Claire V. Bogdanos

POEMS….THOUGHTS…..MEMORIES

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA “NIGHTINGALES” ( 2013 ) 2013/07/07


In 1945, I stumbled upon a poem, “Transcience” by a poet, Sarojini Naidu.  I was unaware that she was a woman or that she was so very special.  However, my hungry mind gravitated to her incredible thoughts and words.  In my effort to commit them to memory, I devised a plan by using the first 4 words of each of 3 stanzas and it worked.  “Nay, do not grieve, Nay do not pine, Nay, do not weep,”  now here we are almost 70 years later and with this single device I am able to recall that piece without hesitation.  I find that time has not diminished its value or the consolation it carried in its rhythmic style to alleviate the almost unbearable tragedy of that era and its world impact !  This reminds me of another man of note and pathos, Siegfried Sassoon of World War I, still one more voice in the “wilderness “along with a cadre of others.  Oddly enough both of these poets shared similarities, born late 1800’s , died after WWII concluded,educated in England and rooted in Indian culture with a passion for peace.  Both deserve your attention and respect !  Please allow me to close with the last 4 lines of my personal favorite:

“Nay, do not weep; new hopes,new dreams,new faces,

The unspent joy of all the unborn years,

Will prove your heart a traitor to its sorrow,

And make your eyes unfaithful to their tears.”

by Sarojini Naidu

And so again, we find another facet of magic words in the hands of “word warriors” not to be ignored.  I find myself compelled to think of one greater, the Preacher,Solomon, have you read him lately?  That’s Ecclesiastes !

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA “LEST WE FORGET” ( 2013 ) 2013/07/04

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 1:16 pm
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Where are we now? By 1939 the Great Depression was taking a breather !  The PWA and the WPA had been busy building schools, libraries, city halls, hospitals, county and state institutions for years.  While two and a half million brave adventurous young lads from farm and city across this nation became the heart and strength of the CCC movement.  They criss-crossed our country clearing lakes and rivers, planting 17 million trees, surveying hills and mountains, building roads, dams and bridges.  At the same time saving  their families from the impact of poverty by earning a monthly stipend of $30 from the program, $22 of which was sent directly home leaving them each eight dollars for their own use!  This was the brainchild of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the right man at the right time!  They swarmed across our land with hope and sacrifice, only a few years later to be called upon to fight our attackers in WWII.  These were our “greatest generation” and when the time came, they streamed across the deserts of Africa, the sands of Iwo Jima, the beaches of Normandy and the surf of the Solomon’s !  Next time you stroll among those familiar structures in your neighborhood, check out the year on those brick and concrete lintels and cornerstones, if the dates fall within 1933 to 1943 time frame, chances are they were built by the men and boys who labored long and hard to save their homeland !  Learn to be aware and appreciate the contribution of these “the meanest tools that we may chance to use”.  Familiar,huh?

 

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA “OH DIOGENES” ( 2013 )

Filed under: MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 1:23 am
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What is poetry?  I believe poets tell the ugly truth, but cushion the telling with soft and gentle words !  My father told me that something can’t be a lie unless it is based upon an actual fact, else it would be a simple fantasy !  Story telling !  Oh well, I’m not astute enough to be able  to distinguish the difference but it appears that I live in the right place at the right time !  I find myself torn by dichotomy, on one hand, Diogenes and on the other, Socrates.  The thought of carrying a candle searching for an honest man in these “tornadic” times seems senseless, but who chooses to drink hemlock to score a point ?  Kind of reminds one of the   ” Lady and the Tiger “.  When checking on my words and meaning, I find library “source” books much more factual than I.T. shorthand database which reports multiple opinions and conclusions in minutes, even seconds, as fact !  Scant time for nuances, sadly.  No more ancient volumes residing in the world’s most sacred library in Alexandria, Egypt, right? Only ashes?

Sincerely,

Claire B.

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/28

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 10:42 pm
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In Philadelphia, July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress formally adopted Mr. Jefferson’s masterpiece !  However, our national anthem which began as a poem written by a 35-year old Maryland lawyer ( who wasn’t born until 3 years after the signing of our nation’s birth certificate ) while he was being detained, a British prisoner on the deck of a warship in Baltimore Harbor on September 13, 1814.  The fleet continued a crushing bombardment of  Fort McHenry throughout the night, the Americans had ordered the largest flag to overfly the encampment to encourage the occupants of Baltimore.  On the morning of the 14th, when the smoke had cleared the question was heard, “oh say,can you see” and the answer was, “yes” !  Well, that insignificant poem written on the back of an envelope exists today with the entire world recognizing its power !  And yet the War of 1812, first invasion of our homeland, doesn’t warrant interest ?  Reminds me that the reason behind our war of independence was, hold on, take a deep breath, “taxation without representation” !  I believe America needs a refresher course, don’t you?  And who is in charge of “TRUTH.COM”, anyone you know?  “Not I”, said Ducky Lucky, “not I”, said Turkey Lurkey; farmyard tales, oh no!  While those brave men in Indian war paint tossed that whole cargo of tea into Boston Harbor, the rest of the citizenry backed them up !  Since there was no coffee, probably just chickory, did they drink wine or beer?  Well, it’s our birthday again and we are all here, although we are still in need of truth and glory !

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA ” O CANADA ” ( 2013 )

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 5:24 pm
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What do you know about the classic epic poem “Evangeline”?  Basic details, but not the “heartless” truths behind its creation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of “Hiawatha” fame?  “Evangeline”  is not a simple romantic tale of love gone awry, but the saga of an ethnic cleansing tragedy that actually occured 1745-1755 on our continent and impacted our nation in ways untold !  Remember the original colonizers “due north” of us were French fur traders, explorers, settlers with Samuel de Champlain at the helm in 1603.  “Hello”, Lake Champlain?  Let’s tax your knowledge of history once again, think French and Indian War, where that boy ‘who cut down the cherry tree” earned his stripes and became a HERO!  Moving on, the French had settled Nova Scotia, called Acadia,New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island ( the Maritimes ) and Quebec 150 years prior to the Brits appearing on that scene !  The year 1755, the French lost, the Acadians were neutral , not good enough !  Next “The Great Expulsion” relocating the Acadians after separating men from women and children .  Load the men onto English man’o’wars and dump them in the swamps of French Louisiana prior to the Revolutionary War and the “Purchase” by Jefferson.  Transport the rest to ports along the lower Atlantic coast from Maine to Vineyard’s Harbor ( Cape Cod ) to prevent increasing numbers above the possibly remaining 20,000.  However, without the Acadians who “morphed” into Cajuns, we could have lost the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815 in the War of 1812 along with Andrew Jackson’s eventual presidential win.  I failed to cite “Mardi Gras” et al, their gift to us!

 

DATELINE: Hoboken, NJ USA ” MAJOR LEAGUE ” ( 2013 ) 2013/06/27

Filed under: HISTORY — bogdanosclaire @ 2:19 pm
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Do you know the story of Mary Hays McCauley nee Ludwig?  Born 1754, Trenton, NJ, more commonly known as “Molly Pitcher” the heroine of the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse June 28, 1778.  Last time I was there, more than 60 years ago, she was memorialized with a monument, a plaque and the famous cannon she manned when her husband fell !  In the “good old days”, children revered the brave deeds of those who”purchased” our freedom and rights as the youth of today idolize sports figures.  That June day was unusually hot, 100°F, it could be called the “World Series of Battles” as it included all the major players, all the stars of both TEAMS !  Washington, von Steuben, Marquis de Lafayette and Gen. Charles Lee ( who really struck OUT ) for the home team.  With Clinton and Cornwallis battling for the visitors !!  Americans, 12,000 men, British 11,000.  The cannon required water to cool down the barrel after each shot and a ramrod swab out !  Water girls were kept busy carrying water throughout each battle , most were wives.  Almost half of the casualties were due to heat stroke.  In 1822, Molly ( nickname for Mary ) was awarded a lifetime pension for her valor by the Pennsylvania assembly.  The victory at  Monmouth coming after the crossing at Trenton, ended the larger effort to win in the north and resulted in British retreat to the south, after their escape from Sandy Hook, New Jersey.  Molly Pitcher’s Well can still be visited !  How’s that for another homerun for our side ?  P.S. General Lee was court martialed as a coward, his “contract” was not renewed, but you guessed that !

 

DATELINE: HOBOKEN, NJ, USA (2013) “AULD LANG SYNE” 2013/06/24

Filed under: POEMS.....THOUGHTS.....MEMORIES — bogdanosclaire @ 5:25 pm
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Who is the BAD BOY of poetry?  I’d opt for my special love, Robbie Burns, remember to roll the R !  He began writing rhyme and chasing girls according to his own words in his 15th year.  Remarkable!  Born 25 January 1759, first of 7 children, one of a kind, handsome roue and charmer of words died 21 July 1796.  Wow! I’m not sure if anyone has written more verses than he, like an onion one just keeps peeling away layer after layer, you laugh and you cry and you learn !  No fantasy there, simply magic.  My personal favorite ” To A Louse “, yes it’s about head lice BUT it’s about a girl he met in church who refuses to acknowledge him and shakes her long curls as she turns away,

 Oh Jenny, do not toss your head,

And set your beauties all abroad !

The light shining through the stained glass window above the pew illuminates the path of her “cooties” and evokes this stunning conclusion:

Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us

To see oursel’s as others see us!

It wad frae monie a blunder free us

And foolish notion:

What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,

And ev’n devotion !

Just another one of my magic prods, 7 words, ” to see ourselves as others see us”.  Can’t beat it right?  By the way, the best biography of Burns that I know is by William Ernest Henley ( 1897 ).  Sound familiar?  Between the bible and the bards, if I had another 100 years, it wouldn’t be enough time to absorb and digest the thoughts and words and ideals to fill my need !  Not so bad for a public high school grad with one semester NYU night school and one year at a NY Art School, what do you think?

 

 
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