Friday, October 11, 2013


Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Savannah, GA
Would you like to hear me read this poem?

Check this out on Chirbit


"Dog-eared." That's what a bible
should be (so I've been told one hundred
if not a thousand times), "spine; supple,
yielding favorites, underlined, faded" -
I guess for all to see I'm a good girl.

Each week I watch,
try to come closer to holy.
See some kneel the "lazy man's" way,
butt rests upon the bench, forming
an imperfect triangle
(I always attribute it to being fat).
Momma pinches me if I
even curve my back to stretch,
"Reach tall for Jesus" she whispers.

I used to watch a pretty lady
fidget with her necklace, hair,
twist her diamond ring back and forth -
thought it a new way to pray the rosary.
Copied her motions in church.
Momma pinched me.

Often get sidetracked
admiring beautiful clothes,
wish Momma could look as nice.
Watch as Ms. Fancy Pants puts $1
in the collection basket, Momma $20.
Whisper "Not fair!".   Momma pinches me,
says "worry 'bout yourself".

I think I'm starting to understand,
remember Momma says "Holy
is often about not what we do,
but what we don't". So, I'll keep quiet,
maybe sit an arm and finger's length
away from Mamma, not watch "them"
so much anymore, begin to learn
how to "pray guilt away" -

for that's what two women whispered
behind their hands about Momma
as she walked by, and there is no one
I'd rather be more like than my Momma.

by Margaret Bednar, October 11, 2013  

This is for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads "Fireblossom Friday - Redemption"  One of the options was to write about an imagined character.

Oh the journey to try and figure out what it means to be good, how to be good, and who to emulate.  I tried to end it with a misunderstanding (once again) as to what is right.  I hint in the last paragraph that the two women are gossiping about "Mama's sins"... but the little girl is really to young to understand.

I'm trying to write a few more "story poems" and they are often clear to me, but then I realize readers don't always follow the way I wanted them to go... alas.  :)

I also want to make it clear that I do not think anyone can work (or buy) their way into heaven (I'm a Catholic and that is a HUGE Protestant misunderstanding).  So when I say "good" here, it is just a childish understanding of what is expected of them.


TexWisGirl said...

wonderful. i saw myself as a little girl sitting in the pew next to my mother.

Robert Bourne said...

I think I'm starting to understand,
remember Momma says "holy"
is often about not what we do,
but what we don't

loved these lines... :)

kaykuala said...

Such appreciation of being closer to God comes from the inner feel so they say! It's still preceded by 'rules' seemingly simple but ought to be made known. You have beautifully expressed here the 'guidance' given to the young! Great write Marge!


Raining Iguanas said...

I would get dropped off at church. No pinches needed. A look from sister Don't Even Think About It was enough.

Kathryn said...

I remember the lazy mans way .rom when I was a kid, loved the reading.

Brian Miller said...

well you def caught the character in this one...and being in and out of church all my life...and even working in a holds true...smiles...cant good your way in to heaven though...smiles...

Susan said...

Yes, I wanted to hear this poem in your voice, thank you. What lovely snapshots of the pinch and when you didn't need it anymore, learning what really mattered. Thank you for writing this. The prompt made me tell stories too.

Margaret said...

Brain -- no, you can't "good" your way into heaven BUT love is a verb. We must live our love, we must live our faith.

Anonymous said...

Hey Margaret--this was a lovely story poem. I appreciate your note, but did not think it truly necessary as I could follow the poem as written! (I say that not in criticism but because I also get nervous as to whether people follow my work.) Thanks--I loved the details here-- especially as to the ways people kneel. K.

L. Edgar Otto said...

Not that we are unholy, but not holy goes the creed of that on sect on fire... I have a Bible with torn pages my little brother, a blue baby, tore... our parents were upset. I understood he was trying to take out some of the picture, maps and holy land...camels, stars... That old Bible grandma let me have when we found it in the rain, I thinking it edges red were bleeding... just five and with pneumonia did not make it to the first of such operations at Bethesda.

Margaret said...

Thanks, Karen! My son says "never explain poetry"... and so I do... ha.

L. Edgar Otto - I'm not sure what you mean (sorry) but I certainly do not think Christians are the only holy people out there and many who's Bibles are rarely touched (if at all) often "out holy" those who do. :) I too remember being transfixed by the colorful pictures in the family Bible.... :)

Anonymous said...

keenly observed; the details ring true.

and I thought I *was* using the correct html code, but guess not. thanks for the tip.

and it's not any ONE animal - it's all of them, btw :)

Anonymous said...

BRAVA! I wrote one about church gossips last week, I think.

Your mom pinching you, isn't that SO mommish? And her putting 20 in the plate while the rich put in a buck. It's really more a reflection on what giving is about...

You captured this time of your life perfectly. And I love your mother's values and how they are reflected in you, Margaret. Amy

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh, yes, my mother pinched. I preferred to sit with my grandmother, who was strict in the kindest way possible. She lived her faith and she loved people. She was good in a way I hope to but never expect to be.
This brought back lots of memories. In our church, the adults had envelopes, so no one but the treasurer knew what they contained. I always had a nickel inside my white glove in the 1950s.

Margaret said...

Love al the memories of childhood !

Amy - this is a made up character. My childhood church going experience was quite different.

hedgewitch said...

A very engaging story-poem, Margaret, and I like the twist you gave it for the prompt. I find religion an unpalatable feast, but not necessarily the underlying messages--the true ones, which you give us a peak at here.

Hannah said...

Oh, what a pleasing audio clip, Margaret...such a vivid story you've created...your characters are so believable...the way that you naturally bring in details about their actions really brings them alive. What a treasure!

Sam Edge said...

I', still hoping you can marry your way into heaven - a family plan of sorts.

Margaret said...

Sam. I love that! Ha.

Claudia said...

this one made my mind wonder a bit... when i was small and we were visiting my uncle in bavaria we all went to church and i usually watched what people were doing... quite interesting...smiles.. the close in your poem made my heart ache a bit..the little girl admiring her mom and the ladies talking about her sins..

Grace said...

Interesting take on religion and faith Margaret ~ It certainly can't be bought and superficial following are not tickets to salvation and heaven ~ Well done dear ~

Fireblossom said...

Oh goodness, this all seemed so familiar and real. I laughed in recognition at kneeling the "lazy man's way"!

I think it says something good about the speaker of the poem that she's oblivious to the gossips and just keeps seeing the good. I like how she picked up on the donation and the fancy woman giving only a dollar.

Thanks for being part of my challenge, Margaret!

Anonymous said...

First of all, your voice sounds like a lullaby that caresses~ Secondly, your narrative is so like a child-like praising & adoration ~ I loved your inflection ! BEAUTIFUL as always ~ Faithfully Debbie

Ginnie said...

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! We were just in that cathedral 4 days ago with our friends! The second I saw your image I recognized it. Don't you love when we know we've both seen the same thing! :)