Monday, December 14, 2015

December Walk

A very old cabin - once a home, now filled throughout with split wood!

A stone cottage I wish I lived in! -
(If you'd like to listen to me read this poem, cursor to the end of this post)

December Walk 

Our winding road threads its way
past time worn and tended,
stones fit snug, wood stacked and stored.

My son races through leaves brown and gray,
past red porch swing, past cattle grazing.

Finds frosted apples upon the ground,
golden cherry tomatoes, overripe,
eyes fast tumbling creek beyond barbwire.

He looks to me for a nod.  Doesn't get it.
It's December and the water is cold.

by Margaret Bednar, December 14, 2015

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Micro Poetry - In A Grain of Sand"  and write the poem in no more than 10 lines.  I would have liked to give a nod to the link to form poetry but went with free verse as I have very little time on my hands lately.  Homeschooling two children this year, and one of my daughters is in the musical "The Secret Garden" not to mention our most recent move to the NC mountains.  Our whole family will move to the NC mountains once the school year is finished.

We do make plenty of visits to our rental cottage and these images are along the quaint mountain road.  My 8 year old son always notices small, almost hidden things at times.  He even held up a "frosted" piece of grass for me to photograph.  It's not a grain of sand, but it's a blade of grass :)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

"Pinch Me"

Pinch Me 

Tandem sheep amble pasture hill,
horses graze, and donkey eyes me
as potential threat.

The setting sun slides over this gang 
as I, only one out of breath, 
introduce myself.

Winding road, well worn barns,
crisp fresh air, the promise
of a bright star-lit night...  

All this without ruby slippers.

By Margaret Bednar, December 5, 2015

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Flash Fiction 55"   This past week I helped move my husband to our rental cottage in the NC mountains snuggled near the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We will join him once the kids are finished with their school year. Looking forward to calling this area home. Until then, we will be making a lot of road trips. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

"The Sideshow"

The Sideshow

I admire ballet hands:
relaxed, fluid, elongated -
adore Brunnhilde & Pavlova

yet my soprano & plies
provoke laughter;
arias & satin slippers, "curiosity".

This evening
a woman praised my elegant hands
and I didn't feel fat.

by Margaret Bednar, December 4, 2015

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Words Count with Mama Zen"  I selected from one of the images provided and kept it under a 60 word count.

I've been traveling visiting my son in NYC over Thanksgiving (all 6 children together = a happy mother) and moving part of our family to the North Carolina mountains - we will all join up after school ends in June.  I've missed posting to the poetry challenges - and am glad to spend a bit of time tonight playing along.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"I'm Thankful"

I will be taking a blogger break for the next week.  I will not be posting but will be catching up visiting and commenting on numerous past poetry challenges and posts made this week.  A whirlwind of activity - finishing up the week homeschooling my two youngest and at the end of this month will be moving half of our household possessions to the mountains!

I am thankful for my fellow poets and friends here in blogger-land and wish you a wonderful ending to my favorite month of November.

Experimenting with my poetic voice - it really is a storytelling of sorts, that is reading poetry.  I erased numerous times, not happy with the way my voice fades in and out and stresses certain words. Not really thrilled with this version, but I have confidence with time I will improve.

I'm Thankful

Bittersweet twines,
grasps a hold of bricks and posts
as kale flashes lavender corsages;
no deferring to colors smoldering.

I'm thankful for these competitors
of late fall's seasonal color,
splashing vibrant hues
amongst backdrop of waning glory,

for tyrannical crows
who claim field and fence
where little bluebirds and cardinals
mid-summer freely danced and swooped.

I'm thankful for the westerly sinking sun
quietly draping hills and valleys
with soothing shades of velvety grays
and crystal kisses,

for crisp air that chills my cheeks,
makes me hurry homeward
toward promises of smoldering hearth,
entwined arms and legs.

I'm thankful for celebrating together
the richness of another season's
coming and going and the bountiful gifts
that life and death provide.

by Margaret Bednar, originally written November 20, 2014

Friday, November 20, 2015

"If You Step upon a Crack"

If you Step upon a Crack...

Skipping ahead he avoids cracks
as not to break my mother's back -
head bent low upon his task, his concern dear.

My hand yearns for the warmth of his,
to have him safely by my side -
yet I forgo such a tether,

try banishing the "what if" of terror
that may lurk beneath Manhattan streets,
along well-worn Brooklyn walkways.

Paris is an ocean away, but as we idled
in the quagmire of George Washington Bridge,
"what if" kept taunting

and I could see no way of escape -
certainly not down.  I'm afraid of heights anyway,
so we turned up the music and sang.  Loudly.

The inevitable comes; he steps on a crack -
assures me it's just a game.  Yet, in a heartbeat
I'd gladly sacrifice my back,

to never silence children's voices,
never stifle their dreams, their talents.  I wish
it was as easy as that.

by Margaret Bednar, November 20, 2015

You're Invited to Listen:

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Herotomost's Friday Challenge - Heart's Desire"

Written in response to the Paris terrorist attack...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Gadsby's Tavern"

Gadsby's Tavern 

Candle's flame flickers,
silver & crystal shine,
close my eyes,
run hand along deep-set windowsill,

          imagine Washington, Jefferson, Madison,
          Adams, Monroe doing the same.

Spy moon drowsing
upon tree's heavy limb,
shedding light this dark night,
not a star in sight,

        yet an old friend, suspended, arms uplifted,
        winks back through square panes of glass.

Wonder if room eight's
mysterious haunt
watches us toast to love;
for time we've been blessed.

         tragically hers ran out.

Past resides here,
tells stories
to those who feel them;
content with endings happy,

       endings sad;

Yet Future nestles here as well;
creaking, groaning floorboards
record through dawn and dark
every chair leg that slides back,
every napkin dropped upon empty plate;

      marvel we're part of the narrative
      witnessed within these red brick walls.

by Margaret Bednar, November 18, 2015

A poem reflection on my dining at a historic tavern in Alexandria, VA. (just outside of Washington D.C.)   I also just got back from a trip to NYC - specifically Brooklyn to visit my son.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Tuesday Platform"

The tavern in Alexandria, VA was built around 1785, and the City Hotel in 1792.  John Gadsby leased the property from 1796-1808 and it is his name that is today attached to this historic location.  More info on Wikipedia

HERE is the link to what I copied & pasted below (and there are a few photos).

In September 1816, a young couple arrived by boat from the Caribbean to the port in Old Town Alexandria. They docked off of Prince Street, where the man hired a carriage to transport them to Gadsby’s Tavern, or what was then known as the City Hotel, the center of social life in early Alexandria since the 1780s, when Royal Street was part of the country’s first national highway.
According to legend, the young couple was, in appearance at least, well-heeled, and the woman was very beautiful. But she was also very ill. Her husband took room number 8 at Gadsby’s and carried her in. He jarred the door behind them, and as he did so, the number 8 slid sideways—the symbol for infinity.
Frantic with worry, the man called for a doctor and two nurses. When they arrived to see the patient, however, the man refused to give his name or his companion’s to the attendants or to Mr. Gadsby, the owner of the hotel.
Soon rumors were flying around Old Town about the woman’s identity, and they continue to this day. Some say she was the daughter of Aaron Burr, a famous but none-too-popular politician of his day whose daughter Theodosia was presumed dead, having been lost at sea years earlier, but there were whispers that Theodosia had run away with a lover and her earlier disappearance was a cover-up. Others speculated that she was the daughter of an English lord eloping with her lover, a commoner. Some people even believe that she was Napoleon Bonaparte in disguise.
Whatever her identity, the woman languished in pain for three weeks, succumbing to her illness on October 14, 1816. Just before she died, her husband asked Mr. Gadsby and those attending her to come to her bedside. Her fate was inevitable, so the couple asked those gathered to swear an oath. In that oath, they swore they would never reveal the identity of either the man or the woman.
The woman was buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery, just south of Duke Street. Her husband paid for the elaborate tabletop tombstone and the inscription of the long, melancholy love letter inscribed upon the stone. The epitaph begins, “To the Memory of a Female Stranger…”
This is where the story gets even more peculiar. Immediately after the woman’s death, the man traveling with her left town without paying for any of the expenses they had incurred, including the room at Gadsby’s, the medical care his wife received, and the burial and funeral.
Some people even say that the female stranger also “lives on” at Gadsby’s as a ghost, haunting its halls and rooms. Just a few years ago a young student came home from college and took a summer job as a server at Gadsby’s.  On her first night working at the restaurant, she went to the kitchen to pick up her customers’ meals. She positioned the plates on her arms, turned around, and the Female Stranger was staring her in the face. She spoke to the girl and vanished. Terrified, the server screamed, dropped the plates and fled the restaurant.
Other people say they’ve seen the Female Stranger at Gadsby’s in room number 8 and at parties in the ballroom. But does she really haunt the building? You’ll have to take the Ghost and Graveyard Tour to decide for yourself.
Alexandrians were furious. But the man had been quite clever: the only people who knew his identity, or that of the Female Stranger, had sworn an oath that they would keep their identities secret. Thus his debts would go unpaid, and the mystery lives on today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"1940's Subtlety"

1940 Subtlety

Faint crimson stain, slightly parted,
carefully pressed
upon vintage cotton hanky, 
I find folded and tucked
beneath delicate, date-stamped envelope
whose faded feminine scroll 
matches flowing words

thanking Grandpa 
for refreshing Autumn walk,
chilled hands finding warmth, 
swans, golden path underfoot, 
laughter; all reflected 
in "our" gentle lake.

And I can't help wonder, 
the place of their first kiss;
her seal (the one held in my hand)
upon his dear, freshly shaved cheek?

by Margaret Bednar, November 9, 2015

This will be linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Tuesday Platform".  

Sunday, November 8, 2015



When I was a child, I loved a willow tree.  She embraced me with cascading,
filtered-green light, offered me a haven where butterflies were fairies & sprites, hid me
when I tried to make willow bark tea (Stirred leaves and bark in hot water. Sipped.  And spit.)

Willow fed my soul, allowed me to peek out at the world.  Observe.  Safely retreat.
Late fall, I'd watch her golden sheen hang on far longer than most; I liked to think
because she would miss me.  I know I missed her.

I turn fifty this November.  Contemplate time upon a park bench as Autumn's bounty slowly fades, falls.  Admire near perfection; for there is no willow tree in sight. Perhaps I will find her
before season's end, say hello once again to wood-nymphs and anglewings.

by Margaret Bednar, November 8, 2015

A willow tree, in my minds eye, is the grandest of trees.  I'd have to say the Southern Live Oak is my second favorite tree with it's wide spread and heavy branches .

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - The Eye of the Beholder - Micro Poetry"  I chose free verse, and the poem must be written in 10 lines.   I did it in 9 LONG lines.  Not exactly micro I'm afraid.  

Friday, November 6, 2015

"The Escape"

"Imagine a Photo of the most handsome 17 year old boy in the world"

The Escape

School girl eyes

once pledged life long adoration,
whitewashed him perfect;

forgave sideways glances
toward popular girls -

after all his eyes caressed my shoulder first
as I sat between him and them.

He learned my name come May;
I lived joy all summer  -

the way it rolled off his tongue, the way
he leaned towards me.  Smiled.  The way
I imagined a sexy wink...

Thank God high school ends.
Sometimes, somehow a girl wises up.

The rest isn't poetic;

epic heartache, pillow drenching tears,
the almost purging of him from my brain.

Celebrate to this day
I was never mouse to his cat.

by Margaret Bednar, November 6, 2015

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Out of Standard - Remember, Remember"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

"What to Wear"

What to Wear?

Year 'round I wear
crucified Jesus about my neck

but come All Hallow's Eve

I might be Lazarus wound in white gauze,
Padre Pio, black eyed, palms stigamta'd,
St Sebastian, body plundered with arrows,
St Agatha, bloody breasts on a plate.

Wisely avoid "sexy" Mother Teresa,
... Some things are just too horrifying. 

By Margaret Bednar, November 1, 2105

Miranda Sings & Dracula

Miss Piggy

(All pumpkins my children's original designs)

Fall Leaf & NYC skyline

Puking Pumpkin

"Miranda Sings" Pumpkin!

Hallow means Saint. Who says Catholics can't do guts and gore with the best of them. When my kids were young, I did dress them as saints a few times (not the blood and gore I noted above, but perhaps I should have!)

Googling costume ideas for this year, I saw a Mother Teresa with a short, tight dress with lots of cleavage.  I would be so afraid lightening would strike me!  Ha. 

We had fun this year. My youngest was Dracula, and my oldest a skeleton in NYC.  

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Flash 55."   My internet connection is mainly not working at my house and I will be hit and miss until we can have the cable company come and work its magic. Trying to do everything from my cell phone is not ideal. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"The Old Apple Orchard"

The Old Apple Orchard

Twined and twisted,
China Orchard hunches
amidst mountain, lake, forest and creek.

Recalls a sapling's delicate sway

and prosperous seasons
of horse drawn carts spraying,
careful hands pruning, fondling, plucking -

relieving heavy limb of bounty ripe and red.


Today, basking in Autumn's tempting color
and slanted heat,
beware rattlesnake and copperhead -

Today beware, cyanide and sulphur
that steeps in soil
beneath weary limbs gnarled and boughed.

by Margaret Bednar, October 18, 2015

Moses Cone Memorial Park is located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.  Moses Cone grew wealthy with the denim industry and built a mansion in the Appalachian Mountains just outside of Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.   He built his 13,000 square foot mansion (1901), Flat Top Manor, high on a hill overlooking Bass Lake, 25 miles of carriage trails, and 3,500 acres.  Within these 3,500 acres he had a prosperous apple orchard, "China Orchard".

I walked the gently sloping trail to Bass Lake and passed the old apple orchard.  A sign and fence warn of pesticide contamination and forbid children and people beyond a certain point.  A few trees still stand, most are gone.  It fascinated me... The thought of Moses Cone being one of the fist conservationists, yet the soil now contains "traces" of pesticides and his good intentions...

HERE is a link to a blog that has a few photos and a quick history of the place.  HERE is the Blue Ridge Heritage website.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday Mini Challenge - Falling Into Lines"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015



October's stillness blankets me,
offers benediction:

undulating gentleness
glides behind the drake,

milkweed parachutes adventure
upon her breeze

father and son hold hands, latter silenced
by valley and mountains ablaze.

The leaves have yet to frolic, the boy
to voice his questions.  Now's the time for worship.

by Margaret Bednar, October 14, 2015

Blue Ridge Parkway - near Blowing Rock, NC

linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Up Close & Personal - Micro Poetry" and also their "Tuesday Platform".

I originally used the word "blessings" but I really think I overuse that word in my poetry.  I think benediction is a nice alternative.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

"Autumnal Serenade"

Autumnal Serenade

Summer's thrift
baskets beneath Autumn's sky,
tumbles, stacks ornamental
upon doorsteps.

Scarves, cabled and cowled,
wrap about shoulders and necks,
calloused palms clasp wooden rakes
as leaves no longer cleave

to branch and stem,
and winter's rift has yet to rear
and strike.  Slanted sun stills upon cheeks

while window sill, flung aside,
serenades with promise
of wandering woodland walks
and wind-blown hair.

by Margaret Bednar, October 8, 2015

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads -  Get Listed for October".  I used the combinations thrift/rift  and  wander/wonder.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015




Cardinal dons his shawl,
leaf begins to fade

"Tread lightly!" I implore Jack Frost,
for I long to see

dogwoods burning brightly,
oaks blushing deeply, birch crowning gold

joining smoldering sumac swaying,
caressing mountain's side,

proclaiming Autumn's glory.

by Margaret Bednar, September 29, 2015

The cardinal grows new feathers August through September and the edges are tipped with brown which dulls their appearance until spring when the tips have worn off and becomes a bright red.  This is something new I learned today as I noticed the cardinals were a bit drab looking today.

If a heavy frost hits early in the season, the sun and cool nights will NOT have a chance to change the leaves to their rightful bright fall colors.  The sumac turns red first, so I guess it is not threatened.

I hope I make it up to the mountains before the colors peak - and I hope Mr. Frost politely stays away.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - The Tuesday Platform".

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"The Inkwell"

The Inkwell

I'm nostalgic for french script, cursive,

for the slanted glide of feathered quill
clean and crisp upon parchment

for considered thoughts.

Yet there it sits, curvaceous;
merely ornamental upon my desk

a testament of bygone days
when words were cherished

now more often than not

replaced with quickly clicking keys
and perfectly spaced words.

by Margaret Bednar, September 27, 2015

This is for Magpie Tales 287.  It's been a while since I have played, but this challenge was instrumental to my creativity when I first started writing poetry!  It's nice to participate again.  Please do your self a favor and visit the other poets.

Grammar police:  sets or sits?  :)  

Someone commented my blog's "verification" is giving them trouble.  I checked my status and I have it turned off - there should be NO verification code to type in.  Please let me know if this is showing up if you post a comment.  Thanks.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

"The Path"

The Path

I long for moments of awe -
where time seeps into crack and crevice,

where allegro's finger
slows its vibrato,

where powdery blooms of Solomon's seal
weigh heavily upon August's vine,

where God's signet ring
dangles beside the forest path I tread.

by Margaret Bednar, September 26, 2015

This plant which looks similar to a blue berry is actually poisonous however has been used for medicinal purposes dating back a very long time.  It is referred to as Solomon's Seal and was given this name due to its appearance at the cross section of its stem where it attaches to the underground root structure.  The legend of King Solomon's Seal is shared by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  The Doctrine of Signatures is a theory that plants were "signed" by God to indicate their intended use by man.    I at first thought it was a choke berry - but the leaves were markedly different.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Let's Go Back to School" where I was inspired by the poem "Rome" written by Waseen Asmal:

an excerpt from the poem "Rome":  (for the full version, click on the name above).

Time has seeped into
the cracks and crevices of
the once mighty Rome
breaking it's walls
and leaving it crumbling in the dust.

and also linked with the Garden's prompt "Play it Again, Toads".   I chose the archived challenge "A Word with Laurie - allegro"  where I not only had to use the word "allegro" but had to keep the poem to 8 lines AND write it within a minute's time.  I took a minute and a half (sorry) but it took me quite a while to research this little poem.  It took me forever to find out what this plant was - the choke berry leaves are a bit serrated - so I looked for about 45 minutes until I finally found the correct leaf shape.

Someone commented my blog's "verification" is giving them trouble.  I checked my status and I have it turned off - there should be NO verification code to type in.  Please let me know if this is showing up if you post a comment.  Thanks.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

"From One Butterfly to Another"

From one Butterfly to Another

No shame
I don't remember your name,
for my mind recalls
gingham dress, wind-blown hair,
fragile, slender arms.

how beneath blue skies
you fluttered away before being crushed

and I take note the dusty road
boardered with wildflowers and weeds
may not lead to paradise,
but certainly escape

for which I too may claim.

by Margaret Bednar, July 31, 2015

This poem is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Music with Marion"  Watch the video and become inspired... I just voted down my reaction to this song by "The Lemonheads" and this is what transpired.  The few clips of Johnny Depp in this video - does anyone know what movie this is?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"This Poem"

This Poem

This poem is priceless.
This poem is a solicitation.
This poem is a blessing.

This poem is a slowly rising sun
peeking from behind grey-blue clouds,
a splash of ocean spray upon clammy, heated skin,
a pelican skimming rolling waves searching for sustenance.
This poem is priceless.

This poem is a hand upon the small of your back,
empathetic and concerned,
a motivated salesman with sexy brown eyes,
a compass pointing the opposite direction.
This poem is a solicitation.

This poem is a lavender scented invitation,
a lovers' hand playfully tugging,
a silent prayer, joyful tears, a hammock
sagging with the weight of two.
This poem is a blessing.

This poem celebrates simplicity.
This poem is an offer you should not refuse.
This poem is a ticket to happiness.

By Margaret Bednar, July 25, 2015

This poem is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Play it Again Toads #19" I selected the archived challenge hosted by Hannah "Boomerang Metaphors" (a poetic form created by Hannah)

The above image is one I took of my daughter early morning this past week at Hilton Head - the only one who made it up to join me for a most gorgeous sunrise.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"In Search of Grace"

In Search of Grace

Time has changed me, many ways for good
though a few vices have certainly taken root.

Lately find myself missing the old (the young?)
me I've seemingly left behind.

Awkward as she was, I miss her sweetness,
her naiveté, her ready laughter.

Each morning search for a softness
I'm hard pressed to find.

Glimpse her in my youngest's hugs,
an old song, a look in my husband's eyes;

Reach my hand out, invite her back.
Find she is very shy.

by Margaret Bednar, July 19, 2015

This is for "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Sunday Mini Challenge - Goodness Gracious"  The above photo I took in Prospect Park, Brooklyn NY - and used the Waterlogue App.  

Friday, July 17, 2015



I open my palm, release into blue skies
melodious notes that drift back to me,
harmonize as I become smaller;

have faith you'll wing back
just as flaming sumac entices the Bluebird.

My heart line is deep and strong;
even a bit selfish.  Either way,
I gave my heart long ago

and each parting, each journey,
makes it both fragile and strong.

by Margaret Bednar, July 17, 2015

My children have taken wing this summer, some temporarily, two have flown my nest for good.   Below is a Facebook link to my son's two person band "The Messy Beds".

This is linked with "The Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Let's Find Our Poetic Voice". 

Friday, July 10, 2015



A red balloon tickles childhood fantasies,
floats within Long Meadow's embrace
of grand oaks and stately elms,
whispers "anything is possible".

White-throated sparrows serenade with age-old song,
thrushes industriously scratch leaf litter,
ravens wing their way over Payne Hill.

Exuberant fingers point, youthful laughter explodes,
and Olmsted's vision is realized.

by Margaret Bednar, July 10, 2015

I remember crying when I was about 7 years old over a balloon I had "befriended" for days and then seeing this short film in middle school years later.  The impression of this film has never left me.

I have been gone for over a week visiting my son in Brooklyn.  I thoroughly enjoy Prospect Park and am quite smitten with its creator, Frederick Law Olmsted.  Purchased a six volume set of his letters and it is quite a walk through the history of his time.  He was a man of many passions, the most known his "foresight of how large American cities would become and his designs for parks and suburbs to enhance the lives of their future inhabitants" (Central Park perhaps being his most famous - but arguably not his greatest achievement)  Niagara Falls, Capital Building, Boston's "Emerald Necklace" and so much more.  He was a journalist for the budding "New York (daily) Times and traveled to the South and became a leading writer against the institution of slavery in America.

PBS has an excellent series on him - Designing America - if you are so inclined to search it out.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - The Edge - what will we never outgrow?"  I hope I never outgrow a childlike wonder for nature and a belief that anything is possible.

An interesting article HERE, with an excerpt I snatched below. It explains the title "Greensward" a bit.

The "Pastoral" Style

Olmsted used the style of the Beautiful—or as he usually called it, the pastoral—to create a sense of the peacefulness of nature and to sooth and restore the spirit. The Pastoral style was the basic mode of his park designs, which he intended to serve as the setting for "unconscious or indirect recreation." The chief purpose of a park, he taught, was "an effect on the human organism by an action of what it presents to view, which action, like that of music, is of a kind that goes back of thought, and cannot be fully given the form of words."11 In such designs there were broad spaces of greensward, broken occasionally by groves of trees. The boundary was indistinct, due to the "obscurity of detail further away" produced by the uneven line and intricate foliage of the trees on the edge of the open space. In other parts the reflection of foliage by bodies of water introduced another element of intricacy and indistinctness. The effect was reminiscent of parks on estates that Olmsted had seen in England, and it was the image of the rich turf of that country, which he described as "green, dripping, glistening, gorgeous," when he first saw it, that remained for him the model of the Pastoral style.

Thursday, June 25, 2015



This as youth we learned:

Link hearts and hands,
rely upon instinct and not a little charm,

loose hair to flow upon open air,
spin freely as summer abundance blooms

embrace mother's words to never forget
how happily together we do skip.

by Margaret Bednar, June 25, 2015

Yes a bit cheesy, but I tried to rise to the occasion for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Words Count with Mama Zen"  A word list (of which I used six I think) and write a poem of 60 words or less.

We recently traveled to the mountains for the day.  My girls (and a friend) love photo opportunities.  They love to put on summer dresses and pile on LOTS of charm and dance, swing, twirl.  A few ladies in their 60's were inspired and held hands and skipped like my girls were - they ended up giggling and saying how young it made them feel.  Their men WERE smiling as they walked behind them... :)

To get out in the summertime and enjoy the days, to breath in the air, notice the new flowers blooming, the sheep and cows dotting the hills... yes.  I hope they always find time to do this together.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"No Such Thing as Small Mercies"

No Such Thing as Small Mercies

I can destroy it
with a flick of a booted toe
or a swipe of my shovel
yet today
decide to let the sun flicker light
upon intricate patterns
that must have spun all night.

I remember the spider
two summers ago
outside dining room window
(a truly huge southern variety)
that mesmerized us
scurrying across woven web,
wrapping assorted victims;
(looked at our own dinner plates -
similarities unseen).

Lucky I couldn't reach her,
blessed was she my son became "attached",
that my mother's heart responded in kind.
Must have known a sanctuary
when presented as she stayed all July -
until one day she was gone,
morning dew preserving her lacy artwork 
a while longer.

How often 
do we unknowingly teeter
beside a precipice, unaware of mercies granted?
How beautiful is the foundation I weave,
how strong its construction?
How benevolent the Being
that watches over me?

Margaret Bednar, June 20, 2015

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday Mini-Challenge - Ode to the Quotidian" aka "mundane, daily.  Start with something lowly and scale whatever heights or fancies you wish".

I see spider webs every day at the barn and I don't always see them in a wondrous light.

Pictures of Emanuel

Pictures of Emanuel

Embraced within the womb of
Mother Emanuel, evil sat
And listened to voices praising -
Nine faces looked into hatred,
Undertook a martyrs call to
Evict hate from the game, allowed
Love to rule the day.

Perhaps we'll learn from voices
Rallying together, honoring
A path flashed upon TV screens -
Yearn, reach, achieve true healing.

For are we all not a patchwork quilt
Of ornately different patterns, textures,
Rich colors?  God's tapestry of

Undeniable beauty?  Will we ever find the
Sense to grasp tightly and hold all dear?

by Margaret Bednar, June 20, 2015

My feeble attempt to express myself regarding the 9 lives murdered in Charleston SC due to racist hatred - and the moving, and truly heroic voices raised by the victims' families during the bond hearing.  I will do my best to never forget their example of what true Christian mercy looks like.

NY Times "Charleston Shooting".

The following is an excerpt from this NY Times article:

At Morris Brown A.M.E. Church, just a few blocks from Emanuel, the mood of a packed house alternated between grief, hope and resilience. Calls of “enough is enough” echoed as the Rev. John Richard Bryant called for an end to gun violence.
“You look like a quilt, you look like patches,” Mr. Bryant said. “You all fit somewhere.”
Hundreds of people packed the pews of the white-columned Second Presbyterian Church on Thursday evening in a vigil to remember the victims of the shooting. Pastors read Scripture, the congregation sang and the Rev. Sidney Davis delivered a rousing sermon, his voice cracking at times. After reading a passage from the Bible, he said, “Last night, Satan came again. Satan came to say white and black cannot raise God.”

Later, he told the racially mixed congregation that the bullets were not simply penetrating the people who died in the church. “It was all of us dying last night,” he said.

Linked with "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Fireblossom Friday: Picture This"   I hope this is close enough to the prompt challenge - I have really been moved by the voices and images of the people declaring "Hate won't win".   And if we take their lead, it won't.

Friday, June 12, 2015

"The Descent"

The Descent

Indian tobacco and snakeroot have yet to blossom.
Folklore, myths, and trails beg to be explored -

yet I find my eyes clinging to haloed light
filtered between slits of ridge top pines;
yearn for sun's blessing upon my skin -

descend into darkness,
enveloped by a trembling reverence.

Find a bit of salvation
in pocketed fingertips lightly caressing
Seymour's "Wildflowers of Mammoth Cave" -

quietly murmur "Amen".

by Margaret Bednar, June 12, 2015

This is linked with the challenge "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Herotomost's Friday Challenge - the Cavern of My Thoughts".

About 20 years ago I descended into the depths of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.  As much as I was mesmerized by what I saw, I also have never repeated it - I had mixed emotions - perhaps the fear of going down with my young children had something to do with it.  I will admit, given a choice, I will happily explore the flora and fauna of a forest as opposed to what's below its surface.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Apology

The Apology

Implied devotion
spirals from my palms
vase of flowers plucked to thorns
hastily written words
left unread.

by Margaret Bednar, June 5, 2015

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Bits of Inspiration - Floral Explosion".  I used this quote for inspiration ""by plucking petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower" Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hold Tight

Hold Tight

I lightly caress
soft curve of cheek and chin,
a nose boyish,
a brow silky smooth
like the surface of a gentle pond.

My finger paints his morning face, 
tickles tips of lashes long,
gently circles soft brown eyes 
reflective of hopes and dreams 
of we who love him.

Soak in toothless smile
and arms fervently hugging,
close my eyes;
hold tight this moment
of seven year old boy.

by Margaret Bednar, June 2, 2015

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - The Tuesday Platform"

Monday, June 1, 2015



Broad-winged hawks cartwheel and dive 'til caught
by chosen mate.  They spiral down, a hymn,
it seems, whistles upon mountain air; God
and prayer shimmer and shine.  No clouds dim
their joy.  I stand beneath mighty wing's shade
for a brief flutter and feel blessed.  There goes
spirits free of guilt, of burden.  Glazed
with honesty and true righteousness; flaws
not apparent at this distance.  'Tis lies
I've lived - that one will sink like heavy stones
in disrepair if unwilling to dye
one's soul to conform to tenor and tone
of what others think.  Hence forth, I'll stretch 'n yawn;
greet each day with courage, no longer a pawn.

by Margaret Bednar, June 1, 2015

Of course, humans are more than just instinct, or so I believe.  And as a Catholic have had my share of guilt... but as a Christian, I believe once forgiven we need to let "it" go. Soar in blessed grace and to follow what we know of truth...  which is a life long journey - one full of many voices - and a true challenge to listen to very few of them :)

I've taken quiet a poetic break - just busy with family and life - but I have missed my blogging friends and those who partake of the many awesome challenges of the "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads".

And I'm swooping back in with quite a difficult challenge - a "Bout-Rimes" (which is French and means rhymed ends).   The ending words are pre-selected.  We have been given leeway to use homophones or slant rhymes to the original list and I did accept that offer.  The original order and words are:

caught, him, got, dim, shade, goes, glade, flows, lies, stone, dies, tone, lawn, gone.

I tried to "resemble" a sonnet in style - but played loosely with word count and iambs a bit... Hey, I'm a bit rusty.

Flip on over and see the wonderful efforts of fellow poets:  "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday Challenge Bout-Rimes"

Friday, May 8, 2015

Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Prospect Park, Brooklyn


toss distractions aside
look up,
withdraw into silence.

Imitate spring's blood red blooms
whose heavy bells
turn insistent faces toward the sun -
drink in sea colored skies.

Hug the ground
like the Camperdown Elm
whose twisting, turning limbs
house birdsong and time.

Journey Olmsted's carriage paths,
on horseback, on foot
through Long Meadow, Ravine,
and Sullivan's Hill.

With dirt in your sandals,
perhaps grass between your toes,
walk within Meadowport, Endale,
and Nethermead.

Close your eyes, Lakeside,
hear the ducks splash,
feel your heart pound, your blood circulate,

and exhale.

by Margaret Bednar, May 8, 2015

Eastwood Bridge - oldest Prospect Park arch - Syrio-Egyptian influence

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Get Listed - Pablo Neruda"

SO much to learn about this beautiful city.  My son's new home will be in Brooklyn and I have been busy with his graduation and apartment hunting.  I really enjoyed seeing this city for the first time and below I share a few links that will help you get to know the city as well.

The Bridges of Prospect Park (a post from Forgotten-NY)

Brooklyn Based 

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Your Story"

My daughter in Wig & Makeup
 Your Story

Too often we paint our faces,
shape our words,
cast a spell of favor & need,
portray virtue
while veiling all vice,

leave the gem inside

My wish for you is simple:
inner Faerie; embrace.
Imagine, create,
live your story
unafraid & bold

& from your pen,
may truth unadornedly flow.

by Margaret Bednar, April 25, 2015

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Go Grimm".   The photo is of my daughter helping out a friend with her graduation thesis project (for Wig & Makeup) to make a series come to life - My daughter is Violet the inventor from Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events"  - which is not a Grimm Fairy tale, but I think it loosely fits in and I do love the image.

I enjoyed this link about Fairy Tales and below is an excerpt I found fascinating:

The Salon Era[edit]
In the mid-17th century, a vogue for magical tales emerged among the intellectuals who frequented the salons of Paris. These salons were regular gatherings hosted by prominent aristocratic women, where women and men could gather together to discuss the issues of the day.
In the 1630s, aristocratic women began to gather in their own living rooms, salons, in order to discuss the topics of their choice: arts and letters, politics, and social matters of immediate concern to the women of their class: marriage, love, financial and physical independence, and access to education. This was a time when women were barred from receiving a formal education. Some of the most gifted women writers of the period came out of these early salons (such as Madeleine de Scudéry and Madame de Lafayette), which encouraged women's independence and pushed against the gender barriers that defined their lives. The salonnières argued particularly for love and intellectual compatibility between the sexes, opposing the system of arranged marriages.
Sometime in the middle of the 17th century, a passion for the conversational parlour game based on the plots of old folk tales swept through the salons. Each salonnière was called upon to retell an old tale or rework an old theme, spinning clever new stories that not only showcased verbal agility and imagination, but also slyly commented on the conditions of aristocratic life. Great emphasis was placed on a mode of delivery that seemed natural and spontaneous. The decorative language of the fairy tales served an important function: disguising the rebellious subtext of the stories and sliding them past the court censors. Critiques of court life (and even of the king) were embedded in extravagant tales and in dark, sharply dystopian ones. Not surprisingly, the tales by women often featured young (but clever) aristocratic girls whose lives were controlled by the arbitrary whims of fathers, kings, and elderly wicked fairies, as well as tales in which groups of wise fairies (i.e., intelligent, independent women) stepped in and put all to rights.

The salon tales as they were originally written and published have been preserved in a monumental work called Le Cabinet des Fées, an enormous collection of stories from the 17th and 18th centuries.[38]

Friday, April 17, 2015

April's Unfolding

Photo courtesy of my barn's manager, Jamie

April's Unfolding

Enchantment unfolds -
daffodils dot the pathway
and bees bumble by.

Dew's upon my face -
Robins plunder pasture's breast
Gentle beasts slumber.

Shamrock-green fields sprout -
Big Dipper awaits moonless sky
behind eggshell blue.

by Margaret Bednar, April 17, 2015

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Nature's Wonders - Haiku"  Haiku usually aren't titled (but who am I to follow the rules) and I tried for a trio that describe April.  I might come back to this using a different form, but I find the brevity and tight word count an interesting challenge.  I did add "Big" to the last stanza and the count is off - but I hope it makes people think of the constellation a bit more...

I'm back from a couple of vacations and getting back into the swing of things took longer than I expected!  It's been about three weeks since my last poem and boy do I feel rusty.  Haiku is not the easiest thing for me to write ... but I gave it my best effort.

My Photoshop CS5 is giving me a few hick-ups.  I updated to the newest Mac operating version and I seem to have "killed" my CS5.  So frustrating.  So... my smudge beneath my sweet boy is my iPhoto attempt to take out what is always in a horse pasture... poop.

I believe the Big Dipper is brightest in the sky in April - and we have been getting quite a bit of rain here in NC - it makes for dewy mornings and overcast days - but the days the sun does come it is well received.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Easter & Spring

I am taking another blogger break...  Spring is here and I am going to enjoy it for a few days.  I wish you a blessed Easter.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Morning Fog"

Morning Fog

I raise my arm as if applying
a few chunky brushstrokes of Payne's Gray
to a bashful sunrise and watery clouds

slash vertical strokes for the masts,
horizontal brush for skyline and waves,
find myself framed within a muted Cezanne.

How would he paint me?
Dreamily distant, stoically serious,
or a temptress beside river's edge?

Perhaps he'd use artistic license,
add Mont Sainte Victoire; allow me 
the same freedom before morning's fog lifts.

by Margaret Bednar, March 24, 2015

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Tuesday Platform."  I wrote this in ten minutes, trying to just respond to the image I took early one morning while in St. Augustine, FL.   Not sure if this is a completed poem or one that is "in the works".

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Chai Tea"

Chai Tea

Nudity and passion seem improper
however delicately painted upon a teacup.

I hide a smile as Grandmother places linen upon slender lap,
gently nibbles upon a scone, her Wedgwood rose demure upon its saucer;

unaware I follow curve and line of a lily white back,
observe lips pressed beneath a lovers's ribs,
imagine ocean's tide lapping passion's embrace,

burn my tongue on spiced Chai.  Insist on seconds.
Grandmother praises me for being a lady.  I assure her I'm a quick study.

by Margaret Bednar, March 23, 2015 

This is for "Imaginary Garden of Real Toads - Play it Again, Toads!"  I selected the archived challenge:  "Poem sketching"  I may have bent the rules a bit for this one, but I wrote a long list of words evoked by the above image.  I tried to pick four that were quite different and this is what I got.  The four words were:   teacup, passion, grandmother, painted

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Personal Statement"

Personal Statement

It looks good on him,
yet off color.  Perhaps too bright,
too vibrant, too loud?

There has been
a lot of change in the last year
and you may want to live
in your happy land of denial,
but I wouldn't invest,  however, I

assure you fatality is a condition
that with  proper care and rest
may show improvement.

Either way,

your next payment is due.
No time for tears in your cereal bowl.

by Margaret Bednar, March 19, 2015

These are excerpts from from my email's JUNK file for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Spam poetry"

How lucky am I that a poem of Hedegwitch's happened to be there?? !  It is the third stanza and I will provide a link HERE to her Verse Escape Blog (which I follow via e-mail), and the direct poem "Love Letter" for you to see it in it's real context.  (Joy, I will delete if you want me to - I hope you don't mind).

I also got lucky with another poem by Tom of Quarry House as I subscribe to his feed as well.  It is HERE.  His lines are a bit more scattered throughout my "Spam" poem.

Some examples of SPAM poetry HERE.

This may be the first poem I wasn't able to come up with a photo prompt!  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015



Utopia existed in Oglethorpe's mind -
no slavery, no liquor, no Catholics;
a southern Eden of mulberry trees,
potash, and grapes atop Yamacraw Bluff.

Never blossomed, this vision of his.
Shanghaied; another innocent victim
drunk and spirited away upon pirate ship
via tavern's secret tunnels.

Pull up a chair and celebrate what might have been.
Toast a botanical experiment lost in the swagger 
of Britain's newly minted port hosting salty sailors,
soldiers, and feminine charms.  

Yet, the Herb House remains, 
innocently nestled beside past debauchery 
and piratical scandals; a reminder of gentler visions 
where profit wasn't king. 

by Margaret Bednar, March 17, 2015

Savannah, GA, the thirteenth American colony.  General Oglethorpe and 120 passengers landed on a bluff high along the Savannah River and were greeted by the Yamacraw Indian chief, Tomochichi.  The General's plans really were of a utopian quality - the only reason he banned Catholics was he was afraid of "Spanish sympathies" with nearby St. Augustine, FL.    (Early Savannah history)  (Oglethorpe the utopian)

I was away for seven days celebrating 25 years of marriage - we stayed in St. Augustine, FL and Savannah, GA.  I have eaten in both rooms of the Herb House and it also has an upstairs which is not open to the public.  It has a tiny footprint, but quite a history.  The Tavern Inn next door, now called the "Pirate House," has a cellar with secret tunnels that lead to the Savannah River.   Both places are reportedly haunted.

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