A Book by the Brook — William Carlos Williams

Finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

— William Shakespeare

A Book by the Brook: Book Reviews at FriendlyFairyTales.com

So much depends on the poetry of William Carlos Williams. Without his poetry, how many American poets would still use the formal language of Whitman? Continue reading

Sunshine Captured

Yellow Japanese Irises

Sunshine potent,
Life-giving and pure.
Sunshine blooming
At our feet to cure
Any lingering blues
And let us endure.


Note: Thanks to those who offered solace to me! Once I healed up a bit, the shot in my shoulder has helped, and I’ve regained some range of motion. I’m blessed to again see the beauty in the small things, the free things, the things I walk by everyday. May the sun shine, even at your feet on rainy days.

A Moment to Shine

Purple Iris

Troubles drop away,
Luck comes our way,
That’s our moment.
Everything turns out fine.
It’s our moment to shine.
Trouble may make us blue,
But that fades to dark
When we feel the spark.

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: I’ve had bad years, with rare good moments. And good years with few bad moments. My heart holds onto the good times. I hope yours does, too. This poem was inspired by my latest rejection letter, which was not a shining moment, but another opportunity. Every door that remains shut helps us find the right door.

Bright White Hope

White Iris

A favorite flower, an offering for hope, for joy…

Go USA!! I’ll be watching the World Cup this evening!
No offense to the Portugese, who have a beautiful country that I long to visit, but my fingers are crossed for the USA!!!

Edit — Argh!! Robbed of a win in the extra time. Why 5 minutes of extra time?!

Iris Blooms Haibun

Pink Iris in Bloom


The sun is blinding hot today, a taste of summer to come in four weeks. In a previous post, Visitor in the Temple Haibun, I wrote about irises that came in the soil of my house. For years they sent up green leaves, but never did they bloom except once.

Two years ago, I moved them from their spot beside the wild forsythia. An iris grows from a fat root that sits shallowly in the soil. Planted too deep, it will never bloom. Once transported, irises can take years to acclimate and rebloom. But taken care of, the root will outlive us all.

patient, enduring
hibernating deeply
blooming when ready

This morning, those iris roots, probably older than me but certainly older than all my children, have bloomed again. Last winter’s severe cold must have given them a taste for summer’s heat.  Across the street, my neighbor’s irises also greet the sunshine, proudly and without shyness.

elegant beards drape
velvet walkways invites bees
tomorrow’s blooms wait

Note: This post is dedicated to those who persevere, who ride out the hard times, make homes wherever they are transplanted, and then bloom when the moment is right. You know who you are. 🙂

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note on photographs: The above picture is of the irises that have finally bloomed for me. These below are those from across the street, neighboring monarchs.

Orange Iris blooming Pink Iris blooming

Visitor in the Temple Haībun

The February sunshine steeps your boughs
and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.
The groves were God’s first temples.

— William C. Bryant


Daily on my walks, I see miracles of beauty, hidden places that driving would never reveal. The slower I walk, with more deliberation and care, with time to look around, the more my soul lifts with the beauty casually offered to my eyes. Some combinations of shrub and tree were created with careful selection, pruning, fertilizing and skill beyond mine. I am the worshipper, visiting briefly in temples built by others.

Even my own garden has treasures I received, simply by deciding to dwell here. Some irises were planted by a previous owner. I thought they would be purple, and each year I waited for them to bloom. Their leaves never embraced a flower stem except once, overshadowed as they had become by the vigorous forsythia planted too close. One fall, I pruned back the forsythia. That next spring, the forsythia did not bloom, but the iris did: delicate and pale pink, with a creamy white interior.

not purple, unexpected
the pink of my son’s rosy cheeks
bearded iris bloomed

My neighbor, Terry, came down the driveway, waving, and calling to me. She told me she was delighted to see Reed’s irises in bloom after so many years. She asked for one, and I freely gave it. She told me about the woman who had planted them. Reed had developed brain cancer and was gone in a few months. The neighbors had come together to make the family meals while she enjoyed her last days, looking out on her garden. One neighbor came to play harp for her in the evenings. Now her garden is my garden, and her irises are in my care.

Last year, I moved all those irises away from the forsythia and into the sun. My neighbor, Terry, came by again: her iris had not survived. I told her I would give her another one day, once they had recovered from transplanting. One spring soon, I hope to see that pale pink flower again. I will care for them here, in my outdoor temple. As I tend the memories of my own mother.

mourning in shade
thick green bud rises in the sun
time to bloom again

Added by request, an old iris painting of mine, purple like the ones I carried at my wedding:

Purple Iris Painting

Iris 1 Painting by Brenda Davis Harsham

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Inspired by the Līgo Haībun Challenge Prompt: Temple.