I Believe in Angels!

In western Pennsylvania, the frigid December afternoons are passing  quickly  and it will soon be Christmas once again.  “Ring silver sells, ring silver bells…” plays in the kitchen from a CD player.   The music picks up speed and layers of instruments keep repeating the theme, the piano pounding out the familiar Christmas Carol and the mandolin plucked  in an unrelenting   Latin rhythm mingling  with a classy  jazz trumpet and a metal stringed violin. “Ring silver bells, ring  silver bells…”  Blog_IBelieve_PHOTOSilverBells

Many Christmas celebrations over my life time linger in little snippets and fragments, layered  and overlapped  like  Christmas melodies playing one by one, over and under each other, with a nostalgic reverie.

Oh, Christmas Tree…my childhood comes so quickly to my mind as the carols continue to play.   I was about ten years old,  a little girl who like to wear blue jeans and flannel shirts. A little girl who liked to play tag and make hide-outs in the woods around our neighborhood, splash in rain puddles, run barefoot and share secrets and laughter with my friends.

Like my three younger siblings,  our  anticipation  of Santa Claus  had reached a zenith. Christmas was finally here, at last.   I worried that I had not been “good enough” for Santa but everything must have been ok because I did have a stocking full of little treasures  that morning.    What joy!  One by one the little gifts by were unwrapped by my brothers, Dave and Tommy, and my sister, Patti.  And, I noticed I had one more gift in my stocking than the other three had. It seemed strange, to have an extra gift. I left it till last as we giggled and squirmed amid the wrappings we were discarding as we tore into the gifts.  OH, Christmas morning has is the most wonderful, fun time of a little child’s life! And, it is memorable. Blog_2014_IBelieve_ChristmasStockingPHOTO

At last,  I reached back into the stocking and removed the wrapped gift that was left – the extra one.  Slowly, I peeled back the layers of paper – it was wrapped in several layers of tissue and colorful paper.  And, then, my smile disappeared, because my wonderful gift was a heavy, shiny lump of black coal.  Just me. The Coal.  I never knew who and I never knew why. But I knew then it had come from Santa because I had been  very bad that year. Oh, I believed!

 

One thing for certain is that none of my children ever received a lump of coal from Santa Clause!  They all had hand crafted Christmas stockings that I had made for each of them. And, each little gift in the stockings was given with lots of love.

***

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“I Believe in Angels”

 

Folks often say Christmas is for children,

skating on ice, building  castles of snow.

Oh, I believe Christmas is a holy birthday!

a time to sit by a warm fire, sing holiday songs.

I believe in shepherds!  and angels!

and Three Kings who delivered priceless gifts.

 

It’s a joy to be with friends, to give  gifts.

Adults once again become like children,

who look out  the window to see the first snow.

The Ancients anticipated this birthday

celebration that  began with heavenly songs

when the birth of Messiah was announced by angels.

 

The holy birth was shared with shepherds and angels,

long before mass marketing, tinsel, and glitzy gifts,

The promised Child would heal earth’s children.

Perhaps the plains were deep with snow

on the night of His miraculous birth.

Yes, I believe in angel songs!

 

In the darkest winter night, listen for the songs

sung by a choir of angels.

The greatest heavenly gift

came  to walk with earth’s children.

As i light the Advent wreath I look out at falling snow-

and remember the reason behind this ancient birthday.

 

On bleak December days, consider His birthday.

Listen in the quiet night for angel songs.

The birth of Messiah, announced by the angels,

is the reason for exchanging gifts.

I believe Christ’s birthday is truly for children

like me and you who walk in a world of wintry snow.

 

Every child knows the delight of playing in snow

the joy of receiving gifts in celebration of a birthday-

I believe in birthday songs!

I’m a  child once again as I listen for angels

songs and remember the wise men who brought gifts.

the Annointed Gift from God – I believe in children!

 

*** by Lynda McKinney Lambert.  Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Getting to Know Me

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is “Abbie’s Corner of the World,” written by Abbie Taylor, who lives in Sheridan, WY. In Abbie’s latest blog post she answers some questions about herself. You can find her blog here:

     At the end of her post, she challenged her readers to write a blog using one or all of her questions. This blog article today, is in response to Abbie’s invitation to answer the questions on this blog.

Photo: Lynda in Venice, Italy

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How tall are you?

I am 5 ft. 3  inches. I stand CONFIDENTLY in my own skin. I think our height is a perception that we create by how we carry ourselves and how we speak and look at other people.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

     I want to know that someone will tell me the truth and when I find that I was misled into believing something that was not accurate, it is disappointing to me. If it is not the full truth, then it is a lie. There is no such thing as a “white” lie. To speak anything other than the truth is deceitful and this is one of the things that put a red flag up in my mind immediately.  It is downright insulting to me.  I never want anyone to tell me what they think I want to hear, but I expect them to be fully forthcoming with me.

What’s your favorite food?

I could eat eggplant every day. Eggplant  Parmesian; Egglplant on pizza; Eggplant mixed with hummus;  Eggplant broiled, and anything else that could be made from Eggplant. One of my FAVORITE WORDS is AUBERGINE, which is French for Eggplant.

I am a vegetarian and I love to eat the colorful and delicious fruits and vegetables in season. My grocery shopping goes quickly as I shop the outside edge of the grocery store.

Do you have a pet?

Photo_2014_June22_EffieNestPortrait

I cannot image my life without animals. I have 2 dogs and 4 cats – all rescued. By nature, I am nurturer. I love to take care of my pets, my family, and my home.

Photo: Effie Pearl in her NEST.

What books do you like to read?

I read almost no fiction. My preference is first of all, contemporary poetry. I enjoy memoirs and biographies about notable people in art, literature, music, and philosophy. I am a passionate lover of Greek Mythology and I enjoy doing research on literary works and doing conference presentations and writing academic papers on topics I am researching.

If you could only drink one beverage besides water for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Cranberry Juice mixed with ginger ale.

What kinds of movies do you like to watch?  

     I seldom watch a movie. I have never been much interested in movies.

     Movies that recreate a story based on actual life experiences.
I have no interest in sex or violence in films. My interest is in films with deep philosophical content, but really I prefer to read the book rather than watch a reenactment of a book. I do, however, love live theater and dance performances. My preference is for contemporary forms of theater and dance.

What extracurricular activities did you participate in when you were in high school?

Very few. I am not a “group activity” type of personality. I like to be off making art, reading or writing, or thinking about projects I envision. I do enjoy solitude where those activities can be experienced. In high school, my main passion was reading “beat” poetry and it was there that I first fell in love with Shakespeare. The only classes that held any interest for me was English literature. I never had art classes in high school because somehow there was never “room” on my schedule.  

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

On this question, I will plot out a fantasy plan. It is obvious this is something I have thought about a lot over the years.

     I’d like to experience a year that would be divided up in this way:
January, February and March – Puerto Rico
April and May – Venice, Italy
June, July and August, Salzburg, Austria
September, October and November – Western Pennsylvania
December – Salzburg, Austria (It has always been my dream to be in Austria for the Christmas season.)

 

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Photo: San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2013

What would you like to leave behind as a legacy?

I am a DREAMER and high achiever. So, I would want to pass along a legacy that reflects how I feel about higher education, art and literature. Below are three DREAM legacies I would want to leave behind for others.

1. I would like to provide scholarships for young students to go to Europe.

2. I would like to provide scholarships for non-traditional women to pay for their university expenses – for Fine Arts majors only.

3. I would like to provide scholarships for  university students from a low-income  family.  The student must be pursing a degree in English Literature or a Bachelor of Fine Arts.    The scholarships would be given to them  at the beginning of their final year of study  if they have attained a GPA of 3.5 or above.

Now you know more about me and if you have a BLOG, I would love to pass this challenge on to you so I can know more about you, too. Please write your answers to the questions and post it on your blog. Then, put a link to your blog in the “comments” section here and I will find your response.
Please skip, modify, or add questions of your own design. I used Abbie’s questions. I look forward to learning from you.

Lynda McKinney Lambert is the author of
“Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage.”
It is a collection of poems, drawings, and commentaries written over a ten-year period while traveling in Europe with her students during the summer months, as well as work written from her home in the Village of Wurtemburg, in Western Pennsylvania.
To buy Lynda’s book, you can visit:

http://www.amazon.com/Concerti-Psalms-Pilgrimage-Lynda-Lambert/dp/1929359187/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1414526246&sr=1-1&keywords=Concerti%3A+Psalms+for+the+Pilgrimage

 

Visit my website to see my art and read my blog:

www.lyndalambert.com

Adornment

Visions_Lynda_MeditationsIn the spring of 2014 – I exhibited my recent art work in a show called, “Vision and Revision” at two locations in Western Pennsylvania. First the show appeared at Merrick Art Gallery in New Brighton PA. and after a month-long run, it traveled to New Castle, PA. It was viewed by visitors to Jameson Hospital for nearly three months.

     I  Was the creator and organizer of this remarkable exhibition.   I wrote a few short essays and poems  that appeared beside my art works. I wanted the viewers to have some inside information on how the work was created and how I conceived of the pieces.  The show’s focus was to give the public some educational information on how  a blind artist can still do intricate and colorful art.

I have no central vision, do not see any details, and my world is in shades of grays and I walk in a mist – I see nothing clearly except for the VISIONS I hold within my spirit.

 

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The following poem, “Adornmant,” was framed and on display beside one of my mixed-media fiber and bead works. “Adornment” was published this week in the “Magnets and Ladders Literary Magazine.”

*****

 

 

Adornment – September Daydreams

 “Adornment:  decorations worn to attract attention.”

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

On languid September days

I would like to wear

colorful  gaudy jewelry

every single one

at the same time.

Adornments are worn to enhance autumn days.

 

I’d put the gems on in layers,

an ancient  warrior preparing for battle.

Blue Topaz rings, one on each finger.

My arms, encircled with ornaments.

Protected by brilliant stones-

faceted cherry quartz, deep green turquoise chunks,

nuggets of Baltic amber in different colors,

jet black polished stones,  and waxy yellow opals.

 

I’ll wear a periwinkle blue dancing skirt.

a flowing  chiffon  jacket .

I am a flamboyuant coat-of-armor

that covers voluptuous, full breasts

like a bishop’s  gold encrusted shawl.

My holy, rare, mother-of-pearl talisman

adorns my royal, goddess  chest.

 

I slip my perfumed feet into soft sky blue sandals,

promenade around the spacious room,

in ever widening circles,

among the evening shadows,

under luminescent  spheres

turning high above us.

*****

 

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Note: First published in “Magnets and Ladders” Literary Magazine, Fall/Winter Issue, 2014. Visit:  www.magnetsandladders.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelter From the Wind

 

Bob and I were on our way to Silicone Valley where I would begin  a new job after completing my MFA degree at West Virginia University.  As Bob drove our Nissan 300 ZX car, I had my yellow pad out; I jotted down notes on that pad  the entire trip.

We traveled across the country 

from Ellwood City (in western Pennsylvania)  to Cupertino, California.

In the weeks that followed, I returned to my pages of notes from the trip. I turned them into poems. My notes from driving across NEVADA became the inspiration for  the images in this poem: “Shelter From the Wind.”

This poem was published this week in “Magnets and Ladders Literary Magazine.” It had preciously been published in another literary magazine:

YAWP Magazine for Literature and Arts,
Summer, 2001, #3 – Pittsburgh, PA

***

Poem_Photo_NevadaCasino

 

 

 

Shelter from the Wind
by Lynda McKinney Lambert; 1991

“Welcome to Nevada” flashing lights and casinos
grope together at the base of violet shrouded mountains
Walk in fields of fragrant sage and purple tumbleweed
Stacked in fluffy clumps against fences, by the wind.
Look across this fertile plain of the valley.
Watch the long train moving east to an Oasis.

Trees and grass, water aplenty in the Oasis.
A single gas pump, a shiny slot machine in this lonely casino.
Behind violet shadows on taupe-blue mountains.
Reach down to touch the prickly tumbleweed
that blooms before the winter winds
sweep through the Nevada Oasis valley.

 

Poem_NevadaTumbleweedPhoto

 

 

Winter winds blow frigid in this valley

bringing weighted clouds of ice to the Oasis.

Winter storms howl and moan around the casinos,

sweeping down across the barren mountains,

removing purple from the tumbleweed

and lifting it’s hollow bones to the icy wind.

 

 

 

The casinos are a shelter from the wind.
Tourists stay, trying to win in this frigid Nevada valley
drawn here like thirsty men to an Oasis
seeking water and wealth from the casinos
when the wind blows sharp in the mountains.
The only thing moving is the tumbleweed.

 

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Truckers never see the tumbleweed.
They mark time like notches on a gun through driving Nevada winds
ignoring the signs posted in the valley,
desiring to reach warm arms in the Oasis
or painted lips and blinking lights in the casinos-
trying to delay the next trip over the mountains.

Seasons change slowly in the Nevada mountains,
leaving behind memories like frail tumbleweed.
Dreams pass as fragments in a winter-wind,
and tumbleweed blowing in the valley
as surely as a man travels, looking for an Oasis
and a sure bet in the Silver State casinos.

 

Poem_NevadaWinterScene

Published:
YAWP Magazine for Literature and Arts,
Summer, 2001, #3 – Pittsburgh, PA

Magnets and Ladders, Literary Magazine,
Fall/Winter 2014

 

Lynda Lambert is the author of:  “Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage,” published by Kota’ Press.  You can contact the author for an autographed  copy of this book, or visit www.amazon.com  to purchase the book.

YOU can write a Pantoum

Would you like to learn a new way to CREATE  a poem?

Why not think of your FAVORITE WORD and let’s see where we can go from there.

Let’s write a PANTOUM.

What is a Pantoum?

The Pantoum is a verse form that originated in France in the nineteenth century. It was influenced by the Malayan Pantum verse form.

 

The first two lines of each quatrain present an image or an illusion.

The second two lines of each quatrain convey the theme and meaning and may not necessarily have an obvious connection with the first two lines.

 

HOW to GET STARTED on your Pantoum Poem?

 

I like this form because it repeats everything twice. This gives the poem a feeling of the passage of time; it slows down the pace and gives the sense that there is some “breathing space” when it is read. . Breath is an important consideration in your poems.  Try to write in a way that gives the reader a pause.  The Pantoum will do this due to its continuous repetition.  

This form is cyclical rather than linear.  It’s the perfect form for themes such as Nature, the recurring seasons, history, mythology, and reflection on memories.

 The first thing to do will be to choose a theme that will work with the repetition of the form.

 Group the lines into quatrains (4-line stanzas)

The final line of the LAST  QUATRAIN  in the  Pantoum will be the SAME  as the FIRST LINE  in the first quatrain.  

The poem may have any number of quatrains.

this gives you ample opportunities to write your story.

Lines can be any length.

The Pantoum can rhyme or not. I prefer for my poems to NOT rhyme because I don’t want to limit  the possibilities or force restrictions on the imagery. 

If you choose to rhyme the Pantoum, then it will be “abab” in each quatrain.

 

 

 

How to Write the Form?

Let’s begin now!

 

Write a four line quatrain following the advice I have given above.

 

For the 2nd quatrain:

Lines 2 and 4 of the first quatrain will become lines 1 and 3 in the second quatrain. Then, write lines 1 and 3 of this quatrain.

 

 You will repeat this form and create as many quatrains as you need for your poem.

 

How to END your Pantoum?

 

For the FINAL QUATRAIN:

Line 1:  Repeat line 2 of the quatrain above your FINAL quatrain.

 

Line 2:  Repeat line 3 of the FIRST quatrain.

Line 3: Repeat Line 4 of the quatrain above the final quatrain.

Line 4:  Repeat Line 1 of the first quatrain. (Your Pantoum begins and ends

          with the same line.

 

 

Make sure when you write that first opening line of your poem that it is powerful enough to be the ending thought in your poem.

 

Here is my EXAMPLE of a Pantoum. I wrote it this week. I chose my favorite word, “Hirsch” as the image I wanted to write about in this poem.

“Hirsch” is the German word for “deer.” It is my FAVORITE word. 

 *******

“der Hirsch”

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Aubergine fields reflect the Red Blood Moon.

Throughout, a bracing October night.

Transformed, Yellow Crownbeard’s lemon-flowers

Turned to thorny, dark, violet-brown seed pods.

 

 

Throughout a bracing October night

“I sense slight movements near the Willow tree.”

Turned to thorny, dark, violet-brown seed pods.

“Tonight, we watch the sky for celestial clues.”

 

 

“I sense slight movements near the Willow tree.”

Listen to swift waters surging downstream

“Tonight, we watch the sky for celestial clues.”

der Hirsch strides silently on damp fall leaves.

 

 

Listen to swift waters surging downstream

“Tonight, we watch the sky for celestial clues.”

der Hirsch strides silently on damp leaves

“I long to follow you – Come away my beloved!”

 

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“Tonight, we watch the sky for celestial clues.”

Transformed, Yellow Crownbeard’s lemon-flowers

“I long to follow you – Come away my beloved!”

Aubergine fields reflect the Red Blood Moon.

 

 

_____ by Lynda McKinney Lambert_____

Written October 2014

Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Try to Capture September

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Try to Capture September

Here I am, once again. Yes, it is I, right here, standing  smack dab in the center of the Month of September.

What am I doing this month?
I am checking in to say, “Hello!  I hope you are enjoying the many  shades  of September in the place where you are today.”

I’ve been spending all my days thinking of September. I think of how I can write about her. The  rapid changes that are occurring all around me this month make me dizzy: I’m giddy with bursts of nervous energy.  This zest of high energy  was unexpected – hidden in the mists of the crisp early morning. I floated, it seemed, at the crest of September with my feet stretched downwards to dig into the sands of its shoreline. I have been unsuccessful!

 

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Since the beginning of this fast-moving month I  tried to pay attention to the small nuances and lively  details I experienced. I moved carefully, even cautiously  through the month of Ever-changing September. Yes! I am still standing at the mid-point of the month and I feel like I am lost at sea.

I take a deep breath, hold it in for a couple of seconds as I remembered  my fingers and looked at the computer screen. I exhale. Outside, someone is pounding nails with a hammer. Near my feet, the sleeping dog breathes softly; he shifts in his black furry bed. In his sleep he snorts, and my leather chair squeaks as my aching  fingers  pound out some letters on the stiff keyboard. I move my body forward again, bring my mind back to September. The sun streams through the dusty window. My back seeks the stability of my solid chair and I lean into it, put my hands to my face, close my eyes, and think about my breath. In and out. Inhale, exhale, pause, and inhale again. My chest rises, expands, as I hear the sharp piercing call of the eagle flying above the wall of lofty trees outside this window. I ask myself, “Did I remember to bring the cat inside so he is safe?”

I tried to find the right words for a poem to September.  How illusive they are!

 

YellowCrownBeard_Compressed At the beginning of the month I remembered the gentle surprises I saw. Everything changed so rapidly. I took short walks in the woods and I looked over all of the changes I could find. My two dogs stopped, sniffed the breeze. They tried to catch the news of the day, bring it home and share it with me. We  lingered  for awhile on the narrow path. Sillently,  I watched them stop and stare into the thickets  then  upwards  into the tangeled  trees. They paid close attention to all the wild flowers along our path .  I  touched  those blooms so gently and tried to concentrate on the details – I wanted to  memorize each  slender petal of a  Yellow Crownbeard flower.  I gathered a bouquet of dainty White Snakeroot flowers in my hand for a moment. I carefully touched the leaves that surround it.

“How does it look  in the shade?

How does it move in the gentle breeze?” I asked.

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Try to remember it all!
I reached once again, touched  the trunks of trees as we traveled together in the afternoon sun. I remembered the feeling of textures and the girth of an aged Maple tree in my arms. I tried to encircle it. I needed to get a good feel for the overlapping textures of the Locust tree, put it in my memory bank where Iitcan be retrieved  when winter days become anxious and lonely.

My bare feet are warmed as the heater turns on again. My manicured toes wiggle in the crimson red leather sandals. I will have to put  my summer shoes away  soon because the days are growing colder, darker, and the clouds drifting through this  azure blue afternoon sky are gray and ominous.

Eventually, I realized what I searched for in the lonely month, September. Every new day in this quest twisted,  turned in on me as I searched for the form that would be perfect for my September poem. I felt  like a whirling dervish as I kept mentally marking the days and nights. I was swirling in  ever smaller circles, round and round in a spiral.  My feet were on sifting and shifting sand all the time. My thoughts raced far faster than I could ever write down. My entire body was quivering inside because of all the raw material of sensations that this month was giving me.
At this apogee, I realized September  is a charade. She is undependable, captivating and quixotic. She cannot be captured in the Pantoum I had intended to slip her into. I thought of catching her by a sliver of one of her brightest yellow petals, flattening her between the pages like a  Vilanelle.  But  the volume  turned out to be a book of sand and I simply could not get a grasp on her!

This morning I tried to put some words to my paper. I had to step over obstacles of images and feelings. I thought, “I have to just go after a little piece of September. I need to catch her unawares, grab what I can. It might be just a fragment or an adjective. Do it quickly, and run fast, bring that piece to my paper and slap it down with glue. I’ll have to use E-600 for this job!”

What will be expansive enough to hold uncooperative September?
“Yes! I have got it now,” I reasoned. ” t is an ODE that will celebrate precocious September!”

The  10-line stanzas of my “Ode for September”
will be as  surprising  as she, the Whirling Dervish!

Lazy Summer Days of August

Lazy Summer Days

of August

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

2007Boating_MemDay. 2007Boating.

  August days bring back so many memories to me. I love August days in western Pennsylvania because the temperature begins to drop down in the evenings.  Typically, by the second week of August the nights become cooler.  Instead of the steamy days and smoldering nights of July, we get a welcome feeling of  relief when the night temperature drops down into the 50s. We can actually have the windows open to let the breeze sweep through the house and cleanse it from the humidity and stuffiness of July. It is refreshing to lie in bed at night, listen to the myriad of insect sounds tuning up and playing their individual night songs. The sounds come in layers from every direction. You can catch the beat of a night bird, tree frogs, wild geese flying over in the dark, and insects too numerous to even imagine. We live by the creek and we can hear people laughing from down below the ridge, as they go fishing or just relax and enjoy the flowing water. Some people arrive in the late evening and descend down the steep bank where they find a nice big rock to sit on. They will be at the water’s edge  all night long. In the early morning light, they will come back up the hill,  load their fishing gear into their cars and leave for home. I always think they must feel so relaxed after spending the night along the creek banks doing something they love to do. I understand the reason why this is a theme in so many country songs:  fishing along the river at night, drinking a cold beer, and making love to your sweetheart.

My father was an avid fisherman. On August evenings at twilight,  I used to help him find earth worms.  He wore his miner’s helmet with the light on the front of the helmet.  The eerie yellow-light  sizzled and sputtered as we poured mustard water down the holes, into  the earth worm’s tunnels.  It was only a few seconds until a slimey mustard covered worm came to the surface seeking fresh air and we would grab that worm and put it into Dad’s metal pail with the holes all around the sides of it.   Dad and I turned  over rocks and found creepy things there that were used for Dad’s fishing expedition, too. I remember Dad called them helgrimites.

    ~ I was thinking today about how much I love August  ~

Chicory

Chicory mingles with the Queen Ann Lace. When you see them blooming together you will know that summer is waning. They bloom randomly and spontaneously along the roads and fields of Western Pennsylvania every August.
Chicory mingles with the Queen Ann Lace. When you see them blooming together you will know that summer is waning. They bloom randomly and spontaneously along the roads and fields of Western Pennsylvania every August.

It is always the same memories that flood back over me every August as I walk through the woods, across the meadow, along the  ridge, and down the path to cross the creek.

~ Queen Ann Lace and  Chicory ~

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I love it most of all when it is mingled with the periwinkle blue flowers of Chicory. They are usually found growing together along all the roads in  Western Pennsylvania in early August.  I took my camera outside so I could capture the beauty of these wild flowers and remember them after they have gone for the winter.  Queen Ann Lace is my favorite flower. I think it is because of the delicate flowers that are clustered on the thin light green  stems and the way they seem to float in space and ride the soft wafts of the breeze as they sway back and forth. They seem to be dancing on the air.  The chicory flowers are r studier, almost like a daisy, with petals branching outward from a round, dark, center.  Each little petal comes to a squared off point, looking like a saw tooth edge at the tip, and the color of the Chicory flowers seem to pop out from among the white Queen Ann Lace flowers.

 

I looked back through some early poems I wrote and selected this one because it fits the season. I wrote it in Austria during the summer of 1998.

That particular summer day, I walked along the sidewalk that meanders along the banks of  the  Salzach River in Salzburg, I saw an older couple sitting quietly on the well worn wooden bench. They faced the river. They were so engaged in being together, in their own private conversation that they paid no attention to anyone else.

     I sat in the grass behind them, and I took out my sketchbook.

     I did a pencil sketch of the two friends there on the bench, and later I penned this poem from the memories of the day and the image I had sketched. My travel journals have always been a source of creative inspiration to me. I can go back to them long after I have returned home, even years later, and begin to write about a particular day, place, or moment of my life.

Make it a HABIT to take your journal or sketchbook with you as you travel in the summer time. You will find so many little moments you may want to record and then you can go back to your book later on and begin to create a poem or write an essay about this day.

 

***********

Two Friends on a Bench

Two friends on a bench

Comfort each other

Relaxed conversation

A scratch of the head A nod,

touch of the arm

A gesture of the hand, a look

The afternoon passes

two pidgins fly under the bench

Old friends never notice

the people walking by

they only see each other

From a hidden tree branch

a bird begins to sing

a love song to them.

 

**********

Blog: Copyright 2014.

Poem: Copyright, 1998_ Lynda McKinney . Lambert. All Rights Reserved.

 Written in Salzburg, Austria, July 1998

Book of Remembrance

June 10, 1942
Lidice, Czechlosovakia

 

Lidice_ChildrenSculptures

This June day in western Pennsylvania is everything we could imagine such a day would be. The birds are singing as they normally do on a June morning. The sun was up in the sky well Before 7 am:

     My dogs have had their morning walk. Bob and I have had a good breakfast together; we had toast and eggs and orange juice. Bob has gone into town to do some errands. I am at home in my office. I have some forms that need my attention today and I plan to get them all finished up and sent out today. In the kitchen, country music is playing on the radio. It’s a normal June 10th day in every way.

Eventually, the date of June 10th crossed my mind again. This time though, it was like a soft whisper from the distant past. Then, I began to remember something else. I remembered Lidice. I had visited Lidice once a year, on my summer travels in Europe. This village was so important, I believed, that I took my students there to stroll about the rolling landscape, walk through the fields of summer wild flowers that were blooming everywhere.

When I wrote my book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, I included a short historical note about Lidice. And, after that, I included the poem I wrote, “Book of Remembrance in Lidice.” Below, I have put those two peces from my book into this Blog post today, for you to read.

The journals that I kept each summer, as I traveled, became the source of information I needed to write about Lidice. I have often turned to my journals for material to write new poems and essays.

 

 

Lidice_Field

This is from my book,

pages 9 – 11.

Historical Note:

The earliest records concerning the village of Lidice can be found in the 13th century. The
village was dominated by St. Martin’s church.
It was a typical Czech village and had the first school with central heating in Bohemia in the 1700’s.

St Martin’s church was destroyed during the Hussite wars and again in the Thirty Years’ war.
It was rebuilt and decorated by Czech artists.

On June 9, 1942 the village of Lidice had 102 houses and 493 residents. The oldest woman was 88 years. The youngest infant was 2 weeks. There were 14 farms and a mill in the village.

On June 10, the shooting began:

192 men shot dead
7 women shot dead
52 women martyred in the concentration camp
88 children assassinated

Lidice was leveled to the ground.

___________

Book of Remembrance in Lidice

In the museum
a Book of Remembrance
records the facts –
names, dates, village

A Plexiglas box
holds debris –
sand and dirt
human remains

A basket of flowers on
an embroidered hanky
with lace around the edges
hands clasped in friendship
on a corner of the lace scallop.

Envelopes
with tea colored letters
faded red stamps
written in pencil
postmarked.

A wall for the men
A wall for women
with photos and
names
pf the dead
posted

Eighty-two bronze children stand
In the field just off the path
It’s a secluded place
beneath a solitary pine tree
where chicory frolics with the grass.

I imagine it was such a lovely summer meadow
Clover, Sweet Peas, Dandelion,
Crown Vetch, Queen Anne’s Lace
a large snail in a smooth spiral shell
beneath the silent pine tree

Zum Gedenhen an die millionen kinder, Die Dem 11. Weltkrieg zum opfer gefallen sind.

In Memoriam – Jahre 1942
The Children of Lidice

______________

…all past events are more remote from our senses than the stars of the remotest galaxies, whose own light at least still reaches the
telescopes. But the moment just past is extinguished forever, save for the things made during it.
George Kubler

 

Lidice_Memorial_2010_11

 

Good Information on Sight Loss

I started this blog originally to share information on sight loss.  I found this article today and I hope it is helpful to someone who may read it.  There are warning signs that may indicate you have a problem or could be facing sight loss. Don’t brush those sighs off as just your imagination.  Take a closer look at them, and be sure to follow the advice given in this article.   http://www.jsonline.com/sponsoredarticles/senior-living/7-sightsaving-habits-for-older-adults-to-help-maintain-independence8087000102-260997931.html\\

 

 One in six Americans over age 65 has a visual impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. This is often caused by common eye conditions and diseases. Among older Americans, visual impairment is one of the most significant contributors to loss of independence; it is also associated with a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions, falls, injuries, depression and social isolation.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that seniors follow these seven tips to help protect their vision:

1. Get an eye exam.

eye doctor and patient at exam

Adults age 65 and over should get a medical eye exam every one to two years. Regular eye exams are crucial in detecting changes in vision, which may be a symptom of a treatable eye disease or condition. Seniors who have not had an eye exam in the last three years and for whom cost is a concern may qualify for EyeCare America. This is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which delivers eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost for eligible seniors age 65 and older through its corps of more than 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists. Visitwww.eyecareamerica.org to see if you or your loved ones are eligible.

2. Know the symptoms of vision loss.

coffee cup spilling over

Signs of vision loss may become apparent as reading, writing, shopping, watching television, driving a car and/or recognizing faces become more difficult. Vision loss that may be noticed by friends and family include missing, bumping into or knocking over objects, stepping hesitantly, and squinting or tilting the head when trying to focus.

3. Make eye-healthy food choices.

healthy foods
A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Studies show that foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin are good for eye health. These nutrients are linked to lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye later in life. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.

4. Quit smoking.

man breaking cigarette
Avoiding smoking and second hand smoke – or quitting, for current smokers – are some of the best investments everyone can make for long-term eye health. Smoking increases risk for eye diseases like cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and raises the risks for cardiovascular diseases that indirectly influence eyes’ health. Tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, also worsens dry eye.5. Maintain normal blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

Doctor and patient at blood pressure check

High blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose (sugar) levels all increase the risk of vision loss from an eye disease. Keeping these under control will not only help one’s eyes but also overall health.

6. Get regular physical activity.

3 women on walk

Not only does 30 minutes of exercise a day benefit one’s heart, waistline and energy level, it can also do the eyes a world of good! Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

7. Wear sunglasses.

Couple wearing sunglasses

Exposure to ultra violet (UV) light raises the risks of eye diseases, including cataract, growths on the eye and cancer. Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection, and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.

Visit eyecareamerica.org to see if you are eligible for eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost. For more information about keeping eyes healthy throughout life, visit www.geteyesmart.org.

How to CREATE a POEM from your JOURNAL Entries…

Lynda pauses for a moment in Mirabell Gardens. Photo taken in 2006.
Lynda pauses for a moment in Mirabell Gardens. Photo taken in 2006.

Turn a Journal Entry into a Poem

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

 

 

Are you having trouble trying to get a poem started?

Does it seem like you are looking at a blank wallwhen nothing comes into your imagination?

 

Those are the times when I begin to think in a different way. Instead of looking at the moment, I will metaphorically turn around and look backwards for my inspiration. This works magic for me, usually.

 

Writers often discover treasures for writing  poems and other literary pieces when they look back into history. They seek out additional insight and information on something they  think is interesting. You may want to try this method, too.  Look  into your thoughts or ideas, something that seemed  curious about. Don’t you just want to know more about that thing that captured your attention as you wrote in your journal?. Just one little detail or one image can lead you to unearth some fine  gems in your own writing. Why not give it a try!

 

This one way of working that inspired some of my best pieces. Typically, I keep a travel journal on my trips. I make sketches of interesting things I encountered and I write short notes from day to day as I record my experiences. My travel journals later become the raw material I looked back into long after I returned home. The things I find there can be exciting new revelations, or even unexpected surprises. Sometimes I can see things much better after I have been away from my journal for some time.

 

Let me provide you with an example of one of my journal reflections that gave me information I could use to write a poem.

 

07boblyndaMirabell

 

On a lovely summer day as I enjoyed the fragrance of the fully blooming roses in a formal garden in Salzburg, Austria, I was thinking about hoe I would remember this place. I had my journal with me, and began to jot dow a few notes.  The famous Mirabell Gardens was a place where I vitied so often during my summers there as a college professor who taught a course called, “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.”

 

I wrote some quick notes about the palace – it’s location in the center of Salzburg, and the fascinating Archbishop who commissioned the building of the palace for  his mistress and their many children. I used a basic ball-point pen to make a few line drawings of various aspects of the architecture, the gardens, and the fortress on the mountain top that overlooked the palace.

 

Later, I looked into some historical notes on this intriguing story.  The people who had lived in this magnificent palace became so real to me that I began to imagine their lives in a personal way.  This story did  not have a happy ending. The Archbishop eventually make so many political enemies that he was eventually arrested and imprisoned in the fortress dungeon where he spent the remaining years of his life. He died in prison in the fortress, high above the city, overlooking his palace.  His mistress, Salome Alt, fled with  their children to Wels, another  city where they were safe.

 

You can do a little scribble drawing, take some quick  photos,  or jot down some descriptive notes in a  journal. Later, when there is more time to think it over, use those thoughts and images when you  craft a poem. It only takes a few visual or text notations to awaken memories.

 

Turning Journal Notes into a Poem:

 

Explore the HISTORY:

Consider the history of the place and the people who inhabited it.

Write down some historical notes. They can be made on location as you are visiting a place and that is the best way to begin. Later, when you are back home you can do some additional research to gain even more information to set the stage for the historical context.

 

Example from my journal:

 

Mirabell Palace, sits like a jewel in the heart of Salzburg, Austria. It was originally called Altenau, was built in 1606 by the Prince-Archbishop Wolf Dietrich von Raitenau as a home for his mistress Salome’  Alt and their children.   The famous Mirabell Gardens surround the palace.  Fischer von Erlach designed them .  On the grounds are stone sculptures that are perched on the pillars on each side of the gates as you enter the palace grounds. They are massive, much larger than life. They are depictions of mythological heroes.  In other places you can find sculptures such as unicorns, a Pegasus fountain, gloriously blooming flowers spilling from large urns and a magical rose garden all enclosed by local wrought ironwork.

 

The stone urns sit atop the pilasters that surround the lush gardens.  Each urn seems like it is literally spewing glorious flowers like a waterfall they are bursting forth from the urns. I sit and make pencil sketches of the urns. Each one is different from the others; each has a different design. All are massive.

Wolfe spent the final six years of his life imprisoned in Hohensalzburg Fortress which overlooks the city of Salzburg.  The fortress prison was his destiny as he was held prisoner until his death in 1612.”

 

 

Look over your notes and think about bringing something to life from this place and the people who lived there. What do you think they might have been like?

 

Example from my journal:

When I walked through the mansion, and sat in the gardens, I thought of the love that a man had for a woman and the children they had together. Because Wolfe was an Archbishop, marriage was not permitted for them Yet, she was clearly his mistress. She bore 13 children to him. The Mirabell Palace was built for her and the children.

 

When I learned that Wolfe was imprisoned for the final 6 years of his life, I began to think of what might have been going through his mind in the prison dungeon as he thought of his beautiful mistress and their children. He would never be with them again.

 

I have imagined Wolfe may have smuggled love notes to Salome’  during those six years of imprisonment. The focus I would choose to write about would be the imaginary love notes he sent to her.

 

 

 

My poem developed, as I wrote a series of tiny “love notes” from Wolfe to Salome’ – Here is what developed, in the poem “Salome’s Garden.”

I chose to write each “note” using the Haiku form. It’s often used to express love. Below, you can read  the poem I developed from journal notes, my memories, imagination, and history.

 

Salome’s Garden

(Haiku notes from Wolfe, smuggled from prison)

 

 

IIf we could measure

The length of our time on earth

Before we began the journey

I would have hoped

for golden days alone,

in the garden

with you.

II

Pegasus can fly

When waxed begonias bloom in

Mirabell’s Garden.

 

III

Is our garden lush?

Yellow marigolds touched by

Morning’s cool damp mist?

 

IV

Do our marble stairs

Come to life during the night

When the putti dance?

 

 

V

The orangerie waits

Near the end of the garden

Hidden, out of view.

 

 

VI

The scent of roses

Permeated my cell tonight

Just before twilight.

 

 

VII

“Salome and Wolfe”

We danced down pink marble stairs

Hot candles flickered.

 

 

VIII

Lions guard our steps

To the secret garden path

Where the dwarfs carouse.

 

 

IX

Raphael Donner

Created putti to frolic

On pink marble crests.

 

 

X

I miss your soft touch

Long to be near you at the

End of my journey

 

 

XI

You are my crown jewel

In the snow that melts away

Everything I touch.

 

 

XII

When our garden fades

Icy frost covers windows

I will remember you.

 

 

Xiii

Our children will dance

In gardens we created

From imagination.