I've been reflective lately,
find myself passing many a southern garden
sprouting bright green shoots; am thrilled to see
gorgeous red peonies in mine.
But when yesterday lives, I find myself
a long way gone, landscape and memory merge;
a trail through leaves or the sway of southern wildflowers
evoke my youth, my roots -
As a child I'd watch Mother
weed her vegetable garden, plant flowers,
feed the chickens, relax with a book
on a hot afternoon; her liberation
from household routine, I suppose.
I'm like her in that way,
like to fall under garden spells,
ponder the secret language of birds
or lives of the trees, read poems
that make grown women cry.
Since the creation of Eve,
the spell of the sensuous has teetered
between good and evil, but like I said,
I watched my Mother,
learned how to choose wisely,
many a stormy weather side-stepped
by embracing a blessing of toads
(their spring chorus mountain's pride);
my temptress the small wonder
of a dirt path beneath my feet,
wind in my hair, and the song of colors
east of the sun come morning.
Yes, I've been reflective lately;
nothing daunted my Mother, so it seemed.
But as a grown woman, I know that's not true,
behind the scenes she was frustrated,
grieved, rebelled in her way.
Now the drum of war (what I call
getting older) isn't so loud, so persistent.
There's reason for hope, as I've learned
this past mountain year to embrace change,
love more fiercely, live life to the fullest;
to the extent that maybe,
they'll have to bury me standing!
by Margaret Bednar, April 14, 2019
written for the challenge at "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - 1 Poem, 3 titles" BUT I used 25 (not 3) book titles! From my persoanl library:
Now the Drum of War - by Robert Roper (about Walt Whitman...)
Bury Me Standing - by Isabel Fonseca (the gypsies & their journey)
Mountain Year - by Barbara G. Hallowell - essays about flora and fauna of S. Appalachia
Reason for Hope - by Jane Goodall
Behind the Scenes - by Elizabeth Keckley (part slave narrative, part memoir)
Nothing Daunted - by Dorothy Wickenen - 2 society girls' eduation out west 1916
Small Wonder - by Barbara Kingsolver - essays on our living planet and people
East of the Sun - by Julia Gregson - 1920's - 3 Englishwomen & a troubled boy (India)
A Blessing of Toads - by Sharon Lovejoy - essays & illustrations from "Heart's Ease" column
Stormy Weather - by Paulette Jiles - a novel - hardship, sacrifice, strength and a dream...
Good and Evil - by Anthony Mercatante - myth and legend
The Creation of Eve - by Lynn Cullen - a novel
The Spell of the Sensuous - by David Abram - Perception & language
Lives of the Trees - by Diana Wells - an uncommon history
Poems that Make Grown Women Cry - by Anthony Holden
The Secret Language of Birds - by Adele Nozedar
Garden Spells - by Sarah Addison Allen
A Southern Garden - by Elizabeth Lawrence
(*) When Yesterday Lives - by Karen Kingsbury - a novel
A Long Way Gone - by Ishmael Beah - memoirs of a boy soldier
Landscape and Memory - by Simon Schama - continents & centuries - psychic claims/nature
A Trail Through Leaves - by Hannah Hinchman - journal as a path to place
Roots - by Alex Haley - A novel
Southern Wildflowers - by Laura C. Martin
Liberation - by Joanna Scott - novel
(*) I made one error - "Where (not When) Yesterday Lives" but I had already written the poem so...
Also linked with "Poets United Poets Pantry #495"
Also linked with "NaPoWriMo" - National Poetry Month, a celebration of poetry which takes place each April, was introduced in 1996 and is organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States.