A poem for the picture

Hi everyone,

The picture of me with my first fish, which I posted yesterday on Facebook, reminded me of the poem I wrote for CONNECTING DOTS, POEMS OF MY JOURNEY, Boyds Mills Press, 2004, inspired by that picture and memory. Here they are together.

THINGS WE PRIZE

Hidden in the mountains, fed by snow,
The lake was small. We stayed there every year
And got to know our neighbors camping near
In tents like toadstools growing in a row.

I found a secret pool, a little nook
Where I could lie and watch the fish below
But no amount of coaxing made them go
For worms, or bits of bacon on my hook.

At last a fish too hungry to be wise
Took my bait so hard its body shook.
“A fish!” I cried. “Big enough to cook!”
I held it high to show its mighty size.

Even though the lake is far away
I remember posing with my prize
And grinning at our neighbors’ happy cries
Just as though it happened yesterday.

I’ve caught some bigger fish but this is clear,
They’ll never match the thrill I felt that day.
No matter what those larger trophies weigh
The first fish will always be most dear.

(c) 2004 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved

Because I think it’s pretty

Hi everyone,

Several years ago I wrote a poem about a dead wasp I found on a windowsill in our kitchen. My editor, Wendy Murray, liked it and asked me to write a book with poems with that much feeling. The collection became CONNECTING DOTS. I know I’ve told you about this before and posted the poem, which I’m doing again here.

DEATH OF A WASP
Bumping at the windowpane
He fought against the solid air
That held him as a prisoner there,
But all his struggles were in vain.

Never comprehending glass
Clear as air that stopped him hard
And blocked his freedom to the yard,
Repeatedly he tried to pass.

Eventually he lost his fight
And perished on a sunny sill
Facing toward his freedom still,
Wings awry in broken flight.

He had a name, Trypoxylon,
A small but vibrant living thing
Who came in by the door in spring
And in a day or two was gone.

(c) by David L. Harrison
from CONNECTING DOTS
Boyds Mills Press, 2004

What prompted today’s post was this picture.

This dead wasp was floating in my pool, a careless victim of its need to snatch a drink of water. However you might feel about wasps in general or this one in particular, I like the pattern in the water. Meanwhile the sky matched the scene.

Poems of my journey

Hi everyone,

R.I.P., CONNECTING DOTS, published by Boyds Mills Press, 2004.

NIGHT SONGS

As starry hours slowly sweep
We turn together in our sleep.
Sometimes I wake and watch her there
In rumpled sheets and tangled hair
Pillow tucked beneath her head
Breathing near me on the bed —
A quiet every-night event —
Then drift away again, content.

Outside in dimly shadowed light
Voices thrum away the night
And as they sing their ancient themes
We mingle in each other’s dreams.
Time moves softly, slow and deep,
We turn together in our sleep
Until the morning comes and then
She wakes and life begins again.

(c) by David L. Harrison, all rights reserved.

Girls from my past

Hi everyone,

I haven’t tackled my Word of the Month poem yet but here’s one from the past. It was published in CONNECTING DOTS, (Boyds Mills, 2004).

I’m 13. Suddenly we’re talking about girls. I know some kids who have gone on dates. We have more questions than answers.


GIRLS

Something happened over summer —
girls are looking different now.
Hard to say exactly how,
but other guys have noticed too.
Seems like all we ever do
is sneak a look at girls.

Makeup maybe? Clothes? Perfume?
How they walk across the room?
Can’t explain, I only know
(haven’t told another soul)
I think I’m liking girls.

Early memories

Hi everyone,

I just finished responding to questions for an upcoming interview, including one about a favorite memory. I value memories, especially those earliest ones. I can think of four glimpses of me when I was three.

In one case I was playing in the basement. My parents kept a (wait for it . . . ) turtle down there. (Is there any wonder that I goo foff with turtles today?) Anyway I was sliding it across the concrete floor until my mother realized what I was doing and came to the poor creature’s rescue. Later in my life I wrote the book, CONNECTING DOTS, which was all memory-based, and I included a poem about that poor creature in our basement that suffered at my childish hands. Thanks, Wendy Murray, for being such a sensitive editor for that highly personal collection. Some of you may have read the poem but here it is.

Daydreams
by David L. Harrison

I remember the turtle
beneath the basement stair.
I see him sleeping there.

Maybe he’s dreaming of clover,
shade beside a tree,
days when he was free.

When he awakes he lurches,
searches through the gloom
around across the room,
scratches at the stones..
Methodically he crawls,
scrapes against the walls.

The walls mark his prison,
but even if he knows,
on and on he goes.

I remember the turtle –
when I was only three –
whose courage was lost on me.

© Boyds Mills Press, 2004.
By permission of the author.

Anyone else have an early memory to share? Have you drawn from it the inspiration for a poem or story?