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It’s Friday; the weather is perfect…too warm for the season already.

The silence of winter, the sleeping trees and frosty mornings, have given way to the fecundity and frenzy of growth as buds emerge and birds return to the lake.
And the people.
People with noisy, peace-splitting, careless joie de vivre erupt onto the water, shattering the short-lived illusion that we lived in an isolated part of heaven…

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Posted by on April 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Guardian

Guardian

In the darkness of the deepest night

A star swallowed up her light

And flung it into the depths of time and space

Now the Earth rolls and spins beneath my feet

in a treacherous trajectory of might

It gathered up its power

and burst its orbit in its flight

Mother gathered up the shattered shards

And slowly it grew again to reunite

The fragments of our fragile selves

Now I emerge again, sword in hand

Ready for another fight

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Image from : https://parkerslaundrybasket.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/birth-of-a-star/

 

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2017 in astronomy, feminism, poetry, Uncategorized

 

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International Women’s Day

Many years ago, when I worked as a teacher in South Africa, a male colleague remarked, “You are a feminist, why don’t you drive the school bus?”

Our students were bussed home after their extra-curricular activities and it was the male teachers who were in charge of driving them home. 

I looked him in the eye and said, “The day we get paid the same as men, I will!”

It has been a long, long road to achieve parity with our male counterparts and the struggle continues to this very day.

In honor of every woman, this day, I would like to say, “You are worthy. You are strong. Let the fires of divine discontent continue to fuel you as women globally fight for recognition of their contributions and achievements.” 

Be empowered, fierce and courageous!

#InternationalWomensDay #Women 

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

It’s Here!

It’s Here!

Now available for Kindle and e-readers as well as in print!

 

 

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Petersburg, #ViginiaIsNotForLovers

One can catch glimpses of rundown homes and impoverished neighborhoods as you pass by Petersburg in winter when the grey skeletons of trees and shrubs lay bare the sight that is hidden from the traveler’s eyes in summer.

What the eye doesn’t see, the heart does not grieve over, is an old saying and it is never a truer statement when the winter cruelly reveals a blighted, forgotten and neglected landscape.

Poverty is not merely an economic reality. It is also a political one in which years and years of attempts to solve the situation have still not improved conditions for millions of people struggling to make ends meet – not only here but across the country.

Petersburg, I discovered, has a fascinating history.

Once a vital center for of manufacturing and commerce, it also played a large part in the slave trade and the export of goods thanks in large part to the Appomattox River and the canals and waterways which were constructed to make it navigable.

It was a settlement in the early 1600’s, and became an incorporated city in 1748 and was occupied by the British in the American Revolutionary War of 1775-1783. It became a destination for many freed slaves and during the American Civil War. The city was besieged for nine months in 1864-5 and heavily bombed, destroying large parts of what was then the second largest city in Virginia. It was also a major railroad hub.

A failure on the part of city governance to secure extra land to enlarge the city, as well as several major industries moving their operations to areas where labor was cheaper, led to a steady decline in tax revenue for Petersburg. The middle class dwindled, and the working class became more and more impoverished.

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The old town is seeing new life as cheaper rents have led to many small specialty stores, restaurants and artsy establishments making this a destination for tourists. The old town is rich in history and good use has been made of some renovated buildings which have been refurbished as apartments and lofts. Some of the old cobbled streets remain in use which lends authenticity to the setting.

Image result for pocahontas island museum   Pocahontas Island, which played a vital role during the slave trade years and is the oldest black community in the country, is in sore need of attention: one, a house which was important in the Underground Railroad, and another, a museum dedicated to Black History in the area would make great additions to the cultural history of our country.

The Visitor Center as well as several other historical sites no longer receive funding and rely on non-profits and donations to remain in good running order which is a terrible shame.

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Farmers’ Market

It seems, sadly, that black history is regarded as something separate from “white” history, as if the one had nothing to do with the other. We are all products of our historical narrative, it is the past, we cannot change it or white-wash it, but we can attempt to build bridges to honoring the struggle and acknowledging that African Americans shouldn’t be sidelined because their struggle was real and every bit as painful as the white men who battled the British and later, their own compatriots during the Civil War.

So next time, make Petersburg a destination, explore, walk around, and enrich your life experience because this is OUR history too – and be sure to pay a visit to the historic Blandford Cemetery if you enjoy graveyards.    Image result for blandford cemetery petersburg va

The oldest grave dates back to 1702 but more than that, thirty thousand  Confederate soldiers are buried there. There is a palpable air of grief that hangs in the air. I left there with a very sore heart, not only for those whose voices were stilled forever, but also for a city that needs a real helping hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image above from http://www.drivei95.com/Newsletters/October_2009.html

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Ruins of the Peter Jones Trading Station

Image on right from http://www.historicPetersburg.org

 

 

Other interesting information:

https://riverconfluences.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/early-navigation-and-power-on-the-appomattox-river/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Petersburg,_Virginia

http://pocahontasislandmuseum.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blandford_Cemetery

To support the preservation of Petersburg:  Historic Petersburg Foundation, Inc. is registered with Amazon Smile.hpf-amazon-smile

Amazon will donate .5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to HPF whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

Please shop at smile.amazon.com or use this link http://smile.amazon.com/ch/54-6074925

(The above was taken from http://www.historicpetersburg.org/

 and I share it in an endeavor to promote the wonderful, rich history of Petersburg.)

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in preservation, tourism, Uncategorized, US History

 

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Poets in Song

Poets in Song

Bob Dylan‘s recent nomination as winner of the Nobel Prize for literature came as a bit of a surprise for many, yet those who have listened to his music over the past 40-plus years, are all cheering on the sidelines. We know that this is not a tortured soul who struggled to write; his words and ideas flow from an unnamed, inchoate source, words like waterfalls feeding the barren landscapes of our minds, the imagery conjured up out of our perceptions and experience and coalescing into anthems that served us well in turbulent times. His many, many songs found a niche in our hearts as he wrote about the human experience: the common bond of love, hate, revenge and stories that make up our cultural psyche.

 

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Image: Forums.chorus.fm

 

My favorite poet songwriters are Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison who bring a depth to their writing; Dylan’s sometimes facile meanderings have not always resonated with me, but that is my preference since it mirrors my own inner search to find meaning in my life. The subtle references in their songs to a deeper inner struggle, and a profound connection to something greater than themselves makes them timeless. They are not mere story tellers like Dylan; they probe the intellect and and the choices we make in life, the struggles and joys, the love and angst that make being human worthwhile.   Image result for bob dylan

 

 

 

Other writers such as Gordon Lightfoot, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins (and there are many more from the era of Folk Music) achieved the same kind of wordsmithing beauty that soothed the aching heart, and it was set to music that speaks to cross-generational lines.

 

 

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Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, image from Rolling Stone

 

How fortunate was I to have grown up at that time, when music meant something, when it wasn’t just a beat and nonsensical rhymes filled with trivialities, innuendo and scatological references. The evanescent quality of today’s music does not appeal to me at all, it has become a background noise which I prefer to avoid.

To date there has been no word from Mr. Dylan about accepting his Nobel prize. This is his choice. He never tried to appeal to the mainstream and always followed the dictates of his own sensibilities. Whether he publicly accepts or rejects the honor makes no difference, his poetry is forever part of our culture.

 

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9 Bob Dylan Quotes With Photos (This Week)

 

Image of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/bob-dylans-20-musical-heroes/

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Folk music, Nobel Prize, poetry, Uncategorized

 

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The Poet

The Poet

Do I look like a poet?                                                        s5000256

He asked

 

No

I said

 

Words that flow from the soul

Leave a mark on

the face

I said.

 

 

 

 

Featured Image at top of page from http://womenshistory.about.com/od/aframerwriters/ss/African-American-Women-Writers.htm

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in authors, poetry, Uncategorized

 

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