Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Magpie Tales #113 - "The Scarlet River"



"Red Roofs", Marc Chagall 1954


The Scarlet River
Upon his knees
he prays beside her

she ponders eternity, immersed
in a scarlet baptism

recites transgressions
while darkness hides his face

faithfully she bleeds
her confession

soul hidden
brittle and broken

until soothing words
whisper "Go, sin no more"

a double life, led
as a "Christian" man

hope surges
before golden crucifix

debauchery,
discouraged not

once again, darkness descends
she asks moon to close his eyes

demands silence be "offered up"
beauty her sin

thinks about fragrant flowers
she'll pick and lay before the altar

as upon his knees
he attacks his prey

pleas for faith to increase
and forgiveness of her sins...

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, April 17, 2012



This is for Magpie Tales #113.  If you love poetry and creativity, this is a challenge to visit... I am # 80 and more will accept the challenge, I'm sure, throughout the week.  Also linked with " dVerse Poets "Open Link Night - Week 40"

This poem was hard for me to write.  A family friend, one we thought we knew, is now in jail for harming two little girls under his care.  It shocked and rocked my world... I often ponder HOW we didn't know, WHY the little girls didn't say something...  WHAT he said to them that made them think it was their fault...

Not a pleasant poem... but this painting just led me there...

30 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

you did an excellent job on a very uncomfortable, painful subject.

Brian Miller said...

ugh...it is a hard poem, but done very nicely...the cleave form itself becomes a metaphor embellishing the words...

manicddaily said...

Oh dear, that's just terrible Margaret. Your poem brings up that separation from what seems real (and within human boundaries too, in a way). The divide-- One thinks of all these priests accused of things. K.

Margaret said...

Manicdaily - my poem wasn't about priests.... but I did think about that as well as I know of a couple of boys I grew up with that experienced that awful tragedy...

What I find amazing is how the children carry around such guilt... often believing it is their fault.

Susie Clevenger said...

You have handled such a dark subject well..an amazing piece

Lolamouse said...

Margaret,
Excellent writing on such a tragic subject. You're right-children do blame themselves, often because their abusers tell them it's their fault and even if they don't, children are so egocentric, they see everything as caused by themselves anyway. That's why childhood abuse is so harmful to their very sense of self.

Claudia said...

oh shock..this is tough stuff margaret..no wonder it was hard to write..but you did well..

Other Mary said...

Margaret you handled this hard topic very well. It's hard, but important for us to attend to these things. Thank you.

Chris G. said...

It is strange how a piece of art will a strike a chord in another--draw up a memory or association that sets the pen to chill scribbles...

I can see where others drew in the priest bit, too, though your personal connection wasn't to that association specifically...and it is a tragic wonder how children make such a burden of their guilt...but then, do most of we, the adults, do much different? Tragic...

Heaven said...

How tragic Margaret...you did very well in narrating the incident, with just a few but carefully chosen words. I must also say the format works very well, giving both perspective. This is so sad though ~

Daydreamertoo said...

The sad thing is, these adults that do this have a way of making the children think it is somehow their fault. Then they also make them feel guilty and somehow the kids think they have to keep it a secret because it was all their fault it happened.
Thank goodness he was caught before he could harm too many more. I hope these children will have some counselling if they need it and won't be permanently harmed.
It comes as a shock when you think you 'thought' you knew this person more too.
Powerful writing, sad subject.

Margaret said...

Daydreamertoo- the two young children were already victims of previous abuse... this was supposed to be their "safe" place for them. This man was beloved by so many people in our small town... the "ideal" christian man. Big smile, big heart... It must have all been fake. I was devastated that such evil existed (exists)... certainly makes me look closer at people and situations now...

The two young girls ... we moved away, so I am not sure... I now the wife (now ex-wife) is doing her best to raise them. I think she is a hero... to be able to be strong and move ahead with her life (their lives)...

Daydreamertoo said...

Your comment made me smile...yes, kiss the lips off him, he'll wonder what he did to deserve it... hahaha

Margaret said...

ha ha, Daydreamertoo... I'm of to brush my teeth :)

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

it's sad but true statement, thanks for the awareness, loving and creative write.
http://leah-jamielynn.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/only-god-knows.html

Jannie Funster said...

Oh my gosh, those 2 poor little girls. I don't know what to say, wish I could make it better for them.

What a powerful write, Margaret.

xo

Mark Kerstetter said...

Your shock (and I'm very sorry to hear about it) is reflected somewhat in seeing such a lovely painting paired with this difficult and painful subject.

I like the form of your poem, the back and forth movement, which evokes that particular difficulty. I hope I'm reading it right. (if there was an extra space between each couplet it might help to read it.)

Margaret said...

Mark... I put extra spaces (originally had them, then thought I had dragged it out too much). so thanks for the feedback. Shock - yes, two plus years has gone by and I still get emotional...

De said...

Oh, Margaret. This is absolutely heartbreaking. Masterfully done, with the shape, and the wording. Beautiful, but deeply, deeply sad.

hedgewitch said...

Yourpoem is very strong, and after I read the story I understood how much emotion you'd put into it, and why. How absolutely awful to be this close to a tragic situation and not know it was going on, yet that somehow always seems to be the case until it explodes in everyone's faces. And yes, the fear and guilt behind those childrens' silence is the worst part for me too.

Jamia Gilbert said...

Intense, dark, sad, but absolutely beautiful Margaret...

Daniel LaFrance said...

Frail and fragile life can be when evil envelops and betrays innocence.

Fred Rutherford said...

Really like this Margaret. Love how the open space illuminates the lines and offers an additional layer. Fantastic job of creating a poem that really contains three poems in one, I just love that you can read the poem right to left, or as two individual poems reading down on each side. Great read(s). Thanks

James Rainsford said...

Powerful, both in form and content.

izzy said...

Forgiveness is GOOD- hard though at times.

Kutamun said...

Innocence before darkness so beautifully expressed

Ginny Brannan said...

Quite the written piece, Margaret. Really elicited an emotional response, at least in me! This is so heart-wrenching. Stories like this just get my dander up!! It's a sad world we live in, where people who are put in trust of already hurt and vulnerable children would turn around and hurt them again, all under the guise of being a good "Christian" samaritan. Hope they threw away the key, but only after castrating him first!

C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson said...

Before I read your ending comment, throughout the reading of your piece, I continued to envision 'The Thorn Birds", by Colleen McCullough. You totally nailed the subject you were pursuing. Well done on such a sensitive subject. There is so much in life that we fail to see since it's a human weakness to always seek out the beauty in our world. Please forgive yourself for not knowing what was happening to the little girls.

Tess Kincaid said...

Powerful and emotional stuff...you handled it beautifully here Margaret...

Charles Miller said...

I love Chagall, and I very much enjoyed your poetic interpretation of his painting. There is so much to forgiveness, so much self-awareness required to try and manifest a power that overcomes all natural antipathies, so much natural reaction to wrong. A very optimistic and inspiring reading of the poem.