Friday, September 15, 2017

SUMMER RITUAL: A Poem about My Maternal Grandfather


My maternal grandfather with (L to R) my Great Aunt Agnes, my Aunt Helen, and my maternal grandmother.

 

 

SUMMER RITUAL

 
My mother and I arrive at my grandparents’ house
late one Sunday afternoon.
Babci greets us in the kitchen
with cold drinks clinking with ice cubes.
Dzidzi fetches a small wooden basket
from the cellar, takes my hand,
and walks me down the stone path to his garden.
He leans over a tomato plant,
holds a fat red globe in his cupped hand,
and looks at me. I nod approval.
I can almost taste the tomato’s warm, juicy flesh.
We choose a dozen more and place them in the basket.
We pick three green, glossy-skinned peppers,
pull up a bunch of feather-topped carrots,
enough beets for my mother to make a pot of zimny barszcz
thickened with sour cream and floating with cucumber slices.
Every visit to my grandparents’ house
is the same this season—
a small harvest of vegetables—
and when we leave, I take home
a little basket of Dzidzi’s garden.

 *****

September is my favorite month. I love the weather here in New England at this time of year. We still have warm days--usually without the summer humidity. Nights are cooler and comfortable for sleeping.

This month  brings to mind my Dzidzi--my maternal grandfather. He passed away in late September of 1984. It was the first real loss of a beloved family member that I suffered. It was traumatic for me.
 
Dzidzi with my father

Dzidzi was a Polish immigrant...a peasant from the Old Country. For many years, he worked at a leather factory in Peabody, Massachusetts, which is known as the Tanner City. He also worked in his garden behind his house. He grew many different kinds of vegetables--including onions, peppers, carrots, and beets. He cared for his fruit trees (apple, pear, and plum). His cherry tree was felled by a hurricane in the 1950s. He LOVED tending to his garden almost as much as he loved his family--and he loved sharing the food he grew in it.
 

Babci and Dzidzi with my older sister
 
My poem Summer Ritual is a remembrance of the times I'd visit my maternal grandparents in summer and early fall--and return home with a bounty of fresh-picked vegetables and fruit from Dzidzi's garden.

 *****

A few weeks ago, I posted a poem about my maternal grandmother titled CROCHETING.

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Michelle has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Today's Little Ditty.

 

Friday, August 25, 2017

CROCHETING: A Poem about My Maternal Grandmother

 My Babci: Anna Chalupka Kozicka

CROCHETING
By Elaine Magliaro

The crowns of blossoming fruit trees
are pink and white clouds.
We sit under the apple tree,
petals falling around us like spring snow.
Nearby Babci relaxes in the wide Adirondack chair
crocheting an earth-brown afghan
for our summertime picnics.
Her nimble fingers dance
as she hooks and loops
the dark yarn into intricate designs.
From a single strand
she creates a lacy island
where we will float
on a sea of soft green grass
near Dzidzi’s garden,
eating ham sandwiches,
crunching homemade pickles,
savoring our summer afternoons.

 
 
Why I chose to post this poem today: We have had some fine summer weather here this week--sunny, warm, breezy, and dry. Two days ago, my older granddaughter asked if we could have a picnic in our yard. I thought it was a wonderful idea! I lay down a blanket on the lawn in the shade of our old ash tree. Julia and Ali and I had a lovely lunch of red grapes, fontina cheese, and yogurt. The next day, we did it again. My husband joined us for our picnic this time. In addition to grapes, cheese, and yogurt, we had some leftover shrimp and pasta with pesto sauce that I had made with basil from our garden. The girls gobbled up the pasta! Our picnics brought back memories of some of the childhood days that I spent at the home of my beloved maternal grandparents.

Years ago, I wrote a collection of memoir poems about my Babci and Dzidzi. Babci loved to crochet and make food for and feed her family. She also canned fruits and vegetables from their garden. One of her specialties was homemade piccalilli.

My Babci is the one on the right.

 

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Jone has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Check It Out.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Statue in the Park Poem



Laura Purdie Salas wrote on her blog that the Poetry Princess challenge (her choice) for this month was "a poem of any kind, mood, or topic to go with the title 'Statues in the Park.'"

I am no "Poetry Princess"--but when I heard about this challenge, it brought to mind a poem that I wrote about the George Washington statue that is displayed in Boston's Public Garden. I wrote the poem about thirty-five years ago. I don't know where the poem is at the moment so I am doing my best to write it down from memory.
 
Statue in the Park
by Elaine Magliaro

In the city park, I know
a famous man from long ago.
Astride his horse, George Washington--
father of his countrymen--
tall, majestic, cast in bronze,
he guards the Public Garden's swans,
benches, and the tulip beds...
with pigeons sitting on his head.

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Donna has the Poetry Friday Roundup at Mainely Write.

 

Friday, July 21, 2017

DAWN: An Original Poem That Needs Revision




Dawn
melted stars
tucked night in tight
woke the sun,
switched on its light...
then made it shine
into this little room of mine.


I haven't posted for a few weeks. I have been going through a writing "dry spell." It has been frustrating for me. I was on a roll for several weeks working on two different collections--and then my muse went on vacation. That said, I have been really busy caring for my "grandgirls" five days a week. And in summer, I like to take them outdoors...and play with them in the pool. By the time my daughter gets home from work and we finish dinner, I'm rarely raring to write.

Still, I feel so fortunate to be able to spend so much time with my granddaughters. They bring such joy into my life. My daughter is going to take a couple of weeks of vacation this summer--so maybe I'll get into my writing groove once again.

 


I decided to post the poem about dawn, which I found in a computer folder of poems that I had forgotten about. I know it needs more work--but I wanted to participate in Poetry Friday this week.
 
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Katie has the Poetry Friday Roundup at The Logonauts.
 




Friday, June 23, 2017

The Case of the Missing Caterpillars


On Tuesday, my husband and older granddaughter spotted some interesting-looking caterpillars munching on our dill plant. My husband, two granddaughters, and I checked them out several times during the course of the day. That night, I counted ten caterpillars on the plant. On Wednesday morning, there were just two left. By Thursday morning, they had all disappeared--even though my husband covered the plant with netting.
 
Our family was really disappointed. We had so hoped to see them metamorphose into butterflies.

I'm not sure what ate them. I doubt they crawled away on a long-distance journey. We couldn't find them anywhere else in the garden.
Thinking of those caterpillars brought to mind Christina Rossetti's poem Caterpillar.

CATERPILLAR
by Christina Rossetti

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry:
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.

May no toad spy you,
May little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

My husband and I did some research on the caterpillars. They looked a lot like the larvae of the Anise Swallowtail Butterfly--who like dill plants. I'm not sure, however, that they live here in the Northeast.

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Heidi Mordhorst has the Poetry Friday Roundup at My Juicy Little Universe.