Tuesday, December 20, 2016


The Red Brick House

The red brick house still resides a quarter mile
from where I grew up - a bit modernized;
original image hangs upon Mother's foyer wall
within gilded frame, watercolored by Great Great Aunt Augusta.

Today, no trace of white picket fence, Victorian scalloped
cornice trim, nor windmill's imposing silhouette.
The gabled bank barn with earthen ramp
from which grand pacers with heart and harness flew
and cozy stalls below where docile draft horses rested
is, at best, located with imaginary eye.

Come fall, my grandmother and three sisters
would hitch pony to cart, drive the slightly hilly, dirt packed road
to Latham Park School - the same caring walls I resided
as a child before closing in '71.

Within Red Brick's walls, Grandmother was born;
and her mother with fifth child in birth did die.

Yet seasons don't end and a farmer's lands
demand, so girls were sent "down the road"
to Grandmother Lyford's white clapboard farm house.
I always imagine piano's notes drifting out onto stone porch,
where buttoned and bowed the girls would sing
and catch late afternoon's summer breeze.

Tucked between "Red Brick" and "Lyford House"
I grew up across the street from "Old Limestone House"
with stately red barn and dear Charlotte in her rocking chair
shaded by huge pines that thrilled me with their size and shape.
Today threadbare and dismembered, if not gone all together,
I still thrill as I palm fallen pinecones -
remember coating them with peanut butter and seed;
hanging them in branches once bursting and full.

These old farmhouses reach out to me, remind me
of family, of friends - carefully tended,
sweetly remembered these sentinels of my ancestors, my roots.

by Margaret Bednar, December 19, 2016

Latham Park School

Harnessed Speed

I have written this poem for a local poetry group (Behind the Stacks) challenge:  Ancestral Dwellings.  Mary guided us with the following:

"On my recent travels to Mesa Verde, I sat on a bench next to a Samurai fellow while he meditated under a canopy.  Together we contemplated the miracle of those dwellings.  Who carved and fashioned such a unique village? And, what were their lives like?
These ancient dwellings spoke to me about the people who once dwelled within -- a story about their personal ancestors.  And, it dawned on me that we all have personal ancestors who, too, inhabited ancient dwellings of their own making.  Deep within all of us lies a hidden memory of our ancestors and the place they called home.  In the month of December, let's gather for BTS and share our poetic take on the miracle of the dwellings of our own personal ancestors."  So, reflect on your past and bring your ancestral dwelling recollections to us in poetry

As you can see, I tweaked mine a bit (not so ancient) - focused on the farmhouses that surrounded me as I grew up - many owned and lived in by my grand and great-grand parents... I look forward to hearing what the others will bring to the table. 

Linked with Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Tuesday Platform.  

The Old Limestone House


Kim Russell said...

I didn't need to see the picture, Margaret, as you painted the scene so clearly. I love the way you compare the 'original image' that 'hangs upon mother's foyer wall' with the red brick house that '... still resides a quarter mile / from where I grew up - a bit modernized;...'

I also love the image of your grandmother and her three sisters driving the cart to school. I see it as an old movie or a series of old photographs or pictures on a wall.

Anonymous said...

These old farmhouses as sentinel of memory are habitable still in the poem -- a web or lace of family, place and time. Very nice.

Rommy said...

A lot of wonderful descriptions here that really solidify the feel of these places. The idea of them serving as sentinels is just perfect.

Gillena Cox said...

I like a lot this phrase to anchor your poem

"these sentinels of my ancestors"

much love...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh Margaret, what wonderful old houses to have in your history. I could see it all, and even feel it, the girls in their dresses, on the porch, the piano notes tinkling....sigh. Loved this. A time out of time.

Timoteo said...

That old windmill looks just like the one "down on the farm" where I grew up. Those folks in the picture--people were sure overdressed in those days, weren't they? I've often wondered if it was colder back then, or if it was just Victorian modesty that prompted them to cover every inch from head to toe. A fond look back at those halcyon days!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

You brought to life a whole neighbourhood! And a way of life that is past. You make me want to explore my ancestral homes in poetry too (also not so very ancient, but gone like my childhood).

Herotomost said...

I love that picture., I am a sucker for the nostalgic feeling that you lay down in this piece. That sepia tone bleeds from the picture to your words. I found it warm and identifiable. Loved it!!!

Magaly Guerrero said...

Indeed, "seasons don't end"... They only cycle, like people and the living-tales that link them together.

brudberg said...

Going back through days of history, there are stories there, and to see the traces in old dwelling, and houses. I think walls can speak.

Susie Clevenger said...

What beautiful memories. Your words painted those lovely places and family members so vividly I felt I was once there also.

kaykuala said...

Brilliant shot Marge! You've given a run-through of the scenic shots of the neighborhood with your family centered around it. Your narrative tells so much of a great memory you possess.The b/w pic adds to the authenticity, the icing on the cake!


Kerry O'Connor said...

A prose poem which resounds with history and it's place in the lives of the living.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

Wonderful! My mother went to school in a one-room school house and grew up on a farm. Your poem reminded me of my relatives,(living and passed) who lived the simple life which seems so wonderful when looking back. This makes me nostalgic for those days.

Jim said...

Strongly appeals to ones sense of "lament that it ain't like that now. I used to play in a large and recently abandoned house. (Think I mentioned to you before that I rode my pony, Minnie, to 9th and 10th grade country school.)

Other Mary said...

Words like stately, graceful and substantial come to mine for both your poetry and your family homes. What a beautiful history to have and to share. And what a wonderful gift for your daughters.

Anonymous said...

It's a lovely description.