  Describe  what colors  you will put into this painting.

Describe what you see in your window view, and how you will bring it to life on your canvas. Paint your piecture with words.

In your descriptions of this painting/window view ,   use words that evoke  our senses:  touch, smell, taste, sight, sound.

Now, combine the description you have created with a memory from your past.  Weave these two aspects together to complete your writing assignment today.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAPublished by Lynda McKinney Lambert.

Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Posted in Art, Christianity, Literature, Nature, Seasons, Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment