Shirley Binkley: She tells it like it is, in rhyme
It seems to Lehigh Valley author Shirley Binkley that everything she thinks about or experiences turns into a poem.
Actually, more than 300 and counting.
At 82, Binkley has published her first book of poems, “One Size Fits All: Poetry for Every Mood,” a compilation of 198 poems written during the past two decades.
How it all got started is a story in itself.
“My writing began on a dare,” Binkley recalls.
Binkley was an executive secretary at Air Products and Chemicals in 1990. “My friend and co-worker told me I wrote beautiful [business] letters, and suggested that I go into my office and ‘write something.’
“I had never, ever considered writing. After I sat for a moment, words started to flow, and I ended up with my first poem, ‘Summer’s End.”
The days are getting shorter now and melting into fall.
The trees are bare and empty and are standing very tall.
They’re bracing for the winter storms that cover them with ice.
The snow and sleet and freezing rain don’t treat them very nice.
Binkley says it was fun, so she kept writing.
She wound up completing 80 poems, including 23 she polished off in six days. These compose the first half of her book.
On the dedication page, she thanks her friend for inspiring her creativity and her husband Ronald Binkley for his patience with her.
“While I was driving the car, the words started flowing, and I’d say to him, ‘Quick, grab a pen and write this down.’ He never complained.”
Calling it “this stage of my life,” Binkley said she didn’t stop writing until 1994 when she retired. She and her husband moved to Florida until 2005 when they returned to the Lehigh Valley. Five months later, her husband of 49 years died.
It wasn’t until last January that she decided to publish her book of poems.
“Then,” as she puts it, “the words started coming to me again.”
She wrote another 84 poems.
“I’m sorry my husband will never know. He would be proud of me.”
In her book of poetry, Binkley writes about a myriad of subjects from “God’s World” to “Ghosts,” “Penguins” to “Patience” and “Me and My Computer” to “Music.”
She has even immortalized “Rats.”
She talks candidly about religion, God and even politics.
“Everything comes in rhymes. I don’t even try. I write from my heart and tell it as I see it.”
The poems, some humorous and others passionate, all center around her life, observations and experiences.
I speak with much reflection. I speak of days that past.
I speak of growing older, and of times that went too fast.
Of her life, Binkley says, “It was interesting.”
Born in Easton, as the youngest of 11 children, and a graduate of Easton High School, she was married in 1956. She and her husband adopted a son and then a daughter, and at the age of 38, after 18 years of marriage, she became pregnant and gave birth to her second son.
As an author, her work has been published in numerous poetry anthologies, including “World Poetry Movement,” “National Library of Poetry” and “Great Poets Across America.” She has also received “Awards of Recognition” from “World of Poets Society,” and “Awards of Merit” “World of Poetry.”
At 82, she’s just getting started.
She has already written more than 100 poems since those published in her first book, and she’s already thinking about the second.
In the meantime, she continues to write the weekly column “Chosen Words” for Parkland Press, one of eight weekly newspapers published in the Lehigh Valley by the Times News.
“One Size Fits All: Poetry for Every Mood” is published in hardbound and paperback by Life Rich Publishing, an imprint of Readers Digest. It can be purchased at: liferichpublishing.com; Barnes & Noble online. and Amazon.