Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Monticello" a poem, Friday Flash 55

Thomas Jefferson's "Monticello"

Upon gleaming pillars
Monticello rests, stately
beneath trees majestic

enjoying sea views
of red clay farmlands

glorious sunsets
of a mountain's blue ridge

whose walls hold dear
hummed songs sung low
of old Psalms and Scotch melodies.

A foundation seemingly restful
until one walks Mulberry Row

upon a dark history, unseen,
treading a path contemptible.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, April 5, 2012

"Mulberry Row" of Monticello

I hold Thomas Jefferson in great esteem.  I am fascinated with his writings, inventions and architectural genius and I believe he was a fine man.  We MUST understand him set within the confines of his society.  Monticello is an amazing place, but we also must remember it came in to existence largely in part of slavery.  

I believe slavery was an issue Thomas Jefferson struggled with his whole life, and I like to think if he had been a wealthy man he would have freed them all.  I believe he had a relationship with Sally Hemings, his slave, and fathered (a) child(ren) with her.  Two of Sally Hemming's sons ran away and Thomas Jefferson did not pursue them.  I also believe all her children were freed; these actions speak louder than words ever could.  

I will be pursuing this issue and others in my next few posts, gathering information as I read the books I bought from my visit to Monticello and from the tours I took as well as sharing my photography from the day my children and I spent enjoying this slice of American history.  I believe it was Jefferson's granddaughter who remembered him often "humming and singing low" in his rooms.  (She was directly above him in her room)  I love that bit of information!   I hope you enjoy it.

This will be linked with Friday Flash 55, a story in 55 words, no more or less.  I KNOW it is supposed to be a fiction story and I often write non-fiction poetry (not always) but the host, "G-Man" is very forgiving.  Try it yourself... it is FUN.  

Oh ... and the line "trees majestic" really DID work once.  Take a look at this tree (all 8 kids sitting on the stump with room to spare ... the two boys are lying down) ... it and a twin "sister tree" on the other side of the house where chopped down just a few years ago...


TexWisGirl said...

i hope your view of mr. jefferson is correct. :)

Karen S. said...

It's heaven sent! Stunning photography!

barbara l. hale said...

Wonderful photos and poem. I admire Jefferson quite a lot, too. I can imagine that he struggled with the issues of the day. Monticello is a place every American should go if they have the opportunity.

Christine said...

yes, my husband read a novel about his life, so many people wanted to change the world during those times, a few worked hard at it, paving the way, beautiful pics

Mary said...

I will look forward to your poetry and photographs. I have always admired Thomas Jefferson too, but have never seen Monticello! I will look forward to 'seeing' it through your eyes.

hedgewitch said...

Very interesting--heard about Sally Hemmings of course, but fascinating to see two of the descendants in that clip--a complex subject, and hard to see backward into how hard the choices must have been for the original people involved. Your 55 gave a clear picture of the contrasts and conflicts.

Vagabonde said...

Visiting Monticello must be so interesting and thought provoking. I love your picture of the Mulberry Row. It is a shame that Texas had decided to take off Jefferson from the kids’ history books as I think he did some great things for the US. Of course I like him a lot because he came to France and copied some of the philosophy from there, including the separation of church and state. You are right – we have to look at the culture of his time.

G-Man said...

Margaret Bednar...
Please, never again qualify your 55 to me...YOU have Carte Blanche!!!
It's MY priveledge to read your brilliant artistry.
Loved your 55
I absolutely love Virginia.
Thanks for playing, and have a Kick Ass Week-End.
Happy Easter

...Galen's Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast. Pirogi with fried Onions and sour cream, Green Bean Casserole. And I'm breakin out a big jar of home-canned Bread and Butter pickles that a customer gave me. Good Times

Brian Miller said... were only an hour from me...i love jefferson and monticello...i did a to scale pen and ink of monticello when i was in HS...

Other Mary said...

This is a very good treatment of the subject Margaret. The words and images are beautiful.

PattiKen said...

This is a very nice look at Monticello. I especially like the last two couplets. And that treed path is glorious.

Alice Audrey said...

I, too, have mixed feeling about Jefferson and Monticello. The things he said and did that went beyond his time are enough to make you think he should have been above reproach in all ways.

MorningAJ said...

I don't kow enough American history to appreciate the dilemma properly. I do know that we have a lot of stuff going on over here that was based on oney made through slavery. I one received a grant from a charitable foundation that set up through 'sugar' money. I had very mixed feelings about it.

The fund does a lot of good, educating people who might not be able to afford it otherwise. But it's hard to forget how the money was raised.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Thomas Jefferson was an amazing man who did his best within the confines of the times. Who are we to judge? What would any of us have done if we lived then and there?

Monticello is a beautiful place. I'm glad they haven't privitized the whole of it, or burned it down as some out of Texas would like to do. Thanks for the lovely photos.

izzy said...

Stunning as usual! haven't visited there in eons- love the verse on melodies especially.
Great new Header photo too!

Mama Zen said...

Really beautiful piece, Margaret. Thomas Jefferson fascinates me.

Ginnie said...

It's so clear how this Monticello visit has impacted you, Margaret. I've never been there but if I do go one day, I'll think about you...and especially all your children fitting so nicely on that stump! :)

moonie said...

My view of Cathedrals in Europe changed when I heard they were built on the backs of slaves

Hope you had a gr8 trip and enjoyable time with your family