Friday, April 19, 2013

Poetry Jam "Fictional Point of View" "Mamma's Song" A nod to "Porgy &Bess"

Summertime by Porgy & Bess Cast

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

But till that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by

The following is a challenge for "Poetry Jam"-  Fictional Point of View.  My POV (character) is the infant being held in her Mamma's arms.

If you have never listened to this song, do yourself a favor and click on the above you tube video.   If you like it, try and find the movie Porgy & Bess or listen to the entire Broadway Cast Recording.  HERE is the newest Broadway Cast Recording with Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis and David Alan Grier.

If you are interested in a really good Study Guide for "The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess" Click HERE

My photo below is "Rainbow Row" originally named "Cabbage Row" as it was a place that had sunk to a slum and used by negroes as a vending place of vegetables in the 1920's.  This is the location that DuBose Heyward based his novel "Porgy".  "Catfish Row" is the novel's fictitious location in Charleston, South Carolina.  (It is NO longer a slum - it is very pricey real estate and a popular tourist attraction.)

Mamma's Song

Promises softly sung
upon summertime's breeze
were broken
as Misfortune raged.

Murder, love, betrayal, rich,
old, young, poor, a melting pot.
She don't play favorites.

For once all was equal
South an' North of Broad
for those who dallied
beyond the shore,

the day my Daddy, "rich"
and Mamma, good lookin'
swept under with the Sea Gull.

Decayed, battered,
Catfish Row may have been,
but the arms that held
orphaned me,
were mighty strong in Hope.

Pride of Charleston's
poor blacks workin' hard
1920's immortalized,
an American opera, no less.

Today I walk by
colorful archways
of East Bay, hear
Mamma's voice,
Daddy's laughter
upon the wind,

whisper back,
"I spread my wings,
Mamma, took to the sky,
achieved your dream
of a better life."

by Margaret Bednar, April 19, 2013

I also linked this with Imaginary Garden with Real Toad's "Out of Standard: Climate Free Friday"  The tough challenge of using the word "melt" without referring to heat, cold, fire or ice.  I squeezed it in and think it might read better, perhaps, without the "melted" line.  ;P


Susie Clevenger said...

Margaret, this is so beautiful. I really don't know what else to say. It is so moving.

Robyn Greenhouse said...

I agree with Susie, beautiful! The Hope in those arms fulfilled!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a beautiful poem. Glad she achieved her momma's dreams.

Mary said...

What a wonderful feeling to feel that you have fulfilled your mama's dreams. I think anyone can empathize with that kind of joy.

Helen said...

I fell in love with the music from Porgy and Bess many, many years ago. How incredibly creative of you to use the music as inspiration ... beautiful, Margaret.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Beautiful, Margaret, and your photo from your iphone is so spectacular it is hard to believe that is a real place - absolutely gorgeous!

Margaret said...

It wasn't beautiful back in the 20s.

Kay L. Davies said...

I've always loved the song 'Summertime' but my favorite recording was by Paul Robeson.
Your poem is a beautiful response to Izy's prompt as well as to Poetry Jam, Margaret.

Loredana Donovan said...

You really gave your poems a Southern voice and historical perspective. Wonderfully written :)

Charleen said...

This is beautiful. A very good write.

Peggy said...

What a great idea for a character. I have been to Charleston and remember visiting "Catfish Row." Definitely not a slum now.

Anonymous said...

Margaret, I liked your use of "melting pot," as there were so many interracial babies born of slaves, fathered by their owners. It works.

I have never like "Porgy" because of its forced "Daddy and Mammy" references. See, Daddy is the white daddy, and "Mammy" is probably not only the mom, but the wet nurse, so it's all tied up in the slave system.

It should be noted that the words were those of DuBose Heywardd, based on his upbringing and stories of Gullah culture, and the music was by a gay Jewish composer, George Gershwin. Amy

Susan said...

OwWOO, you rocked this bravely. I like that you give the child a way to know her past and her gifts.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

the last stanza is so touching... beautiful work.....brave words...

The Unknowngnome said...

Kudos. And I join the others in saying, beautiful.

alan1704 said...

This just oozes music and emotion, you can feel the power as you read the words. That takes some doing, well done,

Laurie Kolp said...

Hi, Margaret... I like the hope that she continues to hold on to.

Marian said...

wow, Margaret! whoosh.

Isadora Gruye said...

this piece is as dense and rewarding as a gershwin tune. I do think the addition of melting pot added a layer to that richness. Thanks for throwing it in for the prompt and viva la

Anonymous said...

only a mama can compose this; the tenderness and tenuous and trembling heartfelt word-wishes! I know Audra and few can sing like her!

Mary Ann Potter said...

A true multi-media treat, Margaret! Beautifully presented. Your poem is rich and resonant. The producers of "Porgy and Bess" would be proud! Love, love, love this!!!

Ginnie said...

Porgy and Bess. Charleston. Your iPhone. Your poetic expressions. All in one post. Life is good. :)

Poet Laundry said...

The places you get to see and photograph are so amazing and rich with history Margaret. Must be fun to live where you do!

I love how the speaker of this poem respectfully remembers the prices paid on the road to her getting to the better life hoped for her by her parents. Feels good, love that persistent hope paying off in the end.

SaraV said...

Margaret, I love that song! And thank you so much for filling in the history--love that too :-) A beautiful poem and inspired song