It's as if I'm looking through a keyhole,
the two of them silhouetted against a future bright.
One looms large, admired, fedora tilted over one eye.
The other? Innocence, unaware of flaws in his hero.
Youth demands attention; I make excuses,
my heart tender, understanding both as only a mother can.

If only the hero can comprehend,
for a moment look down, truly see how similar they are.
How once he filled my minutes and hours
with words. Does he remember I listened?
Know I still thrill with the wonder inside him?

Youth needs a hero and he's been chosen.
My youngest and oldest;
boy and young man upon a threshold.
Hero can lend a guiding hand, provide a key
for frontiers yet to be explored.

Worship won't last forever - nor should it.
But the honor, for as long as it is offered,
is a gift few ever receive.

by Margaret Bednar, January 27, 2016

If Passion is Pink

If passion is pink,

will it taste of raspberry creme,
flow from rose-tinted lips whispering sonnets?

If purple, will it be tart like a Saskatoon berry,
scented like frosted lilac or a wisteria tree in full bloom?

As comfortable as faded blue linen,
blue patchwork quilt, or a distant horizon mid-day?

Cool and refreshing as a coral reef, sweet as peach preserves,
or free and determined as wild salmon?

Smooth as bourbon butterscotch, refined as amber,
exciting as a piece of eight?

Cloaked with comfort like morning fog,
a rich Highland or Somerset grey?
(think Scots or Englishman - I'm all about the accent)

Maybe Celtic and Parisian green (see above)
or calming as meadow sage and wheatgrass?

Perhaps red, hot kisses beneath scarlet maples
or beside gooseberries on a woodland path?

If passion is pink, is it delicate
as a Victorian rose?

What color will you choose
as you nibble on your lover's ear?

by Margaret Bednar, July 11, 2019

Beneath the Laughing Gulls

"The important thing in life is to let the years carry us along." Federico Garcia Lorca, Yerma"

This evening I press my ear to your chest,
hear the ocean's waves and laughing gulls
that reside inside, distant laughter of children
you've made fast friends, your voice
calling Mother, come look!"

Close my eyes, see you walk a mermaid's path,
white frothy sea foam and iridescent bubbles
slowly fade and pop as morning's surf recedes,
tears glistening as you mourn their death.

Wrap myself around you, whelk like,
my shell far too fragile for true protection.
Realize tears are as important as laughter
yet my heart bangs along the shore,
chipped and worn, fighting for a journey
resembling my dreams perhaps more than yours.

And there's the fissure as you turn
and take the covers with you surely as decisively
as the tide reclaims what is hers. Always.

So, I settle upon the porch, chastised a bit,
yet revel in the sounds I've heard,
know you are alive and growing,
tumbling along life's shoreline
beneath the laughing gulls.

by Margaret Bednar, March 29, 2018

The Orphan

The college boys considered it a roadside treasure,
excitedly hauled the orphan home, lugged it up
worn steps and placed it (for the next three years)
none too gently on the slant-floored, over-sized stoop
mostly out of reach of rain, snow, sleet, and hail.

If not an antique, it was certainly "aged";
not a worthy investment with one leg missing,
but nothing a cinder block couldn't cure.
It's suede-like fabric boasted a distant connection
to fashion, but one had to squint to notice.

But free was a different story
and the boys felt they'd rescued it from its beggared fate,
and many an evening and starry night were spent
playing cards, laughing, and attempting to woo a girl or two.

Napoleon Street was not as grand as its namesake
nor did neighbors complain of the addition
as they had similar settees gracing similar porches.

Mid-day one might find clothes-lines sagging
with undergarments; I particularly was charmed
by the occasional quilt drying in a shaded oasis,
as if sunlight might damage faded and worn.

Come evening, hellos and goodbyes emanated
from beneath these covered respites,
glasses raised, even the teetotalers joined in,
swigged down refreshing toasts on hot summer days.

Must confess I was never tempted to rest
upon the golden "velvet" couch, but was sad,
upon graduation, when I watched it hauled off
to another college porch, boys insisting its presence
was a "legacy" to be upheld.

by Margaret Bednar, July 15, 2019

The Barn Swallow

Summer mornings I"d watch as he
of wing and tapered tail, royal and rust,
and early morning swoops over field and lawn
dive-bombed my not-so-innocent-cat;
shoulders hunched, eyes averted,
whose tail, raised in supposed surrender,
would suddenly twist and paw for the arial acrobat
always just out of reach.

Even spied my little lion, quivering, chattering,
balancing on barn's wooden beams, eyes fixated
on unattainable little mud cup plastered to the wall
where five little nestlings precariously perched,
tipping, swaying at nests edge
seemingly willing to offer themselves up
any minute with a vertical fall.

A few found fate's end
flat and lifeless as a preserved flower
between pages of a book;
their press a dirt floor and a horse's hoof.

As my cat aged (and wizened)
he in my lap and I reading a book,
we'd let evening tide tuck us in beneath shadowed porch,
tangerine sky settling in and watch the skimming aces
frolic after winged insects, their kvik, kvik, wit, wit
joining mid-summer's lullaby.

by Margaret Bednar, June 30, 2016

Lake Leanna

It qualified more as a mud puddle than a lake, 
but we kids didn't notice or care
that sand was hauled in each year
and ended at the water line.

Squishy mud greeted our toes
the moment we stepped in,
quickly swam to the floating dock
which wobbled back and forth

with every single neighborhood kid upon it,
perhaps doing a better job at babysitting
than Mrs. Phillips, basking not only in the sun
but the latest Harlequin Romance,

or the gossiping mothers smoking
and sipping "soft drinks",
rearranging bathing suit straps
to avoid tan lines;

shook our heads
as some boys strained eyeballs
hoping for a peek of Mrs. Blue's ample bosom.
At least they came,

some moms packed a few soft drinks
in a styrofoam cooler,
waved goodbye from the front door;
provided sunblock, more often baby oil.

One day feared I'd sink
beneath greenish brown depths
as there was no room
upon the floating "nanny",

was sure no one would ever notice
my disappearance. Believe that's the day
I learned to float upon my back,
but not after a few near-death experiences.

Spent many a summer evening
digging through the sand
searching for stained red cigarette butts,
hesitantly inhaling and coughing

as we hid creekside below the dam.
Spied our teenage crush wooing a girl
upon the beach, giggled at the corny things he said,
but in the end he got his kiss and we swooned.

Summer seemed to last forever in those days,
but the years since have certainly flown.
I revisited Lake Leanna a while ago,
surprised to see a sign "Swim at your own risk".

Had to laugh as we always had,
just no one warned us.

by Margaret Bednar, April 12, 2018

Coney Island

Before the clamor and confusion of mid-day,
before shadows slant lean and low
and seagulls dive-bomb a littered beach,

I gaze down the grey-boarded walk
bejeweled with brightly colored umbrellas
and awnings hawking lobster rolls, soft serve, and beer.

It's a calm before the storm, a respite;
ghostlike. As if I look hard enough,
I'll transport back in time

when five cents gypsied one down the tracks
to a beachside breeze, promise of a Nathan's frank,
and a Steeplechase thrill.

Electro Spin and Sea Side Swing seem overshadowed
by Wonder Wheel's grace (that's probably still the same)
and Classic Rock rolls its rhythm

as Carousel and Thunderbolt act as grand sentinels.
I'm eventually drawn to the beach
dotted with small shaded oasis's, crowded with coolers & chairs.

"Cold Coronas, Cotton Candy!, Snow Cones".
"Get it!, Get it!" and I buy two umbrellas for $20,
my refuge beneath a partially cloudy sky,

close my eyes as a life guard's whistle blows,
children laugh, bicker, cry
and Latino hip hop filters from over my left shoulder.

by Margaret Bednar, 07/01/2019


Nancy Medina – a most amazing artist & teacher
"because a red geranium has blossomed open." Carilda Olivar Labra

Grandma's red roses nest my earliest memories
of sisters and me seated beneath fragrant blooms,
white trellis a backdrop for Polaroid images now faded with a time

when Grandma sat and enjoyed evening's breeze
while we balanced blocks sky high, tested sidewalk's freedom
in front of her small red house, unsuccessfully tried
to quiet childish country voices.

Earthy and safe was the scent of her yard, clothes wrung
and hung on t-post line, grass tickled bare feet
as we picked cherries from gnarled trees; impatiently waited
for warm tart pies with buttery crust.


Drove by her house long after she'd passed, years after I'd married.
Gone, the splash of reds which made Grandma's house stand out.
Had to circle 'round twice to be sure.

To this day wish I had a green thumb; thank heaven
for my hardy scalloped lace-leaved flowers that last
all summer long, give me that dash of color I'll always crave.

by Margaret Bednar, 02/09/2015