Is This Child Safe?


Is This Child Safe?

I have been thinking about holidays and children. Not just American children, but children in the UK and children in India. I have been worrying about children in Russia and in Jamaica.

I have been thinking of children who don’t have good role models or lunch money. I have been thinking about children who are afraid and ones who like to look at books and yet they can’t read. They can’t write their names. This is for all the children around the globe, every last noisy, coughing, running, laughing, crying, dirty, sassy one of them. I hope they have someone to hug them tonight when they go to bed and I hope they did not see violence today.

 

 

 

If the Child is Safe

We pray for children

who sneak popsicles before supper,

who erase holes in math workbooks,

who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those

who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,

who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers.

who never counted ” potatoes”,

who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,

who never go to the circus,

who live in an x-rated world.

We pray for children

who bring us sticky kisses and fistfulls of dandelions,

who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those

who never get dessert,

who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents die,

who can’t find any bread to steal,

who don’t have any rooms to clean up,

whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,

whose monsters are real.

We pray for children

who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,

who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,

who like ghost stories,

who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse the tub,

who get visits from the tooth fairy,

who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,

who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,

whose tears we sometimes laugh at and

whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for children who want to be carried

and for those who must,

for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.

For those we smother…and for those who will grab

the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

—Marian Wright Edelman

 

 

This time of year, everyone is looking for presents. Some people just have everything or you don’t know them well enough to be certain to find the right present. A lot of time gets wasted on trying to find the perfect item. Well, I have a suggestion. You can go to Heifer.com and decide how much you want to spend. Your money will be added to others and a flock of chicks, ducks or geese will be sent to a village where there is extreme famine and poverty. You can send a part of a cow or goat. It is your choice. These gifts will help to feed their owners and the animals can breed and everyone is better off. You get a card to send to your friend or relative and the family or village gets what you pick for them. Perhaps, this year because of your kindness, there will be more children who will not go hungry and will be ever so grateful for the kind stranger who helped fill their belly.

Heifer. com is an organization which has been around for seventy years. They provide livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of people who struggle to have reliable sources of food. They are currently working in thirty countries. they now  also give honey bees and the training to raise them, llamas, rabbits, stoves, irrigation systems and other items. Not only food but clothes are bought and children are going to school who couldn’t before. Women are becoming breadwinners. Men are learning how to use modern farming techniques. This organization continues to grow and make a larger impact on the people who so desperately need our assistance so they will be able to help themselves. I invite you to go to Heifer. com and give to them in the name of someone on your list this year.

 

 

What we can do for a child of this world

 

 

Children around the world playing. We can help them to continue to do so.

 

 

Namaste

Barbara

Ninety-One


Last evening, I attended a Tony Bennett concert on the Biltmore Estate. It was a magical evening set on the South lawn of the house. As my friends and I sat in the audience, the mountains rose and the sky was lit with color. It was a wonderful experience of music, nostalgia and beauty. My desire is to share some of that with all of you.

 

Ninety-One

 

The Stage

The people

The murmur

People settling

Bandstand is erect waiting

in anticipation.

Audience shuffling, moving

Looking

over right shoulder

Another Show

spectacular in beauty

Mountains in repose

intense sunset lighting sky —

Reds, oranges, yellows

The Bandstand —

The notes, rich music fills ears

As color fill eyes.

A voice, his voice. Amazing

His voice rises up

Transports listeners

Back, back to another time

Perhaps a more

innocent period

Big Band, Band Leader

Conducts

Men, women dance

away evenings

Some fall —

in and out of love.

Music fills ears

Color fills eyes

Spectacular!

He sings. He sings at 91.

His voice rises up —

He is enjoying himself

And happy to be alive!

—Poem and Photographs Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

Biltmore House
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

Tony Bennett with Pianist and Guitarist
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

 

Tony Bennett with Pianist and Guitarist
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

Tony Bennett with drummer, guitarist and bassist
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

sunset
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

Sunset with Mountains
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

Biltmore After Dark
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

Biltmore after Dark
Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Reach up to the Sky


Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2017

Reach up to the Sky

The sky was Carolina Blue

Sun rays chase

butterflies and bees

Wind sweeps mountains and forests

Wind dances and flutters

through the trees

Carrying Nature’s fragrance

to the bees.

Off to see the Gorge and Falls

Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2017

Can’t grasp the Beauty

all at once

Mountains, virgin forests,

gorge, clean air

Lens to eye – must capture it

Mountains, forests,

Lush greenery.

Hawks sail over gorge

Riding wind

Fresh water flowing

Amongst the boulders

Deer drinking – listening…

listening to humans

Far away

Falls…

Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2017

Picturesque, tumbling

Flowing over rock

Hush…hear the water

in its journey

along to the

next falls

Sun warms skin – insects buzz on trail

Stop along the way

to put lens to eye

Many trees posing for

photograph

Acquiescing

Feel the loving energy

Lift up arms to sky

Be one with all of Life…

Reach up and grab your

piece of the sky

Your piece of all that is

strong and good.

Reach up and respect all Life

We come from the same

Star dust

Reach up to the sky and

in gratitude bless

All the life

Around you.

copyright 2017 Barbara Mattio

Honoring Harriet Tubman


National Historic Park Honoring Harriet Tubman May Soon Become a Reality

Kirstin Fawcett

Harriet Tubman’s residence near Auburn, New York is now closer than ever to becoming an official national historic park, the Associated Press reports.

According to New York state senator Charles Schumer, the Department of the Interior has finalized a land transfer agreement that allows for the National Park Service to create the park. Now, all the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park needs to become a reality is approval from the secretary of the interior. (Congress approved legislation to create the park in December 2014, along with a similar park near Tubman’s birthplace on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.)

In 1859, the famed Underground Railroad conductor moved to the Auburn area—then home to a strong abolitionist community—after New York senator William Seward offered to sell her his home. Tubman lived there with her parents, and in 1896, purchased 25 acres of adjoining land to build a housing community for elderly African-Americans, eventually called the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged. In 1903, Tubman deeded the home to a local church, the Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church, on the condition that they manage the home.

The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park will include several properties, Syracuse.com reports. The land transfer deal approved by the Department of the Interior allows for the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. and AME Zion Church to sell its ownership of the church and the Home for the Aged Rectory to the federal government. Meanwhile, Tubman’s former home, the Home for the Aged, and a historic barn will be jointly run by the National Park Service and Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. through a preservation easement.

“As a New Yorker and an American, I’m deeply proud to see Tubman Park finally become a reality,” Schumer said in a statement quoted by Syracuse.com. “The Tubman Historic Park in Auburn will be a magnet for visitors that will tell the amazing story of Harriet Tubman’s life, an extraordinary American, and her story deserves to be shared with our children and grandchildren. This park will serve that solemn purpose and preserve her legacy for countless generations to come.”

 

 

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I Like To Think of Harriet Tubman
by Susan Griffin

I like to think of Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman who carried a revolver,
who had a scar on her head from a rock through
by a slave-master (because she
talked back), and who
had a ransom on her head
of thousands of dollars and who
was never caught, and who
had no use for the law
when the law was wrong,
who defied the law, I like
to think of her.
I like to think of her especially
when I think of the problem of
feeding children.

The legal answer
to the problem of feeding children
is ten free lunches every month,
being equal, in the child’s real life,
to eating lunch every other day.
Monday, but not Tuesday.
I like to think of the President
eating lunch Monday, but not
Tuesday.
And when I think of the President
and the law, and the problem of
feeding children, I like to
think of Harriet Tubman
and her revolver.

And then sometimes
I think of the President
and other men,
men who practice the law,
who revere the law,
who make the law,
who enforce the law
who live behind
and operate through
and feed themselves
at the expense of
starving children
because of the law,
men who sit in paneled offices
and think about vacations
and tell women
whose care it is
to feed children
not to be hysterical
not to be hysterical as in the word
hysterikos, the greek for
womb suffering,
not to suffer in their wombs,
not to care,
not to bother the men
because they want to think
of other things
and do not want
to take the women seriously.
I want them
to take women seriously
I want them to think about Harriet Tubman,
and remember,
remember she was beat by a white man
and she lived
and she lived to redress her grievances
and she lived in swamps
and wore the clothes of a man
bringing hundreds of fugitives from
slavery, and was never caught,
and led an army,
and won a battle,
and defied the laws
because the laws were wrong, I want men
to take us seriously.
I am tired of wanting them to think
about right and wrong.
I want them to fear.
I want them to feel fear now
as I have felt suffering in the womb, and
I want them
to know
that there is always a time
there is always a time to make right
what is wrong,
there is always a time
for retribution
and that time
is beginning.

 

 

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The African American and their his/herstory with Missionaries.

The African American and their his/herstory with Missionaries.

 

 

 

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What is the Importance of a Tree?


A few days ago, when I went to the Light Center because I was ill, I was thinking about the mountains. The trees were soaring over head and the air was so clean and fresh. I thought about how amazing it must have been to have traveled here 100-200 years ago. I was looking at the trees and wondering how long they had been there. Below are some of the pictures I took.

Veterans of Foreign Wars asked the government to set aside a fitting stand of trees to the memory of Joyce Kilmer. Kilmer was both a WWI soldier and a poet.  He is remembered most for his nature poetry and his poem “Trees.”

 

Trees

 

I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet

flowing breast.

 

A tree that looks at God all day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair.

 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain.

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

—Joyce Kilmer

 

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Evergreens. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2014

Evergreens. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2014

“Let my mind bear sweet fruit and

fragrant flowers,

as this tree is planted of the soil of Thy spirit.

—with branches downwards:

 

I see Thy hand

blessing me

—-rising upwards.

 

in the night:

My heart stands in waiting and hope

as the trees stand through the darkness of night.”

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

 

The trees give us clean air and shade in the summer. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

The trees give us clean air and shade in the summer. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

 

“How wonderful, O Lord, are the works of your hands!

The heavens declare Your glory,

the arch of sky display Your handiwork

In Your love You have given us the power

to behold the beauty of Your world

robed in all its splendor

The sun and the stars, the valleys and hills,

the rivers and lakes all disclose Your presence.

The roaring breakers of the sea tell of Your awesome Might,

the beasts of the field and the bird of the air

bespeak Your wondrous will.

In Your goodness You have made us able to hear

the music of the world. The voices of loved ones

reveal to us that You are in our midst.

A divine voice sings through all creation.”

—Jewish Prayer

 

 

The tree seem to scrape the sky

The trees seem to scrape the sky. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

Till It Happens to You


At this year’s Oscars, Lady Gaga and a stage of Sexual Violence Survivors took a stand for all the victims, with her anthem which became the theme for the documentary “Hunting Ground” about sexual violence on college campuses.

 

 

 

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A Woman’s Issue

 

The woman in the spiked device that locks around the waist and between

the legs, with holes in it like a tea strainer

is Exhibit A.

 

The woman in black with a net window

to see through and a four inch

wooden peg jammed up

between her legs so she can’t be raped

is Exhibit B.

 

Exhibit C is the young girl

dragged into the bush by the midwifes

and made to sing while they scrape the flesh

from between her legs, then tie her thighs

till she scabs over and is called healed.

Now she can be married.

For each childbirth they’ll cut her

open, then sew her up.

Men like tight women.

The ones that die are carefully buried.

 

The next exhibit lies flat on her back

while eighty men a night

move through her, ten an hour.

She looks at the ceiling,listens

to the door open and close.

A bell keeps ringing

Nobody knows how she got here.

 

You’ll notice that what they have in common

is between the legs. Is this

why wars are fought?

Enemy territory, no man’s land,

to be entered furtively,

fenced, owned, but never surely,

scene of these desperate forays

at midnight, captures

and sticky murders, doctors’ rubber gloves

greasy with blood, flesh made inert, the surge

of your own uneasy power.

 

This is no museum.

Who invented the word love?

 

—————–Margaret Atwood, feminist author and poet

Author of the Handwife’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

 

 

 

 

 

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