Windbreak

Tenacious cypress anchor living windbreak,
detain shreds of traveling mist,
spill glittery, miniature diamonds.

As rough squalls rage ashore,
walkers traverse a protective tunnel
that rebuffs sandblasting zephyrs.

Through an intersection of twisted limbs,
vignettes of spindrift, frenzied spume.
Sailboats yaw, tack between irate breakers

By Jennifer Lagier

wind-sculptured cypress along coast


The author, Jennifer LagierJennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle), Forthcoming: Like a B Movie (FutureCycle Press, 2018).Click here to visit her website. Photo by the author.

The Grodig Stone

Deep ruby red wine
a color in shadow

The delicate flakes of metal
like diamond dust in my drawer

The bottom is plain gray
flat indentations not easy to see

My finger rests on the subtle scar
A pointed oval shape

I am always a visitor
as I walk the familiar path of the village

The winding bicycle paths
surround the mountain peaks

In the crisp early morning light
a rainbow has covered the mountain

Even its memory has vanished
as I walk through fields of Queen Anne’s Lace

In the twilight I look back to the village
the church steeple points to my return

Twilight will soon fall downward
Cover the red tiled roofs and marble staircase.

By Lynda McKinney Lambert, 1999, Salzburg, Austria

rose quartz rock amid stones

I lived in the village of Grodig every summer and taught a course called “Drawing and Writing in Salzburg.” This poem was inspired one day as I stooped over to pick up a pink stone along the road.


Lynda Lambert Author PhotoLynda McKinney Lambert lives in the rural Village of Wurtemburg in western Pennsylvania. She writes poetry and creative non-fiction essays. She retired from teaching as professor of fine arts and humanities at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvannia, USA. Lambert’s first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage was published by Kota Press. Her work appears in Spirit Fire Review; Indiana Voice Journal; Magnets & Ladders; Stylist; Breath & Shadow; Wordgathering; The Avocet; Proverse Hong Kong; Behind our Eyes: A Second Look – Anthology; and other literary journals and anthologies. She is also an actively exhibiting fiber artist. Major themes in her creative works are Nature; Mythology; Art and History.

Lynda McKinney lost most of her sight in 2007 due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. She creates her art work and writing projects via the use of technologies for the blind. The essay above is taken from her book Walking by Inner Vision.

Try To Capture September

I’ve spent days thinking about September. How can I write a poem about her? Rapid changes are occurring all around me this month, and I’m getting dizzy! I’m downright giddy with bursts of nervous energy. This zest charge 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! Since the beginning of this fast−moving month, I tried to pay attention to the small nuances and living details I experienced. I moved carefully, even cautiously, from day to day through the month of ever–changing September. Yes! I am standing at the midpoint of the month, and I still feel like I am lost at sea.

I take a deep breath, hold it in for a couple of seconds as I remember my fingers. I look at the computer screen. I exhale. Nearby, my sleeping dog shifts in his black, furry bed. In his sleep, he snorts, and my leather chair squeaks as my fingers pound out some letters on the stiff keyboard. I move my body forward again and bring my mind back to September. The sun streams through the dusty window.

My back seeks the stability of my solid chair. I raise my hands to my face, close my eyes, and think about my breath. As my chest rises, I become aware of the sharp, piercing call of the eagle flying above the trees outside the window.

Author hiking on forest trailAt the beginning of the month, I took short walks in the woods. I saw subtle changes. My two dogs stopped and sniffed the breeze. They tried to catch the news of the day, to bring it home and share it with me. We paused on the path, and I watched them stop and stare into the privet bush, then up into the trees. They paid close attention to all the wildflowers as I touched them. I tried to concentrate on the details—to memorize each little fine distinction of a fragile yellow crownbeard flower or the dark blue–green leaves of the white snakeroot plant. I asked, “How does it look in the shade? How does it feel to the touch? Try to remember it all!”

I reached out, touched the trunks of trees as we traveled together in the afternoon sun. I recall the feeling of textures and the girth of a tree in my arms as I tried to encircle it. I needed to touch the overlapping surface of the locust tree, to put it in my memory bank, where I can retrieve it when wintry days become anxious and lonely. Eventually, I realize what I searched for in September. Every new day in this quest twists and turns in on me as I search for the form that would be perfect for my September poem. I begin to visualize myself as a whirling dervish. I swirl in circles, round and round, and my feet are on sifting and shifting sand all the time. My thoughts race far faster than I could ever write. My entire body quivers inside because of all the raw sensations that this month gives me.

I realize September is the one month of the year that is a charade. She is undependable, captivating, Sun setting on golden leavesand quixotic. She cannot be captured in the pantoum I had intended to put her into. I think, I’ll catch her by a sliver of one of her yellow petals! Then, I’ll flatten her out between the pages of a villanelle. But as it turns out, she becomes a book of sand, and I simply cannot 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 said, “I have to just go after a little piece of September. I need to catch her unawares, and 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 large enough to hold uncooperative September?

“Yes! I’ve got it now. My tribute to September will be an ode. It will celebrate precocious September perfectly.” My “Ode for September” must be hefty and as unsettled as she.

My ten–line stanzas will be a passionate song about September, the whirling dervish.


Lynda Lambert Author PhotoLynda McKinney Lambert lives in the rural Village of Wurtemburg in western Pennsylvania. She writes poetry and creative non-fiction essays. She retired from teaching as professor of fine arts and humanities at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvannia, USA. Lambert’s first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage was published by Kota Press. Her work appears in Spirit Fire Review; Indiana Voice Journal; Magnets & Ladders; Stylist; Breath & Shadow; Wordgathering; The Avocet; Proverse Hong Kong; Behind our Eyes: A Second Look – Anthology; and other literary journals and anthologies. She is also an actively exhibiting fiber artist. Major themes in her creative works are Nature; Mythology; Art and History.

Lynda McKinney lost most of her sight in 2007 due to Ischemic Optic Neuropathy. She creates her art work and writing projects via the use of technologies for the blind. The essay above is taken from her book Walking by Inner Vision.

Discover a Rail Trail

Rail Trail along forest meadowWhenever we want to experience an excursion on a different walking track, we go in search of a rail trail. These trails are shared-use pathways, recycled from abandoned railway corridors, and set aside only for walking, cycling or horse riding. Rail trails link country villages and small towns. They meander through scenic forests and picturesque rural settings, just as railways did in the past. Following the routes of most rail trails, one will cut through hills, walk under roads, over embankments and across gullies and creeks. Despite the changes in terrain, the trails are comfortable to walk on. This is because the gradient on which the trail was originally constructed had to accommodate a large locomotive, pulling a long string of railway cars.

When a railway closes, the rails are removed but the bridges and cuttings still remain. These are often rebuilt and strengthened to be structurally sound. Signs provide easy-to- follow directions, and guide booklets are always available. Rail trail travellers are also well catered for. Wineries, cafes, B&Bs and small nearby villages accommodate the longer overnight journeys that people sometimes make.

Apart from being lovely places to hike through, rail trails also function as linear conservation Bright Pink Christmas Orchidcorridors, protecting native plants and animals. In December 2013, our Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Ranger, Peter Kleis, discovered a rare Christmas orchid, the Dipodium punctatum. The Queensland Herbarium advised, ‘this Australian native terrestrial orchid is a saprophyte—a leafless plant—that lives and feeds on decaying wood, similar to a fungus.’ The orchid will die if it is removed from its environment, and is a fine example of the special surprises that can be encountered while walking a rail trail.

We love where we live because a short remnant of a rail trail leads directly past the back of our home. Across from this unsealed walkway stretches the Samford State Forest, filled with native vegetation and wild birds. Sitting on our open back veranda with coffee and a snack, we wave to couples pushing strollers, children on bicycles, walkers and horse riders. Everyone enjoys this peaceful pathway.

Rail trails exist world-wide, so research one near you and rather than ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ it, get right out into nature and experience it.


Visit Mary’s Website: Nature As Art and Inspiration

For more information about Rail Trails in Australia visit the Rail Trails site at RailTrails.org.

 

Cloud Watching Wall

The cool breeze feels heavenly
on a sweltering hot day
while trekking through the countryside
even the birds lie low and quiet
conserving energy
for the evening foraging
when generally
the temperatures are more merciful

I happen upon an old stone wall
waiting for me at the edge of the field
it invites me to climb up and rest
I lay back and gaze at the sky
and lazily watch each cloud go by
as the formations drift high above
they combine to form abstract shapes
then slowly pull apart into wisps of vapor

An hour passes too quickly
and it is time for me to go
so once more I continue my journey
filled with delight by my afternoon adventure
of encountering dragons and pirate ships
and other such wondrous fantasies
as I leave promise myself to return soon
To my private cloud watching wall

By Ann Christine Tabaka

Clouds above an old stone wall


Tabaka Author PhotoAnn Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies. Chris has been selected as the resident Haiku poet for Stanzaic Stylings.

Photo of old stone wall in the Yorkshire Dales, England, by Brenda Kean