|Sweetgrass baskets at Charleston's 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)