Long Laughs

Bark ruffled into a grin

Smiling trees, hiking, campsite, bonfire.
Night falls with a cold shower of tasks,
cooking, place setting, finding, cleaning,
while fireflies flicker in darkening trees.

Loved family become strangers in
flickering light, distant and new.
Their long laughs are the music
that lifts my spirits high, chords that

rock me like a baby, elevate me
like a girl in a crow’s nest, spotting land,
a shore with a thousand sheets of fluting
laughter and dry droplets of pine resin.

Copyright 2017 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: Have you been camping? We used to camp most summers. I remember laughter in the dark, unrolling over lakes.

My words were inspired by these pieces of poetry:

Their long laughs are boats they will ride and ride,
making the shadows that cross each other’s smiles.

— by Naomi Shihab Nye, from the poem, Steps, published in 19 Varieties of Gazelle, Poems of the Middle East, Greenwillow Books, 2005.

A lone boat, a sliver of moon facing the maple woods —
A wanderer’s heart is entrusted to his flute.
Mountain views merge with thousand sheets of rain,
And the last chord fades as our tears fall.

— by Wang Ch’ang-ling, Translated by Joseph J. Lee, Listening to a Wanderer’s “Water Melody” found in Call Down the Moon: Poems of Music, selected by Myra Cohn Livingston, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1995.

Happy Poetry Friday!

Poetry Friday with kids

Triple thanks to Michelle Heidenrich Barnes this week!! Not only is she hosting Poetry Friday at Today’s Little Ditty, but she also featured a poem of mine a few days ago — too many happy accolades (fanning myself). And lastly, in a give-away on her site, I won a copy of Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis by Jeannine Atkins! I started Stone Mirrors, and it is an addictive novel-in-verse about a fascinating woman who leaves everything behind, more than once. So much to be thankful for, my little heart is full! Thanks, Michelle!

59 thoughts on “Long Laughs

  1. Good Evening! I am unwinding from a long, long week and busy day. And, I love camping! I don’t mind the dirt or the outside living. My favorite job is finding the kindling for campfires. I can spend hours picking up itty bitty sticks, making sure we have enough for starting the bonfire….and again for early coffee before anyone else is up. I am a fire tender, I supposed.
    Those long laughs. Oh, they ARE boats aren’t they?! I love how you have made them into something new but familiar in your piece.
    Great new photo at the top of your blog. Thinking of spring?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Linda, glad you are unwinding. I’ve been working on my novel. 🙂 Camping is so fun. Sleeping outside. Seeing the stars. Waking at dawn. My favorite task was finding plates for dessert. 🙂 And putting more wood on the fire.


  2. We sure did camp when our kids were little. A tent trailer was wonderful, but still lots of work, so these lines:

    “Night falls with a cold shower of tasks,
    cooking, place setting, finding, cleaning,”

    resonated with me. But the lovely sounds, smells, tastes and memories certainly made all the work worthwhile.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this, Brenda, and yes, I’ve camped a lot, early as a child, with my husband, then with the kids, and tons with students. I love the part about family becoming strangers in the dark, exactly right, and this “Night falls with a cold shower of tasks”. Yes, I remember teeth chattering while washing dishes by firelight, waiting waiting for the sleeping bag. Thanks for the memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I grew up camping each and every summer – we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but we could always throw a tent in the car and head out to a provincial park campground! As I got a bit older I started to wish I could have the exotic and glamorous holidays my classmates had, flying out to Disneyland, taking cruises and touring Europe. But looking back, I’m so glad I had those outdoor experiences, learning to appreciate and explore nature, to entertain myself, and to make the best of any situation!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the idea of long laughs, for some reason that made me feel nostalgic. Your poem reminded me of times I sat around with people i enjoy talking to and having those long laughs. Lovely poem Brenda, thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t know it’s Poetry Friday! (It’s really Thursday here, but it’s coming!) Maybe I should post a poem too! Yours is super! I love camping. First with my kids, now with my grandkids.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.