Posts Tagged ‘River of Stars’

Skean copy Whenever the night sky is clear, I look for stars. When I find the first star of evening, I always wish upon it. And now, I find myself hoping for 4 and 5 star reviews for my books. How strange to watch for stars on a website rather than twinkling in the heavens!

Two new reviews of my fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, have been posted. Thanks to Ellen Fritz of Books4Tomorrow for her 5 star review: http://bookstomorrow.blogspot.com/2013/06/review-enchanted-skean-by-vonnie.html And thanks to Aimee Brown of Getting Your Read On for her 4 star review: http://gettingyourreadonaimeebrown.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-enchanted-skeen-by-vonnie-winslow.html I keep my fingers crossed that more readers and reviewers will enjoy my newest book and give it lots of stars.

River of Stars fc But I can’t leave my readers with such a meager blog post – so I’ll share the poem, Orion, from my 2nd book of myth-based poetry, River of Stars. Enjoy!


At the Science Center poetry reading,

the projectionist

activates the planetarium’s dome,

focuses on Orion:

the Great Hunter strides across the heavens,

arms flung wide, ever questing

after that which he cannot have.

Lepus the Hare, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Taurus…

one constellation after another flashes

above us till the roof is a picturebook

filled with celestial allegories.

In the dim planetarium after the show,

seven poets share their work.

Six choose to remain earthbound —

while I, a mere storyteller

inspired by star fire and mythology,

pick up an astronomy book

and begin the journey.

Afterwards, I shake a few hands,

wander into the Baltimore streets,

find my car, glance up.

Even in the city,

Orion appears large and formidable

as he reaches, like humankind,

across the gulf of distance and time

and tries to pluck

the stars from the sky.

©Vonnie Winslow Crist

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Today, at Washington National Cathedral, the USA said good-bye to astronaut Neil Armstrong (Aug. 5, 1930 – Aug. 25, 2012). High above the crowd of people there honoring a true American hero in one of that cathedral’s stained glass windows is embedded a moon rock the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, gave to that church.

Real heroes are hard to come by. The men who traveled to the moon, especially those pioneers aboard Apollo 11, are heroes. And they left a plague on the surface of the moon that reads: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

I never got to meet Neil, but from all accounts he was a reluctant hero. He and his fellow astronauts have always been heroes to me. I wrote a poem years ago about my experience that fateful summer night when Neil left the first footprint in moon dust which was included in River of Stars, one of my books of poetry. I’ve posted it here for all to read:

Apollo 11

On July 20, 1969,

at the Manor Care Nursing Home

in the second floor television room,

two gnarled women and I watched

Buzz Aldrin land The Eagle.

I held my breath

as Neil Armstrong descended

the lunar module’s stairs,

as his left foot stirred the dust

of The Sea of Tranquility.

It was 10:56 P.M. —

long past patients’ lights-out,

my nursing aide shift almost ended.

But none of us left.

“That’s one small step for a man,

one giant leap

for mankind,” Neil exclaimed.

“Humankind,” a resident corrected

as she leaned closer to the TV,

raised an arthritic hand,


Beyond the set,

through thermal-plated windows,

I contemplated the moon

and knew that 240,000 miles away,

three men looked up into the black sky

at a blue-green sphere

with the same longing.

Copyright 2002 Vonnie Winslow Crist, River of Stars, Lite Circle Books.

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I’d prepared a different post for today, but decided instead to comment on the passing of astronaut, Sally Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012).

I’ve always been a fan of traveling in space, even if it’s only in the earth’s orbit. As a child, teen, and later as an adult, I’d stay up late or get up early if necessary to watch the launch or landing of a rocket, space capsule, or the space shuttle. I was lucky to view the evening launch of Atlantis from just outside the gates to the Kennedy Space Center (the old Cape Canaveral). It was the last successful launch prior to the Challenger disaster, and one of the most memorable events of my life.

So inspired was I by Sally Ride (and her Russian counterpart), that I included a poem dedicated to them in one of my poetry books, River of Stars. Here is the entire poem for your reading enjoyment:

 Being First

for Sally Ride and Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina was first,

forty-nine orbits in Vostok 6 —

but she was a cosmonaut

and cold war attitudes

diminished her achievement.

Twenty years later,

when the shuttle blasted off

the launch pad in June’83,

half of the western world felt

their hearts lift, soar,

escape gravity with Sally.

 And she did it again —

climbed aboard the thirteenth mission,

a woman who didn’t give credence

to superstitions,

and overcame mechanical problems

to launch the Earth Radiation Satellite

from Challenger’s cargo bay.

There is nobility in being first,

of risking all for triumph or death,

that we of lesser determination,

lesser courage, admire,

and during rare moments

of our own bravery —


Copyright 2002 Vonnie Winslow Crist, River of Stars, Lite Circle Books

Thank you, Sally Ride, for proving that women could be equals in space. And by your professionalism and determination, showing girls (and women) that they, too, could reach the stars.

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 Readers, the challenge is over. Sigh. AuthorsBookshop has closed (10-31-11) with few sales of the 3 books I had listed to help raise money for a worthy cause. Still, I will write a check of my own funds to support Books for Boots.

If you haven’t heard of this non-profit organization, check them out. The money donated to Books for Boots is used “to help greviously wounded war heroes” in VA hospitals where it’s used for special needs and emergencies (including helping families of the soldiers with travel costs when they make  a bedside visit).

Why would I be interested in donating money to this organization? First, it’s a great way to show support for veterans who were injured while serving our country. Plus, I have a son who’s recently returned from serving in Iraq. He was lucky and wasn’t severely  injured — but a number of other soldiers he served with weren’t so lucky. I feel it’s a small thing I can do for the young men and women who’ve volunteered to serve, and have been wounded doing so.

Before AuthorsBookshop closed, had you been looking for a good collection of poetry (Essential Fables and River of Stars) or an anthology of science fiction & fantasy stories (Lower Than The Angels) at a reasonable price for yourself, to give as a gift, or to donate to your local library and purchased one of my books from that site, I would have made a donation to this worthy cause from the proceeds of the sold books.

Update: I’ve since found a new way to support the troops by giving them ebook downloads via Cold Moon Press.

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