Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Poetry Jam "A Secret, Preserved"

Photo belongs to Margaret Bednar's family archives:  Jenny
A Secret Preserved

Musty stairs, filtered light, my breath labored,
the attic, once familiar is barren.  Almost.

My grandmother's presence whittled down
into solitary dented cardboard box, 
dusty corners bent with age.

Reverently I kneel, clasped hands unfold,
seeking memories within.

Hand cut paper people, hidden for decades, greet me
their accordion hands linked together, eternally dancing.

I trace carefully written essays and poetry
curves and loops fading into sepia paper.

A delicate handkerchief with embroidered initials;
a special gift perhaps?

Fresh young faces from 1918 smile;
a first kindergarten class?

I tilt a frame, capture dim light, become hypnotized
as sensationally dark eyes peer into my world, into me.

Backlit she glows with antiqued vigor.  I realize this is "she"
Jenny, beloved sister-in-law, whispered about, the one
of whom questions were not to be asked.

I eavesdropped once, heard whispers of a single tear
slipping from the corner of Jenny's eye 
moments before her death.

Intrigued, I never forgot, hoping to one day know more.
Now I hold her in my hands, beauty preserved,
protected for all ages behind old glass.

I close the box, decide to keep 
the "dancing people", the photograph.

The "secret" remains hidden, but Jenny
is finally, once again, graced by the light of day.

Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, April 11, 2012 (1st version June 20, 2011)

This is reworked and linked to "Poetry Jam" - Skeletons Anyone?  


Mary said...

You have a beautiful grandmother. Isn't it sad that old photographs and relics can't explain themselves? All the more important for those of us today to write our histories and identify our photographs so that future generations will know us more than we know those of past generations. I enjoyed this poem and its 'mystery' never to be solved.

Janet said...

o-o-o! the rustlings of a novel? Yes, a beautiful photo and a gorgeous header as well!

Margaret said...

Mary... this is my grandmother's sister-in-law. I think I made the corrections in my poem now to make this clear. :) Thank you . I wonder if this "mystery" would be so unspeakable today? I doubt it...

Daydreamertoo said...

Awww ..despite not being allowed to ask for any information about her, I am so glad Jenny can have her place in the sun now. She was a beauty too :)
You painted such a touching, loving, respectful picture of a really lovely moment.

Mama Zen said...

I love the mystery of this!

TexWisGirl said...

hmmm. now we want to know the rest of the story...

Sreeja said...

that was a good read and brought some images to mind evoking mystery....I do sometimes go through the old things kept by my grandpa...and the thoughts that come to mind are unspeakable....

Ravenblack said...

The ones who have passed speaks to us from the things they left behind. Recently an aunt of mine found an old picture of my grandparents. My mother remarked on how my grandfather never smiled, but we were just looking at the picture and then we saw that he did. It wasn't a wide grin, or even obvious upturn of the lips, but a contented, quiet joy kind of smile - Mona Lisa smile.

Thanks for sharing this poem, very nicely written indeed.

Laurie Kolp said...

The paper accordian reminds me of my teaching days... I think there's much more to this than meets the eye, though. Lovely, Margaret.

izzy said...

What a lovely piece!
There was a lot of handkerchief
'tatting' back then- even my Mother in law did some- it makes my eyes and fingers ache.

Carrie Burtt said...

Margaret this is absolutely beautiful. I found myself captivated by the story of Jenny.

Anonymous said...

loved this i felt as if i were
reading a secret - attics hold so much mystery.

Brian Miller said... history can def be such a we find relics of an earlier age and piece together the greater one which is where did we come from...who are these people...would love to hera more margaret...