Thursday, December 30, 2010

Magpie #46 (a second poem), "Memories"

This is my second poem for Magpie Tales #46.  The photo is Tess Kincaid's. This poem, "Memories", is the one I originally had in mind but needed time to think it through.  (The poem in the post below is a fun one I did for my kids after we went driving around the neighborhoods exclaiming at the Christmas decorations.) 

I have entered this poem in "One Stop Poetry's "One Shot Wednesday" - week 33.  Over one hundred submissions of amazing poetry. Please click and see for yourself.  


The gentle hands of a strong man
Are what she noticed first
His teasing smile and keen wit
Not too far behind.

They reached out and selected her,
Through the pulsating room of beauties
Slightly calloused and warm
Reluctant to let go

She truly saw his hands on hers
Before she looked up into gaze, intense
Admired his features, his presence
In that crowded room, it seemed just them

He hadn't let go, fingers wrapped around hers
Tucked under his arm and walked outside
Under the stars they talked for hours
The intimacy of their hands, enough

Over the years those hands taught her love,
Caressed their children's tears, soothed
many a fevered brow.  Hands always willing to
Lighten her load, and lead the family in prayer.


She noticed his leathered gloves upon the floor
An avalanche of memories were invoked 
Slipped her hand inside, the warmth familiar
and laid the softness against her cheek.

by Margaret Bednar

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Magpie Tale #46, "A Labor of Love"

OK, my entry for this Magpie Tale (click to see other entries) challenge is a bit of a stretch, but I went driving tonight through some amazing neighborhoods that literally "glowed" with Christmas cheer.  The photo above is the prompt and I wanted to tie the two together.  This is a bit quirky and not so well done poetically, but I hope you get some enjoyment out of it! 

"A Labor of Love"
by Margaret Bednar

His beloved provided Tom with a request to pursue
“Make it tasteful, make it shine with the spirit of Christmas.
Create a display”, his dear wife said, “for us to share and view.
May I rely upon you, husband of mine?”  He assured her, “Oh, yes!”
Taking up the gauntlet, Tom accepted the challenge.  Off to Lowes
He selected “suitable and refined” - a perfect crimson red,
Hunter green wreaths adorned with rich, velvety bows 
And white wooden rockers (she always had wanted).

Spotlight illuminating, he swaggered to the street
To admire his resplendent front porch celebrating the season.
Affixing the gloves upon his hand, Tom slowly turned to view his great feat
When from the corner of his eye he saw Mr. Anderson. 

Gazing upon his own achievement, which was quite notable indeed
With lights all a twinkling, red and white candy canes all aglow.
On down the sidewalk Tom looked and saw the yard of Don McCread
Bedecked with Frosty and Santa and sparkly trees in the snow.

Walking past house after house, his pride took a hit,
Even spying upon the doorstep of eight-thirteen, St. Nikolaus himself!
Tom threw his gloves upon the snow, declaring his work unfit
He would return the items and place his tools back upon the shelf.

And then the final blow, the grand finale in fact
Obviously an over-achiever, but grand all the same
A site to lure children of all ages - and boy, it did attract
Cars and vans, and how the wonderous people did exclaim!

Glitz and blitz and a frequency channel, 102.3
Blinking and flashing to the rhythm of the song
Tom stood transfixed and then, slowly, felt such glee
For it wasn’t about competing, he had been so wrong.

Slipping and sliding, he raced back home to surprise his bride
With the gift from his heart, he knew she would approve
It wasn’t about showing off to neighbors, at least he had tried
It was about displaying affection, it was his labor of love.

Monday, December 27, 2010

"A Life Together, Celebrated", a poem

A Life Together, Celebrated
by Margaret Bednar

Champaign chilled, hors'duerves out
Napkins folded like swans
Candles lit, music low
Minutes slowly ticking

Ticking, the minutes fly
Into hours, waiting 
Drooping swans, pools of wax
Time ticks on, music fades

Fades and starts up again
Her love and patience sure
His presence at their door
Reliable and true
True to his promise and
of vows twenty years past
He sweeps in the front door
No finer man exists
Exists with dignity
And love for family
They raise their glasses, “clink”
Lips connect, warm embrace
Embrace and celebrate
Joyous years together
Six children, memories
Grateful with heart and soul.
Our first few wedding anniversaries I went all out and created a romantic atmosphere... only to wait hours until my husband arrived home late at night from work.  We have been married for over 20 years now and due to his work schedule, many holidays have been celebrated early (or late), and some birthdays and school events he has been there only in “spirit”.  He works long, hard hours and gives much of himself at work but never arrives home unable to continue giving of himself.  
My husband is truly our rock, our guiding light, so to speak.  Anyone who knows him will not doubt that.  No finer man exists and I am honored that he still gives me a kiss every time he arrives home.  I don’t light the candles in advance anymore and I switched to red wine but I still, on occasion like to celebrate the quiet of the night and surprise him with a warm welcome home. After all, he is my “knight” even after all these years.  
This poem is for Jingle Poetry’s “Poetry Potluck”.  We were to reflect upon celebrations and festivities. I also submitted this to Jingle's Thursday Poets Rally Week 36

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Robert Frost, 92/365

Storm Fear
by Robert Frost

When the wind works against us in the dark,
And pelts us with snow
The lower chamber window on the east,
And whispers with a sort of stifled bark,
The beast,
"Come out! Come out!" --
It costs no inward struggle not to go,
Ah, no!
I count our strength,
Two and a child,
Those of us not asleep subdued to mark
How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length, --
How drifts are piled,
Dooryard and road ungraded,
Till even the comforting barn grows far away,
And my heart owns a doubt
Whether 'tis in us to arise with day
And save ourselves unaided.

A little over a year ago we lived in blustery Northern Michigan.  An area prepared for heavy snow and gusting wind.  But here in North Carolina we have been presented with a White Christmas, the first since 1947 by some accounts.  Looking out my front door at 2:00a.m. last night, I was enchanted with the chandelier-like imagery.

My kids and I even "braved" the elements last evening and saw the new movie "True Grit", which I highly recommend.  Matt Damon deserves a supporting actor nomination, if not all of the main characters (and director).  Upon driving back home around 10:00 pm, we saw downed wires due to the heavy load of snow and had a hard time making it up our steep driveway.  

As excited children traversed our hills this morning, I can't help but wonder what hardships this "beast" of a snowfall has created for some.  My son, Will, gave me a book of Robert Frost's poems.  He had a very interesting, story-like way about his poetry which I find intriguing.  

I am out the door now to take a walk and be thankful I have a warm house in which to return.

Beautiful walk ... the dogs loved it, but our smallest was a bit overwhelmed...

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Don't touch this", 90/365

A retired gentleman shared his train set up with my son the other day and boy was he enthralled.  As you can see, a lot of work has gone into creating this. (very hard to bet a good photo as it was very dim in the room)

My son loves trains and it was quite a challenge for him to obey and not touch.  Overall, he did quite well.  Let's just hope he doesn't expect one just like it on Christmas morning.  

Here's to a wonderful holiday to all my blogging friends and a Happy New Year -  May all your dreams and desires not be out of reach! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Just like the movies, minus the little pile at the bottom left!", 88 & 89/365

Another photo I shot while visiting the farm across the street from where I live.  Reminds me of a scene from an old western.  Speaking of which, I have high hopes for the remake of "True Grit".  After Christmas dinner we all go to the movies - I think I will choose to see it.   Just saw the new movie "The Tourist" and really enjoyed it.  Angelina is gorgeous and perfect for the part, but Johnny Depp's performance is amazing - he is quite fine...

We spend Christmas Eve making cookies, playing games and hope to attend midnight Mass this year.  We also used to sled, but here in NC I guess we will have to settle taking the dogs for a walk.  Maybe we will stroll across the street and visit this little guy below.  All my girls fell in love, but the old labrador that shares space with this rambunctious puppy isn't quite as enamored!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Our Pony", a poem

Our Pony
Softness of heart
Velvet her name,
she of shaggy coat, gentle gaze.
Her short legs worked overtime
in front of the pack, 
the lead she always maintained.
One blue eye, one brown, 
always cautious, watchful 
babysitter on many 
a rambunctious day.
Summer mornings,  
off we went, field eagerly crossed, 
sister and I securely upon her back.
Traversing up and down quarry 
through tall cornfield 
and railroad tracks
wading along river bank, 
or forest trail;
aware of the way home, 
she always led us back.
Until the day our feet 
nearly dragged the ground
we knew our journeys 
had come to an end.
With joy I must admit 
we welcomed a bigger horse,
one eager to explore 
and take us away, fast.
From behind the fence 
we heard her indignant cry 
of being left behind.  
Never again 
did she join the pack, 
no leader she,
Resigned to wait 
until we returned.
She cared for us 
when we were small,
watched us outgrow her.  
We brushed and petted,
walked her by lead,
the big horse 
eventually moved on,
but she was family, 
beloved and cherished, 
she remained.

by Margaret Bednar

This poem is for Poetry Potluck, this weeks theme: Reflection   

The top is a photo of my sister and me with our pony, Velvet.  I am standing and my sister has our dog, Sugar in her lap.  Looking at this picture it both seems so long ago AND like it was yesterday... how can that be?  Well, as I fight the lump in my throat, I can look back and say how lucky we were to grow up in an "innocent" time when we kids didn't worry about being out ALL day, wandering around the countryside, only coming home when we were either hungry or it was starting to get dark.  And our pony was usually with us!  My horse was beloved too.  But when we moved out of the house and got our own apartments, he was sold.  My mom refused to part with Velvet - she said a better caretaker of her children she could never have found!  

This is me in my "beloved" (not really) polyester green 4-H outfit.  Velvet was a great little pony, always well liked by the judges.  She brought home the blue ribbon for both of us this day.  She knew her leads and trotted along so slowly.  Tucked her head in nicely when asked to back up.  Horse shows were not my "thing", though.  My sister, to this day does raise horses and shows them professionally (give me trail riding any day!).  Maybe I would have felt differently if I had been given a better outfit...  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is this a Guinea Fowl?, 87/365

I thought this was a strange looking chicken, but after reading an art blog I follow, I believe this bird is a guinea fowl.  Please click HERE to be transported to a heartwarming story about a fellow blogger's experience with a guinea fowl.

"Winter White", 86/365

I love it when horses are all fuzzy for the cold of winter.  They look like big teddy bears.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Horses, horses, horses 85/365

I think the horse on the left is a remarkable looking fellow.  He (she - I never noticed!)  has one blue eye and might be qualified as a pie-bald horse - or maybe he has a bit too much black for that.  Either way, I enjoyed watching these two romp around and play.  What a treat to be able to go for a quick walk and have so many horses to view.  I will be posting a few more photos in the next few days of the horses at Stillwater Farm.  This is my 85th photo in my 365 day journey challenge. If you would like to participate, please click HERE.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tis the season for ... donkeys, 84/365

This little guy lives just across the street.  He is very sweet and quiet the curious little fellow...

We have a wicker basket that we add a new Christmas book to every year.  One of our favorite stories is "The Small One", by Alex Walsh, Illustrations by Jesse  Clay.  I will enjoy reading it for the first time to my 3 year old son.

We are finishing up a two week run of a Christmas show my two girls were in.  It is for one of our local community theatres.  The name of the show is "Ebenezer's Trailer Park Christmas Extravaganza".  It is a comedy and it has been receiving a great response from the crowds.  There is one reference to the "Three White Men" as some southerners used to NOT display black Wise Men. (It is hard to believe such ridiculousness!)  I worried about parts of it not being "politically correct", but the southern people here are really laughing - and it is funny.  After this busy weekend, I will be visiting all my blog friends -- I can't wait to see what everyone has been doing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"

Not bad considering this is from a group of drama students.  My son, Will (red scarf) has been taking voice lessons for years, though.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Playing around the Christmas Tree", 83/365

These two have been turning the tree into a playground.  Here they are getting ready to pounce and roll around the Christmas tree.  The black and white cat, Gabriella, has taken to sleeping in the branches at night.  This photo is only 83 of my 365 day journey.  Click HERE if you are interested in joining the fun.

I've been so busy helping my daughter get ready for her Christmas party that she is hosting here at our house, I haven't had much time to look at the blogs I follow!  I apologize and can't wait to see what everyone has been doing!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Ring Those Bells", 81 & 82/365

Christmas bells symbolize the ringing out to "lost sheep" to bring them back to the fold, signifying that all are precious in His eyes. They also proclaim the birth of Jesus in the manger and proclaim divine love and protection.  I guess they also frighten away evil spirits, just like the light that reflects off of the glass ornaments that hang from our tree.  These black & white photos are for Black & White Wednesday - click HERE to see more entries.

Magpie Tale #45, "Husband and Son", 80/365

Husband and Son
Macho, self-absorbed and recklessly daring,
Qualities initially attracting her he possessed.
Holding her newborn son, her arms caring
Raising a thoughtful and gentle man, her newfound quest
by Margaret Bednar
This is for Magpie Tale #45 - Photo prompt at the bottom of this post.  Click HERE to see other takes on this challenge.

The photo above is for my 365 Photographic Journey - click HERE if you are interested in participating.   
I feel a bit guilty as the prompt is Mary & Jesus and of course St. Joseph, the unsung hero is not shown.  My own husband is the very definition of wonderful, so this poem reflects neither of them!  But I couldn’t let go of the idea that many women choose a man foolishly and do their best to raise their sons to not be like their father... An uphill battle, indeed.  
Thank you Tess for another wonderful challenge.  Not a lot of time today, thus a very short poem.  :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poetry Potluck #14, "Passion Pursued" Haiku

House lights dim, band plays
 Grand velvet house curtain parts
 Our passion pursued

by Margaret Bednar

This is my first attempt at a Haiku.  Looking up the "rules" of Haikus was a bit confusing, so I went with the basic 5,7,5.  If anyone can shed light on the correct approach to this form of poetry, please enlighten me.  

This is for Jingle Poetry's "Poetry Potluck".  The theme this week is Hobbies & Passions, Pastimes & Entertainment.  The above photo is almost a year old - My oldest son played "Roger" in the musical "RENT".

"The Beast Within the Christmas Tree", 79/365

Will our Christmas tree (and ornaments) survive the "Beast" that lives within its branches?  I'm submitting this to the Alphabet Challenge - Letter N.   N for naughty!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday Scribblings, "Illuminated Limitations"

"Safe & Snug...Limits Clearly Established!"
The following poem is for Sunday Scribblings #245 - "Limits".  Please click HERE to go to this blog and sample other takes on this subject (remember, #245)  The photo is of my "baby" who is 3 years old now (and still my baby :)

Illuminated Limitations

Acceptance is the rule,
Cradled in Mother's arms.
Worries non-existent,
Her hands a protective shield.

Playing area marked off,
Childhood defended.
Young eyes recognize a world beyond,
Yet relish the safety within.

Soon the agreed upon line questioned
Confinement becomes an issue.
Longing to hit the ball of life hard and
Sail far beyond the chain-link fence.

Out of bounds at last, attempting to
Secure the impossible dream.
Stretching, sometimes breaking the old
Established parameters of security.

Exasperation kicks in
As confidence grows.
Do the rules of yesterday
Apply to what we know today?

"Pursuit of Happiness" the goal,
"All is Fair in Love and War".
Rebellion and our "destiny" battle
For a foothold in this journey we call "Life".

Expectations diminish and weariness sets in,
Or is it acceptance and understanding?
With one's limitations illuminated,
Tolerance raises its wise old head.

by Margaret Bednar

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Christmas Schooner, 78/365

Every wonder why we have Christmas Trees?  The ornament above partially answers that question - it is one of my favorite ornaments on the tree.  We are a HUGE theatre family, and "The Christmas Schooner" is a musical that our family participated in four times and is based on a true story.  The next three paragraphs are extracted from a newspaper ( I think the Petoskey News & Review) article:

"The Christmas Schooner" premiered at Bailiwick Repertory Theater in the mid-1990s and received the 1996 Chicago After Dark Award for outstanding new work. The musical is based on the true story of the Rouse Simmons, a Great Lakes schooner whose captain, named Peter Stossel in the play, literally puts his life on the limb to transport fir trees from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to Chicago's German immigrants during the late 19th century. Notable songs from the musical include "We All Have Songs," "Pass it On," "What is it About the Water?," "Winterfest Polka," "Questions," and "Hardwater Sailors."

The ship sank during an icy storm Nov. 22, 1912. "The Christmas Schooner" also tells the love story of Peter and his wife, Alma, who is understandably critical of the trecherous journey year after year, but comes to ultimately understand the power of The Christmas Schooner's mission.

Read about the (Click on the title) Legend of the Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons, whose captain, Herman Schuenemann, perished in the Great Lakes and whose story might have ended there, if not for his wife, Barbara Schueneman. Barbara and her daughters took to the Great Lakes in a new ship and delivered Christmas trees to Chicago for another 22 years.

The following link is a video of the year after we left Petoskey, and many of our friends are in this version.  There is also a bit of the true history explained.  The music is beautiful and if you have a production of this going on near you, please consider buying tickets.

I believe the following information is still correct: 

Songs from The Christmas SchoonerLyrist & Music by Julie Shannon. $15.00 available by emailing or Calling (847-256-0112 or
Can purchase by mail by sending a check or credit card number to: William Geller, 2116 Thornwood, Wilmette, IL 60091

The photos below are from one of the shows.  My daughter is in the purple dress and my son and husband are the two behind the captain's wheel.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What would YOU do for tuna? 77/365

This is pretty much the only photo that turned out.  The Reindeer antlers didn't make him very happy either...

She had a bit more patience, but not much.  And we did go through a whole can of tuna!

Evil Spirits...depart! 76/365

Glass ornaments with indentations allow the light to be highly reflective.  "Legend" says that such reflectivity of light hanging from your tree would deter evil spirits from entering your home.  Upon seeing their own reflection, they would withdraw, terrified of what they saw.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Magpie Tail #44, "Life's Run", by Margaret Bednar, 75/365

My submission to Magpie 44. (Magpie photo at bottom of this post)  Click HERE to see other entries.  This is actually my 2nd version - I need to learn to massage a poem, alter and ponder the words, and make changes before I post it.  I have submitted this to Wednesday's One Shot Poetry.  Click HERE to see other entries - you won't be disappointed if you do.

Life's Run
Grant me a moment to indulge in reminiscence, of
An earlier time displayed by this fading image of youth.
A moment to relive the joy of exuberant bumps,
Unexpected bounces, graceful glides and surprising finishes.

Vigor slowly seeping from these hands of mine, I
Fondly recall their firmness and courage as they
grasped the Roman shield of life and descended
Life's hill, engaging in battle, in search of just rewards.

My heart faintly beats with fond recollection of
Youthful force careening and bold.
Strength of convictions and destiny held the
Keys to reason, untutored but sure.

I preferred the path of a clipper, sporting and fearless
No dainty cutter, I.  Cherubs and beauty no lure, that is
Until knocked off, tumbling and lost half way in life.
Grasping for a hold, seeking a descent, controlled and safe.

Steadying and slowing the pace of life, your
sweetness and joy created newfound momentum.
As unique a design hand-painted on dear Rosebud, you
A cutter after all I rode, with new precious cargo aboard.

A twisting of the previously "foreseen" path, I proudly
Showcased you, my "top-of-the-line" model, steerable by small degree.
A bit of a wild ride ensued on your very own red painted Flyer
Gradually my own runners worn, I watched you speed ahead.

Gliding towards the finish line, heart-bounty secured,
My life's force grateful and content, with
Vintage paint crackling, vibrant no longer, I
Resplendently slide to a stop, anticipating the ascent.

by Margaret Bednar

The above photos are ones I found in my boxes that desperately need organization.  The top is of my oldest sister who passed away when I was two years of age.  The poem is obviously not about her, nor anyone actually - just made up in my head.  The bottom is my husband with two of his brothers - he is sandwiched in between.  I think this is my first unstructured poem - not rhyming or counting syllables.  Not sure what it is called... freeform?  

When researching for the above poem, I learned that Roman soldiers used their shields to sled down hills during battle.  In the late 1800's and early - mid 1900's, sleds were designed specifically for boys (clippers) low slung and fast, and for girls (cutters) dainty and "safer".  "Rosebud" is a reference to a line in the movie "Citizen Kane"... Many say this is one of the best movies of all time...  Before mass production, many sleds had hand-painted designs - and this is what makes them highly collectable today.  The "Flexible Flyer" was one of the first sleds that touted some control with steering.  

Magpie Photo courtesy of Tess Kincaid who ALWAYS supplies awesome reference  images.