Wednesday, December 17, 2014



Blue jays scream insults
as red shouldered hawk loops
and feints toward the ground.

More often I find him perched
in the canopy, a martyr, shoulders hunched
taking on crows' cries of vengeance.

The murder seems sanctimonious;
turf and heirs must be protected -
even songbirds dive bomb for peace.

I watch the hawk spiral skyward,
exiled; nearby he'll await in the field,
ready to attack and make his kill.

No dogma, no ritual disobeyed -
no anger, no prayers;
just death in order to live.

by Margaret Bednar, December 17, 2014

* A group of crows is called a murder.   

I originally had the following as the fourth stanza but I don't think it is necessary and the final stanza is enough.  Who knows I might put it back. 

Legend has it Cain
was banished to the moon;
truce wasn't his motive.

A few medieval legends say the man laboring on the moon is Cain, banished from earth for his sin. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"The Elderberry Tree"

Koehler's Medicinal Plants 1887

The Elderberry Tree

Grandma planted her elders
close to kitchen's back door -
not for summer fritters
(doily white flowers
dipped in flour & fried),
nor for fall cordial
(purple berry clusters
plucked before songbirds could dine).

She faithfully watered
(never pruned) these "old bent ladies"
to keep the Devil at bay.

And I, each Midsummer's Eve
silently stand alone,
magic hovers upon my lips,
pluck an unripe berry or two,
dare not breathe nor move,
but listen -
have yet to see magical faeries
and elves hidden within, or receive
the gift of second sight.

by Margaret Bednar, December 14, 2014

This is for the poetic challenge at "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday's Mini-Challenge - poet James Wright"  I used the following excerpt from his poem "Beginning" as inspiration to spin my own poem:

"…I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen…"

The elder tree (or shrub) is rich in folklore, superstition, and Christian legend.