Sunday, September 29, 2019

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

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.

Saturday, September 28, 2019



Can you imagine Sunday dinner
at Grandmother's table
talking on the landline,

and yet today
we've apparently forgotten
how to set a formal table,

dinner fork replaced by the cell.

by Margaret Bednar, September 28, 2019

Linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Weekend Mini Challenge: Maladroit"

maladroit:  unskillful, awkward, bungling, tactless

Thursday, September 26, 2019

White Rock Depot
White Rock Depot

Evening train no longer whistles,
commuters no longer wait
for last connection home.

Hovering gulls no longer swoop
for a young man's crumbs,
melodies but a memory

upon Semiahmoo Bay,
breeze unhindered as it blows past
seaside tracks, past museum

past theatre where Lowrey needs tuning
and Sunday evenings settle silently,
platform and pier silhouetted,

weathered, as an old man's ashes
join the herrings soaring, his dreams, his destiny
joining surf and sky.

by Margaret Bednar, September 26, 2019

Lowrey Organ HERE

This station/depot still exists today as a museum.  HERE  White Rock, BC is 35 minutes north of New Westminster where the (above) challenge photograph was taken.

White Rock, BC depot @1912
This is linked with "The Sunday Muse #74"

Wednesday, September 25, 2019



His voice, like honey
and me the bee drawn to spring nectar,
summer sunflowers, garden yarrow, goldenrod,

and hazy afternoons
when sunlight gleams as refined amber,
dips, seemingly swoons at his voice as I do.

Honeycomb myself, wait; watch a blue iris sky
slide into candied lavender, caress saffron sunset
as it blinks and nods into fine faded blue linen,

long horizon all the while cradling anticipation
as droning suspends, faithful worker bee heads home,
wooing his Queen with hints of honey.

Coming home.  I smile, tie yellow ribbon 'round my dress,
wait for his greeting; his harvest a tint of sweetness
upon my lips.

by Margaret Bednar, September 25, 2019

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Bits of Inspiration - The Colors in a Song" and "Poets United - Midweek Motif - Honey/Bee"

The colors the song below evokes in me are golds/yellows and a touch of blue.  Comforting colors, loving colors (for me).

Tuesday, September 24, 2019



Whisked until light,
eggs threatened bowl's rim
yet Grandma was in control,
poured mixture into buttered pan, flame low,
skillet held above heat ...
Said they'd finish cooking
on the plate as she jellied my toast,
smothered from edge to edge
with grape jam, compliments
from vines just outside kitchen door.
Her cherry jam had chunks,
of which I'd yet to appreciate.

Aproned, she'd fill a small glass
with apple juice, go about chores,
shoes tapping wooden steps
descending to the cellar
where clothes were soaking
in rinse tub, waiting to be squeezed
through old ringer washer, 
basketed and hauled outside 
to air dry on clothes line.

Occasionally I'd hurry and eat
in order to join the fun.

Other times she'd make the beds,
ironed sheets hand-smoothed, corners tucked,
blanket folded just so in order to
be pulled up under one's chin 
if needed in the night.

Sometimes she'd sweep her carless garage,
vacuum braided area rug
where I'd play with blocks, puzzles,
read for hours, screened, pull-down door
veiling us from pesky flies.
Before noon we'd escape inside 
where lined curtains had been closed
upon sunrise, crisp morning air captured
(at least until mid-day).

Upon reflection, I don't remember 
her being much of a cook,
don't remember pancakes, french toast,
omelets for breakfast.
Evenings we ate T.V. dinners,
watched Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights;
don't recall Grandma making many deserts
or a family dinner.

I've tried to recreate her eggs;
always fail.  I can hear her instructing me
as I stood by her elbow and watched.
Have bought different pans, vintage and new,
trying to recreate the magic;
I've come close, but I guess

some things are meant for nostalgia,
remembered with love. 

by Margaret Bednar, September 23, 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

I'd Like to Thank...

I'd Like to Thank...

I waited for about thirty minutes.  Annoyed.
Had things to do,  This routine,
this inconvenience, tiresome.

"Please, follow me"
took me by surprise.
thought, "This is it.  My turn."
Remember thinking
"one foot in front of the other."

The hallway stretched through eternity,
(fifteen seconds transformed!)
imagined a red carpet, suspenseful music,
imagined film crackling
as it wound around the reel,
wondered about next scene,
would I know my line?

What kind of actress should I be?  Tragic?
Dramatic? Composed?

"Everything looks the same.  No change"
the nurse said.  "Reschedule for six months."

The lump I'd suddenly scripted; deleted.
No Academy Award, no nomination...

but I'd still like to thank my lucky stars,
God, and the harvest moon ...

gold plated bronze and crusader's sword
gladly traded for this light
which shines upon my upturned face
and bare breasts this night.

by Margaret Bednar, September 13, 2019

This is linked with "dVerse Poets Pub - Waiting for a Poem"   This happened just recently - I have, a "something" that my mammogram showed as something to watch.   2nd check and all is fine.  But honestly, those few seconds down the hallway I HONESTLY thought "This is it..."

Awe - I just missed the deadline for this prompt but ... do yourself a favor and click and enjoy the other poets' take on this challenge.

Since I missed the above, I am linking this to "dVerse Open Link Night".

Also linked with "The Sunday Muse - Wednesday Muse - Harvest Moon".

I have a hot tub on our back deck - backyard the Blue Ridge Parkway.  No neighbors can see in and my daughter asked me why I always wear a bathing suit.  So, I let the moon shine upon me, in thanksgiving, in wonder, in celebration.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019



Archeology resurrected our past:
pottery, tiles, occasional broach,
and bone.

Afraid we will be hard-pressed
for artifacts; if there is a we.
Didn't know silence had a ringing sound,
low and monotonous.

It isn't light, isn't dark; a filtered grey,
perhaps.  White dishes faintly glow
against colorless room; blue skies,
red wine, bird song surely existed

as did leisurely horseback rides
upon mountain ridge,
zinnias plucked from garden beds,
puppy fur against my face.

How I long to play tea with my girls,
mold clay with my son, listen to my oldest
recite poetry.  Feel my husband's hand
in mine.

This fallout shelter was designed for safety.
For us.  Shelved are a few adventure books,
mystery, one romance.  A "complete" Shakespeare.
No Bible as we'd read it cover to cover;
last chapter our least favorite...

Stored food, comforting quilts folded,
supplies stacked for six months; longer now
as I'm the only one.  But not for long.

Whisper "The grace of the Lord Jesus
be with all.  Amen." as I unlock the deadbolt.
Step out.  Embrace Revelation.

by Margaret Bednar, September 17, 2019

This Apocalyptic poem is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Out of Standard - Gimme (Fallout) Shelter"

*  The last line of the last book of the Bible is the one quoted above.

Friday, September 13, 2019


Add caption
I invite you to listen to me read this poem - link at bottom of the poem.  (No need to sign up for Sound Cloud App to listen to me read it)


Perhaps "orchestra camp"
wasn't as groovy as "summer camp",
instrumentals bowed and plucked
beneath Northern Michigan pines
versus horseback riding, kayaking, and hiking;

and perhaps as a middle school elective
it meant a lot of dedication
and practice at home.

Michelangelo's scroll loomed large
over his slight, boyish frame,
fingers stretched for position,
establishing rhythm, cheek sucked in, lip bit;

and as a teenager he'd flip his head,
curls temporarily banished,
but soon slid back over left eye,
red bandana 'round his wrist
as that was cool; shoulder and arms
supported, fingers moved easily
up and down Michelangelo's neck.

He liked the phrase "Bass players
are sexy" but soon learned
bass guitarists are sexier...

Michelangelo played his part,
raised my boy, accompanied him to New York,
sardined into back seats of ubers
and cabs, folk tunes sung and strummed
in pubs by this dynamic duo...

Brought to tears when I found out
my son sold him, surprised days later
I'm still choked up.  Grieving I think;
wish he'd called me instead of trying
to make ends meet.

Some things money can't buy; some things
can't be replaced.

by Margaret Bednar, September 13, 2019

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Just One Word - Groovy"

No need to buy my daughter a nice violin... it wasn't her thing,
but William did quite well.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Seamstress @ Catschappach

I’m not immortal, 
but rebirth isn’t foreign to me;
don’t long for eternity, just renewal.  

Purity and sin, coexist, stitched together 
with threads almost bursting
from lessons learned, lessons ignored.  

I’ve shared in creation, yet claim no halo. 
My redemption gifted six times,
never mine, but oh so dear,

each diminishing my youth,
yet rescuing me from myself;
a shedding of skin,

heart offered up,
my very mortality
not as precious as theirs.  

by Margaret Bednar,  September 10, 2019

Wow - this is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Art Flash 55"  The image through me for a loop and I came back over many days rewriting and trying to feel this image and relate it to me ... it was not easy and I'm not sure I really succeeded.  Quite the challenge, Kerry! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

In our Blood

The Moors, North Yorkshire  Source
HERE is an absolutely stunning website of six amazing "North York Moor" walks... 

In our Blood

Wind and rain sweep the moors,
past Roman and iron age hearths,
over venerated hilltops
carrying song of tribal gatherings
and rituals, tucked away shadows
buried beneath misty mounds
and prehistory of oak and hazel.

When light is low
and squalls rage upon the cairns,
one hears them, neolithic, bronze,
realm of our ancestors,
and as storm settles,
we also turn toward the sun,
in procession, in celebration of life.

by Margaret Bednar, September 4, 2019

linked (late) with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Wordy Monday with Wild Woman - Castle Ruins, Lowering Skies ... Tell us a story".   I see NOW I was really supposed to write a story for this prompt... Sorry!  So below is my 10-minute attempt to follow the rules :)

In My Blood

A chipped piece of flint draws blood, still sharp after centuries beneath windswept moors, tromped upon by Roman boots, nestled beside stones of an ancient iron age hearth.  Light is low upon the cairns, the squall has simmered, and I can hear them, perhaps winging from hilltops: venerated voices, whisperings of rituals untucking from misty mounds, shadows escaping from prehistory of oak and hazel.  As the storm settles, so does my soul.  Squeeze my finger, release a drop of blood upon the earth, my tribal offering to the realm of my ancestors as I turn toward the sun and follow the procession of light toward the moor's horizon.

By Margaret Bednar, September 4, 2019

I adore "Time Team" a British archeology show that ran for 20 seasons and had 59 "special" episodes.  I'm on season 14.   Below is an episode you might find interesting based on a Moor in Cornwall.