Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"Hope Always Rising"

This photo has nothing to do with the poem -
This is an image of the Blue Ridge Pkway at 96% solar eclipse
...and the bee buzzing about this wild grape vine.
Please do not read this poem without reading the inspirational (current event) true story which inspired it.  "Devota, Valentine: "Everyday, We Are Blessed To Be Alive" by Jon Katz

Hope Always Rising

As a child I read fairytales, believed enduring wrongs
and injustices would always be rewarded if patient,
if good.  I lived on hope; hoped I'd be pretty one day,
hoped I'd have a fine wardrobe, find a handsome husband,
hoped ... oh so many frivolous things.

I never imagined walking over two thousand miles
in a war ravaged country, fleeing genocide,
a baby upon my back.

Never imagined plunging into a year's long hardship,
avoiding, not always successfully,
rape, hunger, bone weary exhaustion.

Never imagined passing by children
abandoned upon forest floor, starving, some already dead
as there was no one to save them.

Never imagined dodging bullets, fearing countless soldiers
and farmers (as food was scavenged from their fields),
not always escaping injury.

Never imagined "walking on bones".

As a child, and shamefully even an adult, my hopes
and prayers sometimes seemed fickle -
as if incorrectly answered I might read a book
instead of recite a nightly devotional.

But Devota never abandoned her Valentine,
her prayers never ceased, happiness not expected,
nor survival - although hope for freedom,
hope in perseverance, hope of a friendly border
did cling stubbornly to her belief in salvation.

Twenty years a U.N. refugee, waiting in Africa
for America to finally extend her hand;
and we are all the richer for Devota
and her wise and solemn "Grimm" fairytale.

Happily ever after, to quote Emerson
"...is to be useful, to be honorable,
to be compassionate, to have it make a difference
that you have lived and lived well".

Immigrants and refugees remind us
what's really important, the giving of ourselves,
each to the other; remembering what compassion means.

by Margaret Bednar, August 22, 2017


An interesting link from the History Channel:  Rwanda-genocide

This is linked with "dVerse - Poetics: Border"

Monday, August 21, 2017

Beneath a Batik sky...




Beneath a batik sky, everything's whitewashed in translucent shades of aqua, turquoise, and teal; shapes being reduced to inky silhouettes.  Humidity cloaks me, but welcoming the island breeze I wear this frock with ease even as sweat trickles betwixt my shoulder blades.  My feet turn towards the harbor, gem colored kayaks beaconing.  Soon develop a steady rhythm, skirt Silver Lake's circumference, glide by weatherworn piers and pilings, pass muster with austere white crowned sentinels of broad wings and oversized bill; grateful for the privilege of safe passage.  Find myself refreshed and walking beside a border of cypress trees, whose contour of whorls and swirls seemingly place me inside a Van Gogh landscape although absent a sky of churning, patterned brushstrokes; instead it is scrimmed with gossamer clouds more reminiscent of Whistler.  Meet up with my man and little man admiring Pamlico Sound, find my heart bursting as brightly as the marigold star nestling in the sliver of tangerine sky as it winks once more and slips softly into the sea.

Turquoise and marigold accent my world
as ocean's breeze soothes a tempest

by Margaret Bednar, August 21, 2017

This is linked with "dVerse Poets Pub - Haibun Monday - What did you do?"

A Haibun is one of my favorite poetic styles - although I do struggle with the follow-up Haikus.  We just returned from a last summer "hurrah" - a week on our beloved Outerbanks - Ocracoke Island.  It is the beginning of hurricane season, and although there were a touch of storms, they came and went.  It made the waves a lot of fun - although we didn't venture very far out and my son wore a life jacket and a boogy board attached to his wrists.






Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Uncomplicated"





It may be island life; kayaks, bicycles, sun and surf that make life charmingly simple, blinds that never fully close allowing sunrise to pry open my eyes (something I never allow otherwise). Morning coffee slowly sipped, no need for two cups as afternoon naps are expected.  Mid-heat of day I venture out, straw-brimmed hat, flip flops, camera in hand, look for contrasts, intricate lead in lines, background.  See nothing I haven't already captured.  Pause by colorful kayaks, let my gaze follow sandy path and I'm smitten with sparse bitter-bloom, rose-pink sweetness amongst grasping roots of a gnarled, stunted tree.  Salty spray and wind perhaps their doom but for now, after morning's rain, they no longer thirst and turn themselves over, as I have, to the warm slant of the sun.  May be time for that nap.    Windswept bitter-bloom sunbathes amongst gnarled salt sprayed roots - a southerly tempest simmers 

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Sunday Mini-Challenge - Uncomplicated Things" Write a poem with no more than 10 lines.  I chose a haibun with 9 lines and printed the "haiku" in blue and made it fit for the 10 line challenge - and please forgive that my haiku is a bit non-conformist :)  

by Margaret Bednar, August 18, 2107

Friday, August 18, 2017

"The Tide"


The Tide

The first toe dip's a gentle ballet,
a fine pirouette followed with a splash
and a warm breeze's fine welcome.

Unreliable her moods 
for she's just as likely to rock and roll a tempest surge 
that heaves us toward shore, laughing, 
occasional saltwater snorted through our nose.

I don't dare belly dance - the bikini and public
display of my midriff a memory from the distant past - 
but do enjoy a bit of a (secret) salsa as I extend an arm
and gracefully leap, (leg beneath the water outstretched,
back bent) over incoming waves.

Can't decide if I prefer sunrise's gentle melody
as my feet waltz to surf's soft rhythm 
while shore birds enjoy tonga lines along low tide's foam

or sunset's encore of captured color or soothing gray,
demolished sandcastles, and disappearing footprints 
seemingly tap dancing their way out to sea.

by Margaret Bednar, August 18, 2017








Monday, August 14, 2017

"Teach's Hole"

Teach's Hole - from the vantage point of Springer's Point - Ocracoke Island, NC
Teach's Hole

Live oaks hunched and bent
for centuries have pointed the way,
loblolly, beach, and maple offer swaths of shade
as perspiration tickles paths down my spine
and the humid breeze lifts a curl,
for even straight hair bends in this tucked away place
where, if one believes or listens closely enough,
a pirate's wail or song may be heard
within the deep folds of a foggy morn.

Easily imagine a bottle of rum in hand;
initial heat searing a path from throat,
to chest, to stomach.  Close my eyes,
hear the digging and hiding of the treasure chest -
for we all know it's here, somewhere...

Find myself silhouetted beneath a stunted, stilted canopy, 
divest myself of its protection, enter realm of sea and sky,
sink my toes into shifting warm sand,
witness windswept trees, roots exposed,
lounging drunkenly upon dune grass and shore;
they obviously know where the kill-devil's hidden.
Wonder which are native to Teach's Hole
and which were cast ashore upon a hurricane's whim. 

Beach glass glints blue-green but I walk by
as I spy a hermit crab at ocean's edge,
play peekaboo for a while; a gambler's luck not mine
as he darts inside at each sneaky turn of my wrist.

Return him to salty spray and settle
beside beach grass and sea oats, wax myrtle and holly,
watch pelicans and seagulls swoop and glide
above (and below) ocean's rolling surface.

Marvel how little some things change; find comfort
knowing swarthy pirates, shipwrecked ponies,
and sundry floral & fauna have anchored themselves
upon this slip of shoreline with their own triumphs
and tragedies - some widely written of,
others left to the ghosts of imagination

and as the sun settles, awash with a glorious template
of which I'd accuse a painter of exaggerated artistic liberty,
I bend my ear, eavesdrop, and embrace evening's breath
as she whispers a few secrets and stories of her own.

by Margaret Bednar, August 14, 2017

* The chiefe fudling they make in the Island (i.e. Barbados) is Rumbullion alias Kill-Devill, and the is made of suggar can distilled, a hott, hellish and terrible liquor. ("A briefe Description of the Island of Barbados" 1651)

Ocracoke Island HERE

This is linked (belatedly as I was on vacation on Ocracoke) with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Out of Standard - writing unseen"

Also linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - The Tuesday Platform"

"Driftwood"





Thursday, August 3, 2017

"Heartwood"





Heartwood 

I often rummaged through Grandma's attic,
thin cedar planks betwixt neatly folded timeworn quilts, 
velvet hats with satin ribbons, bows, delicate silk embroidery, 
and impossibly dainty white gloves with buttons 
all carefully folded and preserved from almost another century.

Was fascinated with her small black and white photos
of Yellowstone, 1915, Marguerite side-saddle upon a donkey -
smooth face, plumpish body, dark hair mesmerizing me.  
Other photos of dashing young men, smartly dressed,
proper women with hour glass figures skirted and buttoned-up, 
images of grandma's arms tantalizingly outstretched 
holding treats for begging bears -

all proof she'd been young once.  I'd put everything away,
carefully descend narrow wooden stairs and look at her - 
try to find 1915 in her sweet dear face.  She'd smile, knowingly.

----------

The watercolor of an old red cedar graced the walls of first, 
Grandmother's house, then ours.  Great-Grandmother Nellie painted it, 
lived in the Red Brick house just a mile from my childhood home, 
died their 34 years of age - measles and pregnant with a fifth child.  
Other paintings of hers: little yellow chicks, farm scenes, florals. 
Imagine her walking past kitchen garden, beyond white picket fence,
setting up her paints, hair and face sheltered beneath wide brim hat,
brush in hand, humming between laundry and kitchen chores.  

----------

A red cedar graces my childhood home's lot line,
was there when our house was built.  Recently stood beneath her - 
old arthritic branches extending far above my head.  
Remember the dark purple-blue berries I'd pick
when I was young.  See a young soft sprout and marvel at this offshoot - 

proof of the nurturing force of nature, of an old matriarch's 
protective shade - thankful my father never chopped her down
for firewood.  

----------

I find a fabric that quilts together these memories
and as I search for complimentary pieces and ponder patterns,
I anticipate wrapping myself up in cedar and berries, 
love and family. 

by Margaret Bednar, August 3, 2017

Painting by my Great Grandmother Helen Augusta (Lyford) Hutchins
Red Cedar trees can live up to 900 years.  The fine-grained, soft brittle pinkish to brownish-red heartwood is fragrant, very light and very durable, even in contact with soil.  Because of its rot resistance, the woods used for fence posts.  The aromatic wood is avoided by moths, so it is in demand as lining for clothes chests and closets, often referred to as cedar closets and cedar chests.

This is linked with "Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Artistic Interpretations - Quilt Me a Poem"

The Eastern Red Cedar that was standing in my side yard when I was two years old and is
still there - a mile from where my Great Grandmother Helen Augusta lived - I like to think this
is an offshoot of the tree she painted above.  

Painting by my Great Grandmother Helen Augusta (Lyford) Hutchins