Twenty Minutes at Horseneck Beach, Mass., poem by Brenda Davis Harsham (BEACH AND POOL MEMORIES Poetry and Prose Series)

Check out a picture of my daughter and a summer poem on Silver Birch Press! Such fun to write and lovely to see it published.

Silver Birch Press

harshamTwenty Minutes at Horseneck Beach, Massachusetts
by Brenda Davis Harsham

My daughter chants
Beach, beach, beach!
in her wobbling soprano.
Bluebell skies,
wavy-air heat, a
parking lot half-eaten
by sand dunes.
Stiff winds smell
salty-clamy-fishy.
We add our coconut
sunscreen scent.
My husband and I unload
one picnic blanket,
two beach chairs,
three pails,
four shovels,
one cooler,
one giant towel tote,
two beach umbrellas,
one beach cart,
one song-girl
and two grumbling boys,
looking slightly green
from wrong turns and
illegal U-turns when our
GPS failed us.
We push, shove, pull and carry
our gear past cars
pumping Brazilian rhythms
and weaving a
welter of languages,
Spanish, Hindi, Portugese,
French, American English,
Australian English, German,
Korean and your-guess.
15 minutes of donkey labor
over feet-sinking soft sand,
we reach the solid threshold
of packed damp sand.
Waves tease and retreat.
My daughter sinks her shovel
and beams as if…

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The Dragon and the Phoenix

Yangshao never knew what woke him from his thousand year sleep under the frozen taiga. His muscular, golden legs and long limber back snapped and creaked. His lungs filled with crisp, clean air, as he emerged from deep under the ice. Brilliant lights at the far horizon drew his sharp dragon eyes south. The night sky filled with swirling reds, yellows and oranges, and these colors reminded him of his best friend, Xin-Yin, the Phoenix. Brilliant blue star shapes expanded, filling the sky as the other colors faded.

Yangshao’s back rippled side to side like a snake as he flew up and over the larch and birch forest, his vertebrae cracking like saplings in an ice storm. His golden claws clenched and released, easing their stiffness, then reached up to itch between his horns. His whiskers trembled in the cold wind, and he started to feel alive, his senses filling with the forest fragrance. He brushed the tips of snow-laden spruce trees for the joy the showering powder gave him. He felt his magic renewed from his long years of slumber.

His senses expanded over the lands searching for Xin-Yin. Where was she? Continue reading

Back to the Beginning Haībun

Picture Used by kind permission of Ines Williamson

Picture used by kind permission of Ines Williamson

In the yellow light of a new night, the cobblestones echo my thoughts back to me. “Why are you here?” Here is where I started, in a small apartment past that iron gate. The first sunshine I ever remember seeing flooded into my tiny room there on the third floor.

My friends and I played stickball and tackle-tommy in the Magic Between. That special time between school and dinner is what I miss most, that magical time when parents were busy and kids could play. I remember the Between as one big blur, like an endless summer day: my homerun, Jack’s skinned knee and when Bats broke his arm swinging over the fence instead of walking through like everyone else.

I rang in the New Year with my folks in their new place across town, but this golden gateway is where the little-me, my memory, still lives. I remember when Stefan’s snake escaped, and Mrs. Nolan came screaming down her stairs, after finding it curled under her stove.

Is home on these cobbles? Or in the window glass I looked through on a night like tonight? My sister and I wished on a star. Wishes are secret, but mine was to fly in an airplane one day, to be inside one leaving a contrail wide enough to be seen all over the city, knowing people were looking up at the roar I made. Then my sister and I realized the only star in the sky was moving, not a star at all, probably an airplane. Do wishes made on planes come true? This one did.

I came back to my hometown on an airplane, home to see my folks, so happy in their new apartment, all their things reduced and rearranged. My sister is busy with her three kids and their teenage angst, but she came to see me and our parents. I don’t think she really saw me. We barely spoke. I couldn’t think what to say to her. I wonder what her wish was, all those years ago. I know better than to ask. Now a new airplane will take me home to Boston, my other home.

home is in my heart
not here on this cobbled street
but I hear its echo

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Inspired by the first Līgo Haībun Challenge of 2014, part of a picture prompt from Ese at Ese’s Voice.

‘Tis the Season Haībun

There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.
— Erma Bombeck

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When I was a child, I hated suspense, and all my energy went into solving mysteries quickly. I generally figured out who did what where in the game Clue, where the flag was in Stratego and what I was getting for Christmas. Continue reading

Crankypot Halloween

Friendly Fairy Tales is pleased to offer a Halloween story for Adventurous Fairy Tale readers, Crankypot Halloween. Here is an excerpt:

Through the house give glimmering light,
By the dead and drowsy fire;
Every elf and fairy sprite
Hop as light as bird from brier;
And this ditty, after me,
Sing, and dance it, trippingly.
First rehearse your song by rote,
To each word a warbling note:
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.

— William Shakespeare
(A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act V, Scene II)

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The gray-haired man sat tapping his fingers on his knee, without noticing tiny flickering lights under drooping dahlias, but he was aware of the darkening sky. He did not notice three raven nests in the tree across the street. A little girl followed the flickering lights, crying the whole way, closer and closer to where the man sat in the dark.

He heard her weeping by the gate, and shouted “Take your tricks elsewhere! No treats here!” He had been guarding his yard from the pitch-black of his porch for 25 years, not letting any trick-or-treaters through the gate, all lights off.

The crying got louder. “Go away, you can’t trick me!” He shouted again, unable to see anything with the sun sinking fast. He heard hiccups, then even louder wailing. He flipped the floodlights on, against his usual policy entirely. In the wash of yellow light, all the flickering twilight fairies hid, and the ravens called out, restless.

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He sighed and approached the gate for the first time in 25 years on Halloween. In the light from his floodlights, he saw a little girl with blonde curls stuck to her wet cheeks. Tears were rolling down from her eyes, and dangling on the strands of her hair like dew. The straps of her pink butterfly wings had slid off her shoulders, and she clutched a pillow case tightly in a fist. She looked just like his daughter, Ella Mae, all those years ago when he caught her sneaking out to trick-or-treat behind his back. He had yelled at Ella Mae, and now she lived on the opposite side of the country.

“What’s the matter, girl?” He asked gruffly.

 

 

To find out what happens, whether tricks or treats, please click on Crankpot Halloween.

Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham

Baby Coyote Scares Halloween

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Baby Coyote lived in a den with his mom and dad, deep in a wood surrounded by the roads and houses of big folk. Mom and Dad Coyote hunted at night. In the early morning, they woke Baby Coyote. They fed him, played with him and kept him safe. They usually slept away the long hours the big folk were walking the trails, but sometimes they would hide and watch them pass by. The big folk seemed to see nothing at all that was not on the trails. Baby Coyote thought they were funny, especially when they would exclaim over dragonflies or poison ivy.

One morning, his mom and dad had to go visit the faraway woods. On the sunshine oak next door, hidden in the nasturtiums behind a round door, lived a happy gnome. His name was Iron Hair, for his stiff, spiky gray hair. Continue reading