A toast using the last glass

Hi everyone,

I’m delighted that the first pre-ordered copies of THIS LIFE go out in the mail today. Let me know when your books arrive!

On other matters, I’m spending this week getting out a few manuscripts that have accumulated in the files. This is a bad time of year for submissions because editors are either busy or on break. But I’m busy the rest of the year so all I can do is send out my work now and wait for editors to get back to their offices after Christmas.

While searching through the files, I was reminded of one of my old favorites about the last crystal glass from an original set of eight. Something about setting elegant tables this time of year sent me on a search for the old poem, which was part of the ALLIGATOR IN THE CLOSET collection illustrated by JANE KINDALL and published in 2003.


In the beginning
There were eight
Graceful glasses
By our plates,
For dinner parties,
Special guests,
Sunday best.
Their elegance gave
A touch of class,
But time is hard
On fragile glass,
Cracks and chips
And hardwood floor
Reduced the set
From eight to four.

Still their number
Dwindled down
Till this last glass
Was left around
To gather dust
All by itself
Forgotten on
The cupboard shelf.

I love to use it
Now and then
And think of parties
Where it’s been,
For it was made
To grace a plate,
This one of a kind
From the elegant eight.

(c) 2002 David L Harrison, Alligator in the Closet, WordSong, Boyds Mills Press

A poem that started above my office door

Hi everyone,

Here’s an oldie you may not have seen before. It’s about a spider. Sorry. Sometime in the 1990s, while I was working on the collection, THE ALLIGATOR IN MY CLOSET, I was at my desk at Glenstone Block Company when I observed a baby spider begin its life’s journey by leaping from the top of my office doorway into the unknown abyss below. Losing track of time, I stopped working to watch the long, dangerous (for the spider) event unfold as it’s tiny form played out its silken line and slowly, slowly made its way toward the floor. At any time someone walking in to see me about something would have spoiled the trip. In the wild, a quick-eyed bird or dragonfly might have made a snack of the little creature. The resulting poem was included in the book.

Baby Spider

Noiselessly the spider plunges,
like a diver off my door,
a tiny living dot that dangles
seven feet above the floor.

Bungee-jumping astronaut,
miniature member of its race,
letting out a silver cord,
works defenselessly in space.

Disappearing, reappearing,
lost in shadow, bathed in light,
slowly inches undetected,
patient in its daring flight.

The floor at last beneath its feet,
it ends the risky episode
and sets out on a new adventure,
down the carpet’s nappy road.

(c) 2003 David L. Harrison

Who knows the eventual fate of the young spider. Probably got crushed beneath someone’ shoe and perished unheralded. I like to think it somehow survived and made it out the door to freedom. Either way, it had its moment, its great adventure, risked everything for a chance to live a life, no matter how brief, of its own.

From Alligator in the Closet

Hi everyone,

Don’t worry, I’m not going to do this forever. But here’s another oldie goldie that turned up, this one from THE ALLIGATOR IN THE CLOSET, one of the titles that just went out of print.
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) David L. Harrison