October 4, 2016

Four Poems by Lynda McKinney Lambert: "Insight," "Zen Enlightenment," “An Afternoon Embroidery Lesson,” and “Appalachian Alchemy"

In the fall of 2008, Lynda McKinney Lambert retired from her teaching career at Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA where she was Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities. She now divides her days between writing, knitting and creating mixed-media fiber art. She exhibits her art in national & international exhibitions. Lambert’s writing focus is poetry and creative non-fiction. Currently, she has three new books in development. One is creative non-fiction essays, and two are poetry books. She is the author of "Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage," published by Kota Press.


Alone on a stage of altered chords
bright light and blue notes
Charlie Parker‘s saxophone skyrockets
David Bowie struts and shouts, “White Light”
enjambment of electric experiments
glam, pop-rock innovations stride
hot hipster beatnik and rock star Ikons
incite riots around the world
jazz bebop shrieks out in pain
“Keep your eyes shut!”
location is crucial to insight
meaningful, rapid notes
nobody imagined this dream
“Out of sight” means “It’s fabulous!”
Parker does a blazing virtuoso while Bowie’s
quantum leaps reach a new place in time
rise and fall amid cited references
sight – it’s slightly difficult to see
transparency through his clean notes
until Bowie finally sings them home
vision is something that can’t be seen
“What your eyeballs tell you can be a lie!”
X-ray vision arrives through the ears
Yardbird harmonizes with Bowie’s swag
Zingy Stardust. Bird of Paradise. What a Sight!

(Note: A memorial celebration: Charles "Charlie" Parker, Jr. (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955) David Bowie was the stage name of David Robert Jones (January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016)

Zen Enlightenment

Abstract thoughts
begin when an open mind
considers the first mark
drawn on paper or
encounters words not
familiar, ordinary
gestures. Non-traditional
hierarchy. Esoteric enlightenment
ideas are not connected
(just so you
know). Abstracts hold
layers of meaning and
multiple voices speak
Nouns – Adjectives - Verbs
obscure and impractical
passages without purpose
quiet contemplation
react to shape, form, color, line
sketched out points of outlined
theoretical ideas
useless embodiment
verbs considered only in the mind
without a specific instance or
xerotic dry ideas
Yoga contemplation – a centered mind -
Zen enlightenment.

An Afternoon Embroidery Lesson

An afternoon embroidery lesson
Beauty is a blue silk thread
Carefully stitched into ivory cloth
Did she know my destiny? My
Education begins in a quiet place
For a little girl and her mother
Grandmother’s kitchen
Holding on to a slender needle
I slid through the secret places
Journeys of self-discoveries
Kitchens are sacred spaces
Lost in timeless whispers
My mother’s patience is endless
Needles, cloth, scissors, floss
Objects are symbolic metaphors
Powerful as distant legends
Questions – could she
Recognize these private moments?
Sitting quietly with her child
Time and inspiration are gifts
Universal connections for life
Visualized my inner longings
Weaving strands of sunny days
X-stitch patterns sewed in a weave
Yellow-gold knotted threads
Zinnias bloomed on my holy cloth.

Appalachian Alchemy

Aaron Copland conjured up a simple
“Ballet for Martha,” in suffused light
Chamber orchestration for 13 instruments
Described the slow Appalachian life
Eight sections touched by lively notes
Fused a double string quartet with Martha
Grahams dancing feet in Pennsylvania
Her leg raised high above her brunette hair
Inclined, her arms formed a Gothic arch
Journey on the path to meet Springtime
Keynotes hum to religious themes
Lone clarinet intones Shaker melodies
Moses bent over and removed his sandals
Nimble Martha danced on sacred ground
Offered up her gifts of swirling skirts
Prayers from ancient twirling deities
Quatro, quarter-note or throw a four
Roman calendars stacked the deck
Springtime showers brought bluebells
Transmutation of earthy elements into tulips
Unison strings burst into A-major arpeggios
Violet extremes and wedges of flight
Where Appalachian alchemy encounters
X-amount of dancers on the stage
Yesterday, Copland peered over his glasses
Zealous Martha captured the spell-bound audience.

(Note: Aaron Copland composed four versions of the ballet, Appalachian Spring, for Martha Graham in the 1940s.)

~Lynda McKinney Lambert

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