From my e-book from nine years ago: GOOSE LAKE

Hi everyone,

A very dear friend of mine, Deanna Smith Schuler, has asked if I might record some poems from GOOSE LAKE, A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A LAKE, which I published as an e-book in 2011. Editors who read the manuscript liked it but said it was too specific so wouldn’t have a national appeal. I believed in the work so I ventured for my one and only time so far into the world of electronic books. I’ll make the video as requested, hopefully this week, but thinking about the collection again made me want to share some of it with you today. I’ve done this before but it has been quite a while.

Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong wrote the foreword for GOOSE LAKE. Sladjana Vasic’s illustrations captured beautifully my sense of mystery and intense interest in everything about the lake.

You can buy it for $1.99 on Amazon or B&N. Here’s the cover. Here’s the introduction. To those of you are familiar with my love affair with the lake behind our house that I dubbed “Goose Lake” many years ago (it has no official name that I know of), this will come as no surprise.

The lake behind our house entertains me. In, around, and above the water a cast of swimmers, flyers, hoppers, chirpers, croakers, honkers, quackers, and hissers comes and goes, lives or dies, eats or is eaten, each a valuable member of the lake’s community.

According to season, rising suns paint mornings fresh as spring. Fish leap for insects. Turtles lie out on rocks like summer tourists sunning at the beach.

Fall rains strip leaves from trees and storms howl across the water. Ice covers the lake. Snow covers the ice.

Then it’s spring again and ducks wander the banks, searching for secret places to hide their eggs.

If only you could be here to share my binoculars when I look out my kitchen window or lounge beside the water at dusk. There are so many sights I would love to show you! Since you cannot join me in person, I’ll do the next best thing. I’ll bring Goose Lake to you.

And here is how the book begins.
When we moved here in 1989, we were not welcome. As I stooped in the driveway for my first morning paper, a delegation of geese hissing like punctured tires flat-footed it toward me across the grass. This was not a social call. My new house squatting on their land beside their lake was an outrage.

Indignant to their pinfeathers the geese closed ranks and delivered their ultimatum in a furious chorus:

Bills hard as chisels,
tails aquiver,
necks recoiling like missile launchers
firing off fierce glares —
the posse bristles pigeon-toed
to enforce goose law:

will be hissed
they learn their lesson.

Text copyright © 2011 by David L. Harrison
Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Sladjana Vasic
All rights reserved.

Can’t go wrong for two bucks. (:>

The swans of Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

A few days ago I posted a swan painted by Sladjana Vasic when she illustrated GOOSE LAKE: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A LAKE. Here’s her swan again but this time with the back story and poem from the book. The swans on our table inspired the poem.

Swan Lakes

One year Goose Lake was home to a pair of swans. Their days were spent in splendid togetherness, one never far from the other. Even on cloudy days their white feathers stood out like two Viking ships sailing the lake one behind the other or side by side.

The second year one of the swans became ill. Its mate remained close until the end. The sight of the dead swan on the lake made each day a day of mourning. The remaining swan left the lake and turtles profited until life eventually resumed without a trace of what once was.

Two years later the swan returned. Perhaps it was flying from lake to lake searching for its lost mate. It seemed irritable and chased the geese onto the banks. After a few days it was gone. Now and then the swan returns briefly. We rejoice to see it suddenly swoop down over the trees, great wings beating, neck extended as though it can’t wait to arrive.
Each morning I look to see if the swan is still with us. I hold out hope that this time it is home for good. I still grieve to see such a magnificent creature swimming alone. If birds experience sorrow or a sense of loss, I’m sure this one does.

Two crystal swans swim
the mirror on our table,
etched feathers flashing white
fire in the slanted early light.

They face the lake
beyond the window,
gazing serenely toward

the solitary swan
adrift on the water,
divided from its mate
by the fate of the living,

who at this moment
unknowingly faces our window
at this splendid pair,
but unaware.

My Word of the Month poem for August

Hi everyone,

Here’s my poem inspired by the word “gone.” This poem is original and written for today’s post. The art is reprinted from my one and only e-book, GOOSE LAKE, beautifully illustrated by Sladjana Vasic. Thanks again, Sladjana!

The Visit

It came upon the lake
late one afternoon,
wings softly pummeling the air
as it wheeled, deciding where
to rush down onto the water.
Its sudden appearance,
noted by many, startled the day.

Familiarity restored, routine returned,
but for the great white-robed guest
gliding with grace,
as royalty moves among commoners,
aware of their presence without curiosity.

The sun set, rolling down its curtain
across the stage, leaving the players free
to spend the dark hours as they would.

Morning arrived
dramatically disguised as fog,
allowing time for all to find their places.
When the moment came,
and the fog dissolved,
the swan was gone.

(c) poem by David L. Harrison
(c) art by Sladjana Vasic
from GOOSE LAKE, e-published 2011

From Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

My love for living on a lake remains one of the highlights of each day. When I get up, I walk through the house toward the kitchen for coffee without turning on a switch. That way I see the water in the natural dusky light of predawn.

This is the time of year when the geese seem restless. Many of them disappear during the day only to return to Goose Lake in the evening, issuing loud cries as they circle and glide in for a watery landing.

I know the time is coming when squadrons of geese will take off, one after another, leaving the lake to the ducks. Many of those same birds will return to spend the winter here but something deep within tells them it’s time to migrate so they must go through the motions of leaving.

Many of you know of my e-book of poems and prose about this quiet, lovely little lake. I have dubbed both the lake and the book GOOSE LAKE. GOOSE LAKE, 5The book is available on Barnes & Noble and Amazon for $1.99. GOOSE LAKE was illustrated by Sladjana Vasic and formatted by her husband, Milos.The foreword was written by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

I haven’t posted a sample for quite a while so here’s the first one in the collection.

Sometimes skunks cross our yard
when it’s too dark to see black fur.
Their white bands jiggling up and down
seem to glow like skeleton bones
out to trick or treat.

This summer we saw
a mother of seven
doing her best to keep her kids
from wrestling in the street.

I wonder how many
passed their babyhood lessons,
advanced to mischievous youngsters
who may, as I sit here sniffing the air,
be target practicing
at a horrified
neighborhood cat.

— David L. Harrison

GOOSE LAKE is up and running

Hi everyone,

As of a few minutes ago, GOOSE LAKE, my newly released eBook of nature poems, is in 3rd place among today’s top sellers in children’s poetry and ranks #36 among books of poetry for adults. For those of you who have purchased a copy, thank you!

Veda Boyd Jones has posted a lovely review on Veda, many thanks for giving the new collection such a great send-off!

I thank Robyn Hood Black for posting an interview with me on her splendid blog Friday. If you’d like to read it and explore Robyn’s place, here’s the link.

If you wish to order a copy of GOOSE LAKE, you can download it for $3.99 onto your smart phone, iPad, Nook, or Kindle. If you want to send it as a gift, click on the “Gift” button and follow instructions.