Forgotten Chairs, poem in progress

three old chairs in garden
three old chairs in garden
Forgotten Chairs

Forgotten Chairs

Who is telling me a story?
Whose legs wore the paint so thin on that rounded oak edge?
Who sat for breakfast in these chairs?
Who listened to family stories?
Now that our histories are linked by chance
I want to know who you are.

A poem in progress, March 22, 2024.

Copyright 2024 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I have a fondness and also a certain protectiveness for older things that have been discarded. I’m always pulling chairs out of others’ trash, seeing they still have some use, and I don’t want them to spend the end of their useful lives in a landfill. I’ve often used them in my house for a while, then when their joints begin to loosen and paint begins to peel, they have their next life in my garden, often for a decade or so, as decorations, plant stands, even actually sitting places.

Cleaning out under my deck this spring I knew I had about six of them under there, and I’d blocked them in with garden hoses and such. Time for them to get back to work. I decided this was a great spot for these three chairs to at least spend some time, and after I’d walked back to my work area and turned to look at them, these three old oak chairs, their loose panels, peeling layers of paint in colors through the decades, the front edges worn smooth from legs, started telling me a story. So I wrote a poem.

Actually, I recorded my thoughts on my phone, and this little poem is exactly what I recorded. I find I often do better speaking my thoughts as notes than actually trying to write things in moments like this.

Not a bad deal on some free chairs


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Colors of Winter, poem in progress

rosehips in snow
rosehips in snow
Colors of Winter

Colors of Winter

Original sentence

The air was full of fine snow flurries, and the ripe rose hips were red as summer against the snow.

First draft

The air was full of crystal flurries
the ripe rose hips red as summer
against the snow.

Second draft

Air full of crystal flurries
rose hips as red as summer
in the snow.

January 2, 2023

(poem in progress © 2023 Bernadette E. Kazmarski)

I drafted this about a week ago when I posted this photo, just as a sentence, knowing I wanted to work with it. The photo was a difficult catch, the flurries in movement and the rose hips holding still and glistening. I tried to capture the feeling of the movement and contrast that I remembered, and that still inspire me.

I composed the first draft poem in the past tense as was the original statement.

Then I felt it would work better in present tense.

I think I’ll leave it here for today, and I know I’ll come back to it.


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The Dust of Stars, poem in progress

stars
stars
Dust of Stars

The Dust of Stars

five fingers
five toes
five extremities
we are stars
we are stardust

January 1, 2023

(poem in progress © 2023 Bernadette E. Kazmarski)

This was just a quick realization while standing in my kitchen one afternoon: five and five and five and stars. I wrote it down and stuck it on the refrigerator and today, January 1, I decided I would write at least a few words each day, aiming for five days a week. This little scrap has been waiting. So we’ll see how I do with that goal.


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Close The Door, poem in progress

"The Little Sunflower", pastel on velour paper, 11" x 16", 1997 © B.E. Kazmarski
"The Little Sunflower", pastel on velour paper, 11" x 16", 1997 © B.E. Kazmarski
“The Little Sunflower”, pastel on velour paper, 11″ x 16″, 1997 © B.E. Kazmarski

Close the Door

I don’t know when I will close the door
for the last time

long days of summer freedom
endless open windows as if
outdoors was in
warm days, birdsong, butterflies
cool nights, lightning bugs, crickets
storms
heat
days and nights of sundresses
my bare feet on the tile
on the wood
on the concrete
on the grass
on the soil of my garden
warm, nourishing

sundress now dropped in the laundry
days brief and shadowed
quick change through shorts and tanks
and tees and capris
to pants and long sleeves
socks between my feet and the Earth

I close the door
envision one of many bright spring mornings

consider the parallels and metaphors
of my life.

(poem in progress © 2022 Bernadette E. Kazmarski)

I was not originally a lover of summer, preferring the quiet solitude of winter. At some point when autumn arrived I felt a pang of something…regret? loss? I realized I would miss the freedoms of summer: the open windows, easy cool  sundresses, bare feet, even in hot weather days were less complicated by working for comfort. And once I began working at home I realized that the long afternoons of summer were just as quiet as I worked in solitude. Maybe, in some ways, better than winter?

No need for comparison. I still love winter. And I love summer too. And spring and autumn, the lead-up to each one, eases that transition in the most joyful way in spring, and the most solemn and contemplative way in autumn.

Summers are overly busy when I am a vendor at various weekend or even weekday events, though I still enjoy the long days of solitude in between. But writing time is scarce, though the inspirations are not.

When September arrived and I decided I would quit the events for the work I had in hand at home, I also decided I would at least take some notes on my thoughts and draft quick poems or essays and develop them later if need be. I used the “notes” application on my phone to record my voice as my hands were busy much as I once used my little tape recorder as I drove to work in the morning.

I pledge to myself to develop these ideas and get myself back in the habit of writing.  I hope you enjoy!


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Heraldry

perowinkle flower
perowinkle flower
Heraldry

Heraldry

Just past snow
through the detritus of last year’s final folly
faded brown and crackling beneath my feet
you reach a slender tendril of faith
to bear aloft your flag of conquest
a complementary flower
arms open wide
let the rain fall soft on our faces
herald the joy of spring.

Poem in progress © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Often my poems begin with visual inspirations.

I’m always happy to see the periwinkle flowers, and this year I haven’t yet had the chance to move all the leaves so they display their soft blue-violet in front of reddish-brown leaves, a color complement.

Usually I’ll run my mower over the yard to pick up and mulch the leaves and let them fall back where they were, and the vines grow atop the mulch. But this year they’ve had to push their way through the maple and mulberry leaves that fell last autumn.


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Someday They Will Sing

This is what happens when I wake up and the snow is enchanting and I hear that a maternity hospital in Ukraine was bombed by Russia and I have to do something with all of it.

Someday They Will Sing

where have all the flowers gone,
long time passing,
young ones have picked them,
every one of them
gone for soldiers,
returned to graveyards
everyone,
and graveyards gone to flowers,
long time ago,
and again and again
and again
when will they ever learn,
why did they never learn

Copyright ©2022 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

(#SlavaUkraini, and for all other people oppressed by war.)

I drafted the poem on the trail on Saturday, what happens when I come face to face with nature on a trail feeling the earth beneath my feet and the sun and breeze filling my head and my thoughts. I have been singing the song since the invasion began and was singing as I walked along, and every so often wrote another line of my thoughts.

Someday They Will Sing

The song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” was inspired by a traditional song of the Cossacks, Slavic peoples who lived in rural regions of both Ukraine and Russia, though the source of the song is Ukrainian. Pete Seeger adapted some of the lyrics and wrote the first three verses in 1955, Joe Hickerson wrote the rest in 1960.

It once was that men marched off to war while women stayed behind and tended the flowers in the graveyards, but I have heard a few folk singers (can’t remember) who have sung lyrics updated to reflect that young women become soldiers as well as young men, in fact, young people of all sorts become soldiers. With both society’s norms and folkways and beloved folk songs, breaking the mold can be difficult, but I could finally feel an update was natural.

I watch the creative soul of Ukrainians in this fight, so many musicians, artists, poets, writers, playing piano at the borders, making art to describe the conflict and their opposition, making Molotov cocktails instead of beer, a brass band of soldiers standing in fatigues to play the Ukrainian national anthem around the spot where a Russian missile hit, and the least I can do is awaken my own, possibly my inheritance from my Ukrainian ancestors, to reflect my support.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where_Have_All_the_Flowers_Gone%3F


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The Call of the Wolf Moon

full moon through wavy glass
full moon through wavy glass
Wolf Moon Calling

I turned off the lamp
but light still shone,
my bed awash with cool blue
pulls my thoughts to follow a path
up toward the full Wolf Moon
the imperative solo light of January nights;
I hear her distant howl across the valley
and feel her pull on me
to follow her path
past the effect of old wavy glass
through the tangled branches of the spruce
to the clear cold blue night of adventures
that might have otherwise been mine.

A poem in progress inspired by the actual nearly-full Wolf Moon that shone in my bedroom window last night, so bright I could do nothing but watch her slowly move past the branches of the spruce, distorted by the wavy glass of my old windows, and think. My camera had captured the distortion in even more depth as it always does, as if it either wants to prove to me how my vision had dismissed the distortion of the glass as a mistake yet I should see it as it actually was, or show me how distorted my views really were. Those long, cold, quiet nights often bring reflections of could have beens and should Is, especially when the Wolf Moon howls for my attention.

My daily photos often inspire poetry or prose that I try to get back to and develop into something more finished. That’s what this site is for. So my hope is that I can collect these thoughts here and find an easier way to get back to them.


Read more:   Essays   ♦  Short Stories  ♦  Poetry

All Rights Reserved.   ♦   © Bernadette E. Kazmarski   ♦   PathsIHaveWalked.com

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