Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Grandma"




Grandma

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  -Maya Angelou

Like grandma’s shawl, the old, worn farmhouse 
tucked into Appalachia's hills always gave me comfort, 
even when spring rains flooded the stream bed, 
more than once licked it’s wet, swollen tongue along the rear porch. 
Black snakes and such slithered from beneath 
seeking higher ground; even the goats and mules
grazed their way up pasture hills.  Frightened me near to death
but Grandma always said, “Have faith” and I swear
if the waters didn’t recede.  Secretly I likened her to Moses,
as at her word, miracles seemed to happen. 

The one Christmas I stayed with Grandma, 
she collected pine boughs, wove them together, 
draped long looping swags across the warped wooden house,
hummed a mix of hymns as she lit single candles 
in each window.  Beneath thousands of twinkling stars, 
we stood on the winding, dirt road that ribboned past her farmstead
and admired the most holy of nights, Grandma’s threadbare shawl 
securely wrapped about us both.

by Margaret Bednar, December 28




This is written for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Play it Again".  I selected "A Gift of Wisdom from Maya Angelou"   

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"The Old Barn"



"I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors.  I rejoice with the brilliant ones and genuinely sorry for the poor browns."  Winston Churchill

The Old Barn

I've driven by a hundred times,
never noticed how twin saplings have grown,
now frame her stoic form

but with sky drained of summer blues
and fall's kaleidoscope stilled,
her silhouette fills my eye;

rounded bales milked of springtime green
nest inside, her upper loft a frame
for light, her arching, faded roof

protective.  Weathered boards,
long since washed clean of red,
streak a pattern of age and time,

and I feel her quietly reach out
to soothe this wintery field
with a lullaby only she can sing.

by Margaret Bednar, December 27, 2014

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toad's - Artistic Interpretations - Simply Beautiful". 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Interdependence"


Interdependence

Blue jays scream insults
as red shouldered hawk loops
and feints toward the ground.

More often I find him perched
in the canopy, a martyr, shoulders hunched
taking on crows' cries of vengeance.

The murder seems sanctimonious;
turf and heirs must be protected -
even songbirds dive bomb for peace.

I watch the hawk spiral skyward,
exiled; nearby he'll await in the field,
ready to attack and make his kill.

No dogma, no ritual disobeyed -
no anger, no prayers;
just death in order to live.

by Margaret Bednar, December 17, 2014

* A group of crows is called a murder.   

I originally had the following as the fourth stanza but I don't think it is necessary and the final stanza is enough.  Who knows I might put it back. 

Legend has it Cain
was banished to the moon;
truce wasn't his motive.


A few medieval legends say the man laboring on the moon is Cain, banished from earth for his sin. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"The Elderberry Tree"

Koehler's Medicinal Plants 1887

The Elderberry Tree

Grandma planted her elders
close to kitchen's back door -
not for summer fritters
(doily white flowers
dipped in flour & fried),
nor for fall cordial
(purple berry clusters
plucked before songbirds could dine).

She faithfully watered
(never pruned) these "old bent ladies"
to keep the Devil at bay.

And I, each Midsummer's Eve
silently stand alone,
magic hovers upon my lips,
pluck an unripe berry or two,
dare not breathe nor move,
but listen -
have yet to see magical faeries
and elves hidden within, or receive
the gift of second sight.

by Margaret Bednar, December 14, 2014


This is for the poetic challenge at "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday's Mini-Challenge - poet James Wright"  I used the following excerpt from his poem "Beginning" as inspiration to spin my own poem:

"…I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen…"

The elder tree (or shrub) is rich in folklore, superstition, and Christian legend. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"In Remembrance"


In Remembrance

Damp and dreary today dawns,
settles 'round my shoulders with a weary sigh.
Her mourning tears mist my glasses
as I shuffle through leaves fast becoming brown,
contemplate life slipping away
silently, without fanfare.

No trumpet call, no pretentiousness;
just color ebbing, leaving behind
something once vibrantly splendid.

Even the lake's silvery stillness
indulges our mood,
reflects an egret's gliding grace,
angelic white wings soothing
as a sweetly sung southern hymn.

Canoes stacked, red, blue, green upon yellow;
hunkered down for winter's bite
yet able to yearn for spring's gentle caress
and summer's bold laughter -

but not these leaves.  They must dissolve
into the earth from which they came.
I pick one up.  Pocket it.  Hesitant to let go.
Find myself looking back, remembering
the glory that was autumn.

by Margaret Bednar, December 10, 2014 (Dedicated to the memory of Galen Haynes)

This morning I heard the news that Galen Haynes (aka G-Man) passed away.  I am deeply saddened and will miss this intelligent and generously kind man.   This poem if for him.  I will always remember him fondly.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads "Words Count with Mama Zen".  We had to include at least one homophone and be 75 words or less.  (This poem is way over the word count … I hope I am given a "pass" in honor and memory of Galen - (although, editing it to 55 words probably would improve it!)

My homophone is "leaves" and "leaving" hope the different endings are OK.

This is also linked with "Poetry Jam" contemplating "quiet".

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Late Autumn"



Late Autumn

High crimson has faded
to cadmium & ochre,
slashes of burnt umber
pirouette and plie a mirrored reflection

an image so lovely
even Narcissus would see
beauty beyond himself.

A dark eyed Junco hops along,
scratches, stirs soggy leaves,
rustles his way beneath graceful arms
of the bog's grand ballet

oblivious of solo performance
and his brief moment of fame.

by Margaret Bednar, December 9, 2014


This is linked (a tad late) with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toad's - Open Link Monday"


Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Moon Before Yule"


Moon Before Yule

Loblolly pines
court the Long Night Moon
whose frosted eye
peeks from behind curtained clouds,
arcs a wandering path,
weaving silently, stealthily
above field and stream;
appears in full splendor
as if a eucharistic offering.

I hear a warbling songbird
as I night-walk familiar forested path;
humbly receive December's thanksgiving.

by Margaret Bednar, December 6, 2014


It is also known as the Gemini Moon - whatever the name it is gorgeous.  We have had a rainy day and the sky is cloudy, but I walked the dog tonight with only a sweater on as it was a pleasant 50 degrees.  I was shocked to hear a songbird sing out - perhaps it was confused by the bright light of the moon.  Either way, it was a joy to hear it around 11 pm.

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Flash 55" - a flash fiction or poetry in 55 words - no more no less.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"So much for 18th century proverbs…"

White-breasted Nuthatch

"The Nuthatch"

Early to bed,
early to rise,
he's been advised

Even believes
early bird
catches the worm

But who cares
when the seed man
arrives at two?

by Margaret Bednar, December 2, 2014

White-breasted Nuthatch

This is linked with dVerse - Poetics "Winners & Losers".  So… is this cute little Nuthatch a winner?