Poem for Saturday: The Last Red Berries The Last Red Berries The sun illuminates the red nightshade berries, visually shocking in their brilliance, as the vine stretches gracefully to both sides like a reclining figure before the stolid block pillar and squared garage doors. Still, I’ve walked down this alley before and not seen it; the reflected light from the snow must have given the berries that extra boost, and the snow itself seems to underline the sprouting vines. The Last Red Berries What gentle lesson I learn from this nightshade, unwanted in its habitat, its toxins legendary, growing as it is from a crack in the pavement no other greenery but itself for comfort, facing unprotected the wind and cold and precipitation, yet gracefully spreading tangled limbs and offering its berries to birds who tolerate its poison and disperse its seeds, and patiently waiting for spring. Surely in all this, we can find a friend, if we can be a friend. ©2009 B.E. Kazmarski All that for a weed—or at least an invasive perennial vine that is mildly toxic. Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked. Paths I Have Walked, collected poems. I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning. Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings. Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way. All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it. Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”. $8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class). You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace. About the books and the poetry readings My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh. In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers. My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related Post navigation Diplodocus CarnegiiJust Past First Quarter Leave a Reply Cancel reply This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.