Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Jazz's Songbird

 Collage by Margaret Bednar (click on image to enlarge)

Josephine Baker

Saint or sinner, confetti or cinders,
let the stars assay a force
so full of cadence and pitch.

Harlem's little runaway,
a cicada, she rose.  Became -
Paris's precious black pearl.

Of diamond collared cheetah,
gold piano, Antoinette's bed,
sprung society's smokey voiced nightbird
of seduction and farce.

Vienna's bells decried belly dancer 
of bumps and grinds, beaded breasts
banana hips; "Beware, La Josephine!".

Open armed lover, masquerading spy,
flawed Madonna; mother of a rainbow tribe.
Salt and pepper her vibe.

A phoenix, feathers fanned above smoke 
of segregation and hate,
America's watchlist.  Became -

France's superstar of smuggled messages,
embedded musical scores, and Charleston moves;
Bronze Venus of the Night.

by Margaret Bednar, February 1, 2023

"Shays Word Garden Word List - George Hitchcock" used 4 words: cicada, cinders, confetti, masquerading.   I rewrote this poem from last week.  The original is below.  Also, if you are interested in this amazing lady, see the links below.

This is linked with "Shay's Word Garden Word List - Janis Ian" use at least 3 of 20 words. 

I used 4:  nightbird, smoke, society, superstar.  it's a quick effort - i resorted to kind of a 'list" poem, but i wanted to play this week in Shay's Word Garden as i am so appreciative of her putting out this challenge.   I plan on rewriting this but i have the concept down.

HERE is a clip of the fabulous Josephine Baker!

HERE is an interview with one of her adoptive children.

original effort - rough draft:

Saint or sinner, 
impossible to say,
a life so full of cadence and pitch,
"inferior' taught, civil rights fought.

Harlem's little runaway, 
Paris's black pearl,
smokey voiced nightbird,
open arms of lover and spy.

Charleston's belly dancer
of bumps and grinds,
diamond collared cheetah and gold piano,
Marie Antoinette's bed.

Messages smuggled within musical scores,
invisible ink embedded,
America's watchlist
as segregation and hate she fled.

Society's prima donna
of banana hips and beaded breasts,
church bells warned, 'La Josephine"!
Mother of a rainbow tribe.

Unforgettable ebony beauty,
"salt and pepper",
highest military honors, a superstar
Bronze Venus of the night.


Fireblossom said...

I have heard the name but am not familiar with her beyond that except for watching the short video you included. So, I have some investigating to do! Clearly though, she's an excellent subject for this word list! I'll cime back when I can appreciate this better by knowing more about her.

A couple of notes: I am going to start posting the List on Friday afternoons instead of Wednesdays, starting tomorrow. No one ever seems to come by before the weekend and it's a drag seeing the List sit there by its lonesome for 3 days. Also, for whatever reason, your comments keep going to spam and I keep rescuing them. I do check pretty often. Thanks for being interested in the List!

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

A fabulous and remarkable woman in so many ways! It's lovely to see her still remembered and celebrated.

Fireblossom said...

I think you've improved the opening, and the overall poem, tremendously in this second version, Margaret. It really beings it all to life.