Front Porch Magazine
At times life shifts suddenly and leaves us so precariously balanced that we are forced to find new ways to grasp reality. It was under such circumstances that Lynda Allen penned her first lines of poetry in March of 2003. While she had previously written well-received screenplays and documentaries, Allen was not moved to write verse until she faced a prolonged period of malaise following September 11, 2001. Like many, she carried what she describes as a feeling of collective sorrow for the victims, their families, and the world community left struggling with the events of that day. Coupled with transitions that she faced in her own life, this intricate confluence inspired her to find catharsis through poetry.
Today, with two published collections, Rest in the Knowing and Illumine, Allen finds great comfort and affinity with the form. She admits that her poems are spiritual and emotive, evolving as they do from a place of healing and renewal. She says, “My poems are not from the head; rather they are straight from the heart. I’ve learned through the process that it’s the way they are meant to speak to people because that’s how they come to me. I watch as they touch people during readings, speaking to them in a variety of personal ways. No matter what, it’s always a reaction from the heart.”
When asked about her process, Allen considers, “I’m a good listener. When the words come through me they come all at once, so I have to create space and time to write.”
Allen describes her collections as being very much about her personal journey. Rest in the Knowing focuses on a time of transformation in all aspects of her life. As she describes it, the selections move from joy to darkness through seven segments, from clarity to cloudiness and back to clarity again. “It was very much a challenge and a learning process for me, the most important piece being to trust my own heart and guidance,” she explains.
While similar in that it reflects Allen’s personal experiences, Illumine plays additionally with the concepts of spirituality and light. “It’s about knowing the certainty of the light within me and being comfortable with that part of myself. The spiritual journey that is represented in Illumine is more deeply rooted than it was in the first book.”
At its core, Allen believes poetry to be one of the last forms of free expression. She says that because there are myriad structured forms today, holding fast to this last free space for creativity is pivotal to our sense of well-being. In regard to her own poems, Allen ponders, “Trusting the words is the most important piece, because they know their way better than I do. When I force them, the poems end up as something I wouldn’t publish. Fortunately, I am now able to discern when I’m pushing the words. I’ve come to terms with the fact that they will find a life of their own in the world, and I have confidence that they will find the people that will relate to them.”
By Lynda Allen
Grief and joy walk hand in hand.
He weeps of endings,
She sings of beginnings.
His cries bring the night,
Her melody wakes the dawn.
One, they walk the land,
Bringers of both dew and frost.
Ever in the spiral
That leads one back to the other.
He greets her always with relief,
for she reminds him there is a day beyond this day;
She with sadness,
For the taste of joy soon to be lost.
Still they rejoice in each other,
Hands clasped tightly
Grief and joy bound.
A.E. Bayne is a teacher and writer who has lived and worked in Fredericksburg for thirteen years.