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Archive for the ‘Poetry by Margaret Longenecker Been’ Category

THE MAPLE

A single maple golden stood

Long after frost had laid

A deadly hand upon the woods

Disrobed by icy rain.

Her loneliness was bright and bold

In skeletons of trees

That recently flashed red and gold

And chattered in the breeze.

Her joy was not in being a tree

Of abundant tone,

But in the fact of being free

And standing all alone. 

Had the other trees around

Been leafed, she’d doubtlessly

Have cast her garments to the ground

For all the woods to see!

©Margaret Longenecker Been

Note:  “The Maple” was published in North American Mentor magazine, and in a collection of poems—WILDERNESS AND GARDENS, An American Lady’s Prospect, by Margaret Longenecker Been—published by Westburg & Associates, Fennimore, Wisconsin,

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These are the darkling days

when maples shed their burdens,

torn and sodden, to the earth . . .

and tawny columned corn

breaks beneath the reaper’s blade. 

Demise of daylight

drives us inward to our dens,

burrows we’ve designed,

hollows carved in ancient oak,

cabins hewn from fallen pine. 

These are the darkling days.

A fading west wind yields

to sabre rattling from the north,

yet while the keenings sound . . .

a new life pulsates underground. 

© 2009 Margaret Longenecker Been

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My friend, Ellen Grace Olinger, has inspired me greatly and I sense a deluge of haiku (and related forms) rushing from my soul!  Ellen is a master at the Japanese poetic forms.  She has the rare gift of saying volumes in a few succinct words. 

It’s exciting to be seized by a fresh creative passion!  You can check out some fruit on my currently updated Ekphrasis page on this blogsite. 

And please visit Ellen’s two sites—listed in my blogroll as “Beautiful Poems and Thoughts by Ellen Olinger” and “Poetry Inspired by the Psalms and Nature”.  You’ll be glad you did!  🙂

Thank you Ellen!

MLB

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There is a hunger meat cannot abate,

nor human company assuage.

Food grows tasteless, conversation fails

to feed this cave.

Only hands, committed hands

can feed the hunger

of our broken pact with earth . . .

hands that spin and weave

and love the feel of rough wood,

crumbling sod,

hands that mirror ways

of He Who formed us out of clay.

© Margaret Longenecker Been

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How to Long for Heaven?

How to long for Heaven

When Earth is moist with Spring

And in the swamp

The peepers’ anthems ring?

What Rapture

Without that rapture of returning geese,

And season on season

Without surcease?

My Lord is here,

Visible in Sun and rain,

Audible in growing wind

Across the plain.

Margaret Longenecker Been, ©1973

POET’S NOTE:  I do long for Heaven, every time I read a newspaper or watch the news on TV—or hear of human suffering around the world.  Many times a week I pray, “Thy Kingdom come” and “Come, Lord Jesus”.

Yet God is His creative mercy and grace gives us glimpses of Heaven on a daily basis.  All we need to do is look at the sky, and we are lifted to another, richer dimension.  And when winter suddenly turns to spring, the message of Resurrection is overwhelmingly clear!  Our Lord is here!  His visible return is simply  a matter of time.  MLB

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 “I sometimes wonder, after all,
Amid this tangled web of fate,
If what is great may not be small,
And what is small may not be great.
So wondering I go my way,
Yet in my heart contentment sings . . .
O may I ever see, I pray,
God’s grace and love in Little Things.”

From “The Joy of Little Things”, by Robert Service

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“I come in the little things, saith the Lord, 

Amidst the delicate and bladed wheat

That springs triumphant in the furrowed sod . . .

I come in the little things, saith the Lord:

Yea! on the glancing wings 

Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet

Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet . . . .”

From “I Come in the Little Things, Saith the Lord”, by Evelyn Underhill

____________________________________________________________

I will never be able to say enough, write enough, or thank God adequately for the Little Things.  I cannot begin to list them, because I haven’t enough years on earth, or hours in a day.  There isn’t enough paper on this planet to contain my list or record my appreciation for the Little Things.  But here are just a few:

The February sun streams in my window, flooding my keyboard.  Our corgi, Dylan, sleeps and snores on the floor beside me.  My husband watches a favorite sport and periodically makes a suggestion or voices a strong complaint, to the players on the screen. 

Snow falls.  Snow melts.  Today I heard the cardinal’s first “Cheer Cheer Cheer” of the season; his territorial assertiveness has resumed for another year.  We had breakfast at a local café which is alway packed at mealtimes—resounding with the happy clatter of dishes and ongoing congenial conversation. 

Our friendly 93 year old neighbor, Mike, drives off in his sporty new car, with his radio blaring Country Western tunes.  Mike is chomping at the bit for the next golf season to begin.  Another neighbor walks past our windows with a dog, and Dylan rumbles his “deep in the throat” message—broadcasting that he does not like other dogs.

Our granddaughter-in-law, Kelly, phones from San Diego and excitedly tells us about the sunshine—and the view of the ocean from their patio.  She tells us they are all happy—and that their sweet two year old, Cole, has a little friend to play with. 

I loiter in the produce department of our supermarket and marvel at the gorgeous shades of purple/blue in the eggplants.  I resolve to GOOGLE “Eggplant Recipes”, in order to justify buying one the next time I shop.  But I’ll probably sketch and paint the eggplant before cooking it.

Our Christmas cactus never bloomed at Christmas, but now it is sprouting pink buds—having saved its glory for the Lenten season.  As I water the plants, they say “Thank you” by exuding the heady fragrance of damp earth.

Now we have a lingering twilight.  I boil water and steep our tea until just short of battery acid strength.  Joe and I drink our tea while gazing out the living room window at the ambience of our patio garden in winter—and dreaming of the green explosion to come.

Tomorrow, in church, I’ll sit in our four generation family row—praising God that I can be the old great-grandma, enjoying beautiful younger people of all ages!  Some will visit in the afternoon, for Scrabble, reminiscing, playing in the doll house, or simply savoring the moment.

People to love.  Beauty to behold.  Endless delights to experience with the five senses.  Creative pastimes to enjoy.  We lack nothing.  We are complete.  We are abundantly blessed by The Little Things!

Contentment

It comes from viewing, with a certain mind,

a window full of plants in Winter

and finding rabbit tracks in snow,

from going to sleep while blizzard shrieks

and waking to a house that’s drifted shut.

It comes again in Spring when Earth is waiting

and the air has not quite turned to May,

in Summer at a pine-edged lake

where Time halts and the moment is enough. 

It comes in Autumn–with a sadness–

as fields are tanned and cider flows

and children’s noses chill at dusk,

and Earth spreads makeup on Her face

to hide Her age.

© Margaret Longenecker Been

 

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I wrote the following lines, thinking they might make a good epitaph:

I’ve always needed something in my hands . . .

a doll, a Teddy bear, kitten, puppy, infant,

new-born lamb, bread dough, yarn and knitting needles, 

a teacup, pen and paper, book, steering wheel, handkerchief,

a piece of quartz, an oak leaf, acorn, chestnut,

bouquet of daisies, dried hydrangeas . . .

EARTH! 

I’ve always needed something in my hands, and will

until You pry my fingers loose and lead me, empty handed,

HOME!

© Margaret Longenecker Been

Everyone knows I love words.  I never bothered to talk as a toddler, and until I turned two years old my parents were afraid I’d never talk.  Then I turned two, and my parents were suddenly afraid that I’d never stop.  I recall my mother telling someone: “Margaret can talk a bird down out of a tree”!

Shades of loquacity notwithstanding, what may be an even stronger trait exists in my DNA—the tactile gene.  This gene is an actual hunger at all times of the year.  Indeed over the winter holidays, when much of our time is occupied with pleasant social gatherings, the hunger intensifies to a point where I realize I HAVE to take my knitting along to group occasions in order to maintain soul balance—and also that I will not eat all the available goodies.  I must have something in my hands.

The hunger continues, rampantly noticeable, throughout the rest of the winter as I dream of the gardening season ahead—when bare hands in earth will be satisfied and filled with rejoicing.  Meanwhile, I repot houseplants—taking special care to get some of the soil under my fingernails while indulging my sense of smell in the heady fragrance of green roots in wet earth.  I paint with a paintbrush, but relish the traces of alizaron crimson and French ultramarine on my fingers.  I stroke my doggie’s back and pat his head, while revelling in the softness of his fur and the smoothness of his velvety ears.

And I knit!  Yarn has special appeal as each variety has its own texture.  Without looking I can differentiate between silk yarns, factory spun acrylic blends, and those precious yarns which I’ve spun from my own (long ago) sheep.  There is a distinct difference in sheep wools:  I still have a soft Shetland batt, and some Border Leicester wool which is lustrous and coarse—fine for my sun weathered skin, but frowned upon by many folks who can’t handle a bit of the scratch on their delicate bodies.

The first full blown realization of my abject need for tactile experience came to me over a couple of decades when I frequently attended workshops and conferences.  Many of these were focused on writing, and no matter how helpful and informative they were I would come home drained and stressed—wanting to scream but not knowing exactly why.  I may have been inspired and challenged, but I also felt kind of “ill”.  I was sick of words—and weary of the competition and drivenness commonly exhibited at conventions of writers!

Also in those years, I attended woollie gatherings—spinners’ conventions and knitters’ gatherings.  I came home from these occasions with an overflowing cup of contentment and well being!  The diverse textures of the subject matter were accompanied by the glorious scent of wool and high stimulation of COLOR—all set against a background of pleasant conversation.  To this day I feel healthy and strong in the wake of a spinners’ or knitters’ gathering—where all levels of “art” are welcome and respected, and participants are bonded in their shared love of a hands-on project.

Oddly enough, I can read a fine quality 600 or 700 page book (and often do) without that burnt out feeling that I get from a writers’ gathering.  Somehow, the aptly written word fulfills, challenges, soothes, and satisfies while building rather than depleting my soul.  So can words spoken by a teacher, preacher, or friend.  Quiet, one-on-one conversation with a friend or family member refreshes me.  And I can write volumes, with impunity. 

It is the cacophony of many competitive people talking that jars me to the core—along with the above mentioned drivenness that motivates (and sadly afflicts!) many writers in a group of their peers.  I’m settled and fulfilled whenever I have something in my hands! 

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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