Saturday, April 29, 2017

"The Turning of Things"



The Turning of Things

I often lost myself in Garland's voice,
a young girl believing beyond the rainbow was possible;
eyes closed, hammock rocking gently,
cat curled into my side, sang along prayerfully, quietly,
low notes almost a vibrato.

I'd hear bees bumbling about mother's perennials
attracted to the fantasia of color amidst arcs, bows, curves
of buds and blossoms;

my favorite the iris, or "eiris"
imagined the Greek goddess delivering messages for the gods
from the Underworld or souls Heavenward -

recall the day I sprinkled purple petals upon kitty's grave,
watched a few butterfly off upon summer's breeze
knew they escorted his spirit over rainbow's arch
as I hummed "once in a lullaby"

and sometimes a part of me, as I drift asleep,
goes back before the turning of things,
before my childish heart took a backseat
and I simply believed.

by Margaret Bednar, April 29, 2017

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Imagined by Brendan - Penultimatums: Voyages' End (Almost)"


Monday, April 24, 2017

Charleston City Market


Sweetgrass baskets at Charleston's City Market
Charleston City Market

I finger sterling silver rings,
ponder souvenirs emblazed
with crescent moon and palm tree -

gaze upon Gullah "basket ladies"
coiling bundled sweetgrass and palmetto leaves
'round knots no longer for toil and sweat
but woven mementoes highly sought.

Lift a price tag, raise a brow,
remind myself art isn't always expressed
with oil and brush -

that these "fanners" no longer winnow
rice seed from chaff,
but are modified for fashion and show.

I watch as she hums and smiles,
hands repetitive, competent,
twining biblical bulrush and pine
for style and strength -

weaving a craft dragged from African shores
and a breadbasket for my southern home
to be used with gratitude and awe.

by Margaret Bednar, April 24, 2017

I wrote this poem while oceanside at Isle of Palms.  Wind in my hair, evening sun on the back of my shoulders - toes in the ocean.  Sigh... some people live like this everyday.  I have linked this with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Tuesday Platform"


books about South Carolina Sweetgrass Baskets:

Row Upon Row:  Sea Grass Baskets of the South Carolina Lowcountry  HERE

Sweetgrass Baskets and the Gullah Tradition HERE

Circle Unbroken HERE

A Gullah Guide to Charleston HERE  ( I plan on taking a number of these tours the next time I visit Charleston)  

Monday, April 17, 2017

No "Glorious" Feeling

Hard Rain Gilad 173 (Photobucket)

No shared step, no smile exchanged, no song beneath this umbrella for two.

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday Challenge - Micro Poetry - Streetlight Rain"  - my attempt at:  American Sentences as a poetic form was Ginsberg's effort to make American the haiku.  If haiku is seventeen syllables going down in Japanese text, he would make American Sentences seventeen syllables going across, linear.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Sanctuary"



Sanctuary

Effervescent and plaintive -
a contradiction or so it seems,
my song, undeciphered

left behind as I rise,
sail into clouds upon ocean's spray
a spirit suspended -
almost an Assumption...

but with one last breath
I mercifully plunge, a gentle behemoth,
back into deep blue's silence
of bubbles, sunbeams, and vibrations -

an underwater sanctuary.
Can you hear my plea?

by Margaret Bednar, March 28, 2017


My dear friend, Toril, is an artist living in the driftless region of Wisconsin.  She can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/torilfineart/ and these fine fellows are for sale (there are actually three of them!) and many other new paintings she will be selling this spring & summer. 

With such beauty, it is daunting putting words to the feelings these images evoke... I am my own worst critic, I'm afraid... 



"Springtime Quest"


Springtime Quest

The curve of his neck seems a metaphor,
not "clothed in thunder" (Job 39:19)
but something serene and comforting -
perhaps more akin to soft summer rain.

His nose tickles, comforts
like no words ever can; lips inquisitive -
searching for sweet treats
I gladly offer.

Ears flick backward, forward
as I test iambic pentameter -
his head nods, warm brown eyes
seemingly approve.  He's easily pleased.

Trees brim with birds, mint green grass
is sprouting, and words flutter & tease me
to reach out, grasp, frame them
within lines and margins.

I lean forward ever so slightly,
send Oberon off into a gallop -
challenge this budding spring day
to escape my poetic lasso.

by Margaret Bednar, March 28, 2017

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Thought Animals"

The challenge was to write this poem in quadrille form - I thought that meant four line stanzas - not a total of 44 words!  So not to be accused of not following the rules, here is a 44 version:



Curve of his neck's a metaphor
not "clothed in thunder"...

more akin to soft summer rain.

His ears flick backward
as I test iambic pentameter

mint green grass & words flutter -
tease to be tamed within lines & margins

try to defy my poetic lasso

And also with "The Tuesday Platform

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Home


Home

I close my eyes,
brush away illusion of yesteryear

  smell sweet dandelions 
  and fields of alfalfa & clover,

  hear Sugar barking, 
  warning of Katy's imminent wanderlust
  and roving ways - my father whistles - 
  saves me an afternoon of searching the tracks 
  and riverbed for wayward hound.  

  Mother hums, 
  garden pail full of vegetables I detest, 

  chickens cluck, ponies stomp their hooves; 
  horseflies are especially pesky come late July. 

  I'm busy weeding glorious flowerbeds with my sister
  (we laugh and bicker simultaneously) 
  not sure if what I've unearthed 
  is intruder or poesy.  

  But then,
  I adore the sweet dandelions...

Vignettes such as these shimmer within me;
settle me, center me, shelter me;
create a strength I believe I've fostered
in my children.

A home in their heart,
better than money in the bank.

by Margaret Bednar, March 22, 2017

This is linked with "The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Weekend Mini-Challenge - Home" and "The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - The Tuesday Platform"

Friday, March 17, 2017

Of Quilts & Killing Fields


Of Quilts & Killing Fields 

Come spring they'd stretch
between birch and pine,
dappled light dancing lovingly
upon tufted ornamental stitches;
billowing sails filled with earthly fragrance.

Beneath snowdrops
lay twisted and mangled;
a killing field begun
by a twitching tail
and a desire to please.

by Margaret Bednar, March 17, 2017


linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Fireblossom Friday - Incongruity"

note:  Snowdrop flowers are white and represent purity.

As a child, every spring my cat couldn't wait to spend more time outdoors and start hunting - he was always so proud to show me his efforts...  I don't deal with this now as my three cats are all permanent indoor cats.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

"Produce Aisle"

"Produce"
Produce Aisle

I've always longed to melt into Monet paintings,
feel his strokes of color upon my skin
warmer than any summer sunrise.

Renoir's eye for intimacy,
Cezanne's bright shapes,
Picasso's creative boldness -
all these things I see as I mingle amongst the produce,

fondle golden beets, caress cantaloupe's contours,
relish the idea of organic beauty upon a canvas,
my brush creating a world of swirls and dashes.

I arrange delicata to the left, a radish's greens
hail from the right, red peppers and aubergine eggplant
centrally featured, shift the pomegranate around,
imagine it outlined with sure, dark Van Gogh-like strokes...

frame these produce divas as they seductively pose,
swear the pear's channeling Marilyn Monroe
(perhaps the butternut too), sungolds pout their red,

and the kaleidoscope mix of carrots claim best dressed
in their gowns of atomic red, cosmic purple,
and lunar white. I take a quick photo of my market still-life,
sweep them off their "red carpet"

take them home to be boiled, baked, chopped, devoured -
fate unchanged, yet destined to be remembered,
perhaps with a brush stroke of summer sun.

by Margaret Bednar, March 9, 2017

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Rommy's Challenge - Synesthesia"  The idea as to swap sensory imagery - What does a sunrise taste like? Does the sound of crickets have a tactile feel?  were examples.  I think I got off track - comparing the produce to divas and a glamorous red carpet type of walk...  Or maybe my sensory is the visual (imagination)?

Delicata?  a delicious squash.  Here is a link to 15 fantastic pumpkins and squash recipes and I have used a number of them... Not only cute but yummy.   https://www.thespruce.com/winter-squash-and-pumpkins-2217736




Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Through the Veil"


Through the Veil 

Every year Stork's Tower's adorned
for the Chrysanthemum Festival,
autumn nuzzles the Black Forest,
fields of gold-ripened crops
and vineyards embrace
beneath sky's vast blue as steeples
and red roofs point toward heaven -

yet 1845 brought the potato blight
to Lahr, Baden-Wurttemberg
(German isn't exactly poetic...)
and Landolin Haas to Lady Liberty's shore
aboard the Rappahannock and perhaps
down the rivers Delaware and Schuylkill
to Pottsville, Pennsylvania
and soon through the doors
of St. John the Baptist
into the arms of Josepha Benedikte
of that same year.

1860 a Wisconsin farmer,
1863, a Civil War soldier...
1865 deceased -
a victim of battle or disease?

I follow the curve and slant
of Theresa Hershede's hand,
keeper of a rooming house,
immigration year 1870,
applying for naturalization ...

So many (great) Grandparents'
partial stories - ghosts upon paper
that flutter alive before me a bit -
who tilled the land still tilled today,
made vows in churches still standing,
in counties and towns I've driven past,
never knowing they are a part of me...

and I've only just begun;
so here's to the immigration trail
from Slovakia, southwest Germany,
and villages of Somerset England -
may lives glimmer once again
through the veil of time.

by Margaret Bednar, February 18, 2017

This is for a poetic prompt I am hosting at "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Artistic Interpretations - Immigrants".   Not only am I learning where my ancestors came to in America, but the homelands they came from... how cool to perhaps visit those places in Europe one day....


Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Temptation"


Temptation

A trickle of sweat
defies the rapidly moving paper fan
imprinted with the Savior's face.

My red tongue
swipes salt from my upper lip
almost revealing my secret.

His gentle eyes
seemingly acknowledge
my transgression

but I cannot resist temptation.

I pop another sinfully sour red explosion
into my mouth
careful not to swallow the pit.

The perfumed shade makes me think
for a moment I'm in Heaven
but the stickiness of the imperfect ones

upon the ground
causes me to stop fanning
and ask forgiveness.  He understands.

I hope Grandmother will too.

by Margaret Bednar, February 12, 2017



One of my earliest memories is of my grandmother's cherry trees and our family picking cherries in the summer.  My mom canned and I'm sure my love for cherry pie began with that tree.

This poem is reworked for a poetry group I belong to "Behind the Stacks" (they used to meet in a library) and the theme for February is "Food for Thought".

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Of Canna & Martins

Canna "Orange Beauty" flowers - Wrightsville Beach, NC
Of Canna & Martins

Towering titian beauties bold,
coronated, (or so it seems
as regally they don't bend)
stand tall and proud
as I, like a butterfly revere them
from my lowly adirondack chair -

sip a summer's refreshing drink,
watch Purple Martins swoop, dip,
and dine upon dragonflies
upon a scrim I'd liken to Pissarro -

all before me for but an eve
as I soak in the last rays
of this ocean-side holiday.

by Margaret Bednar, February 11, 2017

This could also have been entitled "February Blues" or "Longing for that Summer Vacation".   This will be linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday mini challenge - Recycle a Saying".  I loosely played with this Korean proverb:  "Butterflies come to pretty flowers"

Note:  I see I didn't read the directions of the challenge completely through - the rub was to change a word or two and do an altered version of the proverb...  I'll put my thinking cap on and give it another go perhaps with another poem.

Here are a few more proverbs I found wonderful:

"Spring won't come from one flower"  Persian proverb
"Patience is a flower that grows not in everyone's garden" Italian proverb
"Beauty without virtue is a flower without perfume" French proverb
"All flowers are not in one garland" English proverb
"Flowers leave some of their fragrance in the hand that bestows them" Chinese proverb
"A beautiful flower is incomplete without its leaves" Chinese proverb
"For the sake of the flowers, the weeds are watered" Arabic proverb
"An old man loved is a winter with flowers" German proverb
"Look before you leap, for snakes among sweet flowers do creep" German proverb
"All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of yesterday" Italian proverb
"A kiss without a hug is like a flower without the fragrance" Maltese proverb


Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Walls"


Walls

Hadrian's Wall was built for war,
now weaves its way through cozy hamlets,
rolls past castles, forts, and Roman remnants,
along East River to the Irish Sea.

The other day I basked in winter's sun,
back against a wall, wind blocked,
secure, content as thawing limbs
frolicked upon its canvas.

Walls are built for protection,
and yet as late my mind keeps pondering
what it means for those who reside
on the other side.

by Margaret Bednar, February 9, 2017

I so would love to walk this path, along this wall some day...

This poem is linked with the challenge over at "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Music with Marian - Wall"



Hadrian's Wall - Timewatch by klidstone1970


Sunday, February 5, 2017

"Brooklyn Bridge"

The Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge

What great monuments man has made
that drape across East River's breadth -
incandescent portraits
of fortune, finesse, and fearlessness.

King's county bows its crown come morn,
Manhattan curtsies (but not demurely) mid cocktail hour -
such ceremony sliced
by tugs, ferries, ships, and boats

all beneath two gothic arches,
a cathedral suspended
clasping two together.

by Margaret Bednar, February 5, 2017

Kings county = Brooklyn

10 things you may not know about the Brooklyn Bridge

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Flash 55 Plus

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Of Verse, Poesy & Odes"



Of Verse, Poesy & Odes

Palm a poem as if fragile
even if the words are bold.

Let them sink into your skin
as if moonlight,

let them flow through your veins
until they become ordinary

for only then will we know
they nourished.

by Margaret Bednar, January 29, 2017

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Weekend Mini Challenge - Condense a Poem"  non other than Pablo Neruda's "Sweetness, always" in our own words, retaining the essence of what we think the poem is.   Below is Neruda's whole poem:

Sweetness, always
by Pablo Neruda

"Why such harsh machinery?
Why, to write down the stuff and people of everyday,
must poems be dressed up in gold,
or in old and fearful stone?

I want verses of felt or feather which scarcely weigh,
mild verses
with the intimacy of beds
where people have loved and dreamed.
I want poems stained
by hands and everydayness.

Verses of pastry which melt
into milk and sugar in the mouth,
air and water to drink,
the bites and kisses of love.
I long for eatable sonnets,
poems of honey and flour.

Vanity keeps prodding us
to lift ourselves skyward
or to make deep and useless
tunnels underground.
So we forget the joyous
love-needs of our bodies.
We forget about pastries.
We are not feeding the world.

In Madras a long time since,
I saw a sugary pyramid,
a tower of confectionery -
one level after another,
and in the construction, rubies,
and other blushing delights,
medieval and yellow.

Someone dirtied his hands
to cook up so much sweetness.

Brother poets from here
and there, from earth and sky,
from Medellin, from Veracruz,
Abyssinia, Antofagasta,
do you know the recipe for honeycombs?

Let's forget about all that stone.

Let your poetry fill up
the equinoctial pastry shop
our mouths long to devour -
all the children's mouths
and the poor adults' also.
Don't go on without seeing,
relishing, understanding
all these hearts of sugar.

Don't be afraid of sweetness.

With or without us,
sweetness will go on living
and is infinitely alive,
forever being revived,
for it's in a man's mouth,
whether he's eating or singing,
that sweetness has its place."

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Revelation"

 
Ever wondered about the story behind these triple roadside crosses?  HERE it is.   
Revelation

As a child I was tucked into bed inspired
with stories of Saints; some plucked from sin
and dismay, others never swayed from righteous ways -

drifted off to sleep beneath moonlit shelf
of angels and figurines blessed -

waited for "marching orders",  my turn to serve;
"Strive for sanctity" a phrase I'd often heard -

drove by triple crosses planted in cow pastures,
wondered if they were a sign.  Opened bibles randomly,
fingered verse as if a crystal ball -

St. Joan had her voices, her visions,
St. Teresa, her raptures, her angels,
my Evangelical friend, her "God told me so" -

but I'm afraid the only voice I hear is mine.
The only vision is what's before me.

Perhaps love is all you need
(inspired a bit from the Beetles
as well as the Bible) -

Love as a verb, a word to galvanize us all
to become our own unique saint.

by Margaret Bednar, January 23, 2017

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday Mini Challenge with Brendan - Voices"   I did a bit of an overhaul on this poem - for those who read it through the first time, thanks for doing so again.

I learned this lesson years ago - and I've stumbled many times, but whatever we believe, if we don't put it into action, what good is it?  Most never have a "great revealing" nor a "voice" that divinely inspires... but if we are true to what we believe in (I am talking religion) then we are called to live it the best of our abilities, to be strong, to be our own unique version of a saint, to love God not by being just like the saints before us, but loving God as they did.

And to always remember love is a verb, an action.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Writer



The Writer

Her voice is soft like a songbird's first "good morning",
vibrato's as words pour into her leather bound fortress,
becomes a warrior, a missionary - maybe a bit of both;

a vortex of youth, passion, possibilities -
becomes a full bodied soprano reaching for high C
no longer penning curly cues and girlish giggles
but brandishing flourishes as bold and strong
as ambition dares reach...

and she dares.

by Margaret Bednar, January 16, 2017



Linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Poetry, Writing, & Metaphor - Dreaming w/ Stacie"   Metaphors are not to use the word like - I believe if one uses "like" then it is a similes.  They both compare ...

Friday, January 13, 2017

"Of Grace & Tears" - Ellis Island Hospital

Ellis Island Hospital Ward
Ellis Island Hospital Hallway



"Of Grace & Tears" - Ellis Island Hospital

There are lives we'll never know about,
letters penned of hopes, dreams, successes, failures -
never realized

but I almost feel the brush of shoulders,
hear their whispers as I tread
yesteryears worn stairwells and dim-lit halls,
peer through cracked, broken windows,
almost see them as harbor winds snow-kiss
old planked floors,
my footprints ghost-like impressions
reminiscent of decades,
not moments, passed.

Chairs angle toward windows
seemingly vie for sight
of Lady Liberty, as if hope's still sought
by eyes wistful, eyes dim.

The mortuary's more mysterious
than morbid, eight tray doors swing open,
empty now - almost invite a peek within
to ponder "who"...
autopsy table's missing,
yet overhead light's intact
as if waiting
for doctor to walk in, lecture to begin.

Long hallways beckon
with shafts of shadow and light,
doors ajar to private rooms
for contagious and crazy;
isolation and a view
not so prestigious.
Better a shared ward with 16 beds.

Quarantined with time and silence
is crumbling plaster, scattered bricks;
illness and ailments no longer contained
within these walls of those who journeyed on,
for those turned away.

Curve of banister's still beautiful,
generous windows still filter light,
but now rain, snow, and summer ivy reside,
slowly reclaim the past, the humanity
and tragedies, grace and tears,
love and fear.

by Margaret Bednar, January 13, 2017

I invite you to listen to me read my poem: https://soundcloud.com/margaretbednar/of-grace-tears-a-poem-of-ellis

Ellis Island - a blog link (See Saw by Liza Cowan) totally worth reading - gorgeous photography and words...

And here is a video I HIGHLY recommend! ... "Forgotten Ellis Island" Narrated by Elliot Gould




Nine out of every 10 patients were cured at Ellis Hospital and continued their immigration journey.

Ellis Island Autopsy Theatre
Ellis Island Hospital
The mortuary's eight trays... awaiting burial 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ellis Island 1892-1954

Statue of Liberty with Ellis Island in the background
Ellis Island 1892-1954 

Liberty raised her arm, held aloft a flame
for dreams, for welcoming first class
who quickly disembarked, walked beneath her crown.

Others, tired, poor, and tempest-tost,
alighted upon isle Ellis, poked, prodded, questioned;
breasts full of trepidation of a letter chalked
upon one's chest.

Land of opportunity for those with strong backs,
for those who weren't hunchbacked, diseased,
feeble minded, Jews, Slavs, Italians, or Chinese:
first to confront "closing of the open door".

Most marked "desirable", no steamship return;
a few detained for Dr. Kimmel and staff -
wards now emptied and windblown once teamed
with immigrants tired; some tempted

to believe in God for the first time.

by Margaret Bednar, January 12, 2017


I've visited NYC quite a few times over the last couple of years, but this was my first visit to Ellis Island.  I took the "Behind the Scenes Hospital" tour - not pictured here.  I was left with quite a few impressions and will hopefully be writing a few more poems on this topic.

I do believe our government's first responsibility is to keep our nation safe from disease and those who would/will hurt our society and way of governing - but my heart went out to so many of the people's stories that didn't make it through (it is recorded that only 2% did NOT make it through) ... 9 of every 10 hospital patients were cured and became citizens.  There was corruption going on and of course, at the same time, many heroic, selfless people working to help the immigrants.  It seems the same narrative continues today...

Here is a short video "Inside Ellis Island's Abandoned Hospitals (CNN)" you might find interesting.  I walked through these rooms, took photos, and will have a poetry prompt featuring Ellis Island on February 16 at "Imaginary Garden of Real Toad's" website.

Ellis Island - Main Immigration Station
The Public Health Service defined its mission rather narrowly—preventing the entrance of disease to the nation—but PHS officers interpreted their job more broadly. In their eyes, the goal was to prevent the entrance of undesirable people—those "who would not make good citizens" [3]. In the context of industrial-era America, immigrants who would wear out prematurely, requiring care and maintenance rather than supplying manpower, would not make "good" citizens. By 1903 the PHS had elaborated two major categories: "Class A" loathsome or dangerous contagious diseases and "Class B" diseases and conditions that would render an immigrant "likely to become a public charge." A subset of Class A conditions included mental conditions such as insanity and epilepsy.