Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Magpie Tale #49, "The Grand Ol' Hat", 111/365

 My Great Aunt, Jennie Beckington, 1905

My Grandmother, Marguerite Hutchins Beckington, born 1892 
I apologize if you have already read this poem.  I am submitting it to One Shot Wednesday #30 of One Stop Poetry.  Please check out the other submissions!

Edwardian Days
When swirling skirts gracefully 
Swept the floor, ankles carefully hidden.
Puffed up like a proud pigeon and resembled
   An instrument measuring time.
Oh, how to show
Individuality? Dare
We suggest such a
Thing?  A prim and
Proper young
Must wear her hat squarely
Upon her head; no silly feather, please!
But, if one had a desire for a bit of frivolity, well a trip
To the Hat Maker might just do the trick.  A feather added and tilted
To one        side, a splendid ornate hat to promenade.  A       multitude 
Of other       frivolous items could grace the crown:  A poppy,      a plume,
How         about a large cabbage rose?  A bit overwhelming?          Well,
 That was         the very idea!  To have fun, live a little, after all,             it was
 Just                           a hat.  The only thing exposed                          was 
Hair!                        Sometimes splurged, and added a                     bird?
Well,                                 Not a whole bird,                                   nor 
Even                                             a                                           whole
Wing.                                       For                                      many
Years,                             Twenty                           in fact, 
The               Audabon Society            fought
To outlaw such animal cruelty!  
Even hat pins were subject to the law!
Why, they could only extend so far - dangerous
Weapons they.  Known for poking, scraping and stabbing!
Regulations on how far they could protrude without hat-pin
Protectors. Some were banned from public transportation, in fact.
So, no whole birds, but how about bunches of cherries, blackberries
Or ribbon rosettes?  Hats made to whirl, flow and dip; some swathed in
Tulle.  Some glorious hats mysteriously rested upon the hair, thanks to 
The secret of “wadded” hair saved from thy very own brush to make the 
Grand pompadour!   Possibly a bit of mystery might be desired; was that
Even allowed?   It could be arranged with a bit of cobweb trim hanging
Over the face.  Social gatherings were not complete without one’s hat,
In fact it was part of proper etiquette.   Quite disgraceful to be seen
Without!  Even the little widow could not step out... all in black, of
Course.  No feather for that would be too gay but the veil was ok.
Oh yes,  the good  Ol’ Edwardian Days!  Most likely styles to never 
Be seen again. Glimpsed by some of us still alive as we watched
Our grandmothers step out.   Those wonderfully grand ladies who knew 
How to dress in style, held on to their "vogue" until the very end. White 
Gloves, snap purse dangling at the elbow, and perhaps, the hats a
Bit smaller, but there non-the-less.  Ornate glasses framed many of 
Their smiling faces, pearls circling their necks.  Still buttoned up with 
Proper skirt line maintained; although a few inches shorter.  How “modern”
They must have felt.  So here’s a nod to the grand ladies of old, who wore
Those hats with such style and grace.  How were they able to carry off
Such hats as these? Looking at the photos, their eyes might offer a clue.   
The                    Women's
Suffra                     gette's
Atti                        tude?
 In Courage                 And Honor.          

This "shape" poem is for Magpie Tales #49.  (I made a few changes after my first post - had to go in and correct the mixed up tenses) The original photo prompt is at the bottom of this post.  I have also submitted this to One Stop Poetry's "One Shot Wednesday".  I remember going through the hat boxes in my grandmother's attic.  They were piled atop one another and these "ancient" hats were packed amongst newspaper.  By the time I was born, I don't think she wore them anymore - and I had a hard time imagining her in them.  How I wish I had those hats today.  At least I have a few photos.

In the photo above, I love that all the ladies have their "automobile" hats on.  My grandmother is sitting in the first row, third from left. (or first one sitting on the right)

In this photo, my grandmother is with her friends.  She is the one in the center with her purse in the crook of her arm and ... one of two with a head piece on.  It was taken in the year of 1961. 

Below is the grand photo that was the inspiration for this Magpie Tale, taken by Tess Kincaid of Willow Manor:

"Photo taken by Tess Kincaid"


Tess Kincaid said...

Okay, I'm impressed. Exactly how long did it take you to design that lovely wordy woman?

Margaret Bednar said...

Well, I sat down at 12:30 having no idea what I was going to do with this prompt. I posted it at 2:30. Right now I am on "super-duper" speed to get the laundry and dishes done before the hubby gets home. Hmm... should I have him pick up pizza? Thanks for the always challenging Magpie!

Helen said...

I simply cannot imagine how much work this entailed .. magnificent work!!!

thingy said...

Wow! Just fabulous.

Jingle said...

wow, you rock...
love the shape...

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Patty Ann said...

I have never seen a shape poem before, but I love it. It is so original. Nice job!

Margaret Bednar said...

Helen - Two hours - not too bad, really. I enjoyed going through the old photographs - Can you imagine wearing all that stuff?

Thingy, Jingle & Patty Ann- Thank you, it was fun. I love these prompts as I find I enjoy the research and learning about new things.

Strummed Words said...

I like the hats, and the coats!

Rosie said...

Wow - this is amazing, Margaret! And I love those old pictures - so beautiful!

lisa said...

You truly are amazingly talented Margaret!! It is hard for me to imagine the work that went into this post, and of course, the photographs are just gorgeous!

Mary said...

Wow - just wow.

Margaret Bednar said...

Strummed - yes, the coats and hats did balance one another - but can you really imagine wearing them today? I try on hats in the store and I always look so silly...

Rosie - :) Thank you. I love the old photos as well - such serious faces.

Lisa - The work was about two hours - what else would I do ... laundry? :) And you complimenting my photography is really an honor! Thank you.

Mary - I like Wow! Thanks ;)

Reflections said...

Fabulous piece! Such an intriguing form, such detail to the shape. Wow!

Doctor FTSE said...

AT LAST! Text centering used to good purpose rather than "I center it because I know how to center it!" Well done, Margaret. Lovely piece. And the other photos too . .

Margaret Bednar said...

Reflections - Thank you. I think I surprised myself on this one. The strange thing is, it came quite easily!

Dr. FTSE - It was a labor of love - I really had fun looking through all the old photos I have of my ancestors. And thanks to Tess for the inspiration - I never would have thought of it on my own. Thank you for enjoying and saying so!

Brian Miller said...

wow. incredible concrete...that would have taken me ages to do and still hold together a convincing poem...great one shot

Anonymous said...

Love your poem and all the old photographs. Poetry and genealogy are my favorite things!

Margaret Bednar said...

Brian & Poemblaze - Thank you. It was fun thinking about my grandmother and the women in my family tree - such an amazing time they lived through. Glad you liked my poem.

Dasuntoucha said...

Superb post...your shape poem is indeed a work of word art...I'm glad I stopped by.

Steve Isaak said...

Clever shape work.

Margaret Bednar said...

Dasuntoucha & Steve - Thanks. I should try to do a matching one with a man with a top hat and cane or something....