Ode to Photography

present and past.
Frozen moments,
remembered and forgotten.
ordinary and extraordinary.

Photographic power
reveals in light and dark
what my mother looked like as
a young girl,
or my father as
he welcomed me to the world,
or myself
as I smiled between
brother and sister
whose faces are only visible
in black and white now.

Lost faces, missed warmth, people
linger in shades, lines, and shapes,
like hieroglyphics of the past.

Copyright 2020 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: For World Photography Day today, I offer this ode, in gratitude for how concrete my memories are, of times past.

Heaven in a Wild Flower


This cold, blustery day, I dream
into being another spring day.
This one is mountain-flavored,
nearer to heaven than the sea,
far away from here, far from me.
A mountain meadow blooms
as far as my eye can see:
pink heads nod their approval,
as if they like what they see.
I’m atilt, upright on this slope,
keeping my feet, holding out hope.
Pollen coats my skin in gold dust
and I run as lightly as a wind gust.
I lift my arms to the sky,
I’m not a gazelle, but I can fly!
l reach the dim of the tree line,
and each leaf sings harmony with me.
Part of me dwells there, in that perfect hour
when spring is eternal: sweet, soft air and
cool breezes. Infinite beauty. Birds sing,
deer graze and rabbits nod to the grass.
The scent of wildflowers is heaven.
Heaven is in our memories.

Note: The title is from a quatrain that has been niggling at the corners of my attention all week. I decided to embrace it, celebrate it. This is the first of two posts about it. Do you know it already? It’s this one:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.” 

William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

In Defense of Art

Rabbit in Rain, by bench

Some people see nature
and have to make art.
Sculpt, paint, illustrate,
immortalize and why?
To revisit that moment
to freeze it, never leave it.
We tinker, change
renew, remake, even fake.
If only time were a centrifuge,
spinning inward the best parts,
the sweetest, fleeting moments,
all together in the center
in one memory maelstrom
of magical moments.
The longest hug, the first kiss,
a safe landing from the scariest ride,
getting your first job,
the moment you finished a book that changed your life,
the scents of coffee, chocolate, pastries and tea
intertwined in your favorite cafe,
finishing your best work ever,
the night you laughed so hard you cried,
getting a parking space beside the door when you’re crazy late,
the number of stars visible on the darkest night,
and when you finally gave birth in an agony of warm liquid
only to have those new, moist eyes transfix you.
We could live there at the center
if we could fix to our walls the art of each moment.
Isn’t it worth trying?

Stone rabbit in rain

Note: We found the first rabbit, huddled in the rain, when we visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The poor thing seemed to roll his eyes at us, as if our taking a picture of him while he was cold and wet was the final indignity of a long, hungry day. We found the second rabbit in a garden. I was struck by how someone had seen the crack in him, and had just tucked a scarlet dahlia behind his ear. My children were young enough to wonder why we were at a Museum at all. I told them we were there to see art, and they looked at me blankly. I told them we were looking for secret doors and hidden rooms. Everywhere we went, we looked at the angle of things and speculated which painting might conceal a secret passage. These photographs remind me of that day. Let’s remember only good things, at least today. Maybe we can even take one of them and make it into art. Have a magical day! Warmly, Brenda

Raspberry August

raspberry bush and pint

dusty driveway
carts with awnings
rainbow of vegetables
and fruit —
pick your own —
rows of green brambles
leaning on string
spiderwebs glinting
lemony scent of crushed clover
delicate red berries
hidden under leaves
stems sagging low
ruby juice on fingertips
eaten on vanilla bean ice cream
long for more
I miss you


Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Thanks to Andy, I’m adding a link to Daily Post — Happy Place. Serendipity is sweet as berries. I’m also adding a link to Poetry Friday, this week hosted by the lovely and talented Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at the Poem Farm.

Poetry Friday with kids

Flower for a Friend

Rose of Sharon

Friends are like flowers.
They bloom, and they inspire.
They make the world beautiful.
We never forget.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: I dedicate this post to the memory of Ajaytao. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He was a bright light in our world, and his spirit continues to brighten our memories. He was a good friend to me, welcoming me here, and I will miss him. I feel blessed to have shared the world with him. Namaste, Brenda

Rose Petal Path


Another might have taken the path less traveled,
I walked the path strewn with rose petals.
Perhaps the roses faded, and the petals blew away,
But each step crushed the scent into my fiber.
That day has made all the difference to my life.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

References: The path referenced in the first line is from a famous poem I will reprint here, courtesy of The Poetry Foundation, with my own yellow wood.

Note: The poem is dedicated to my hubby, a fine man in every way. I’m also posting it in honor of my hubby’s friend who is marrying tomorrow.

Golden Woodland Path, autumn, fall, tree

The Road Not Taken


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Bottomless Treasure Haibun


My memory is a bottomless treasure trove, full of beloved moments. Photographs are the jewels, the pieces of eight, the doubloons. One day in early summer, we visited the Bronx Zoo, and my children were enchanted with the animals. We rode the Wild Asia Monorail, and heard about deer and buffalo species protected from extinction. Some of the animals were extinct in their natural habitat and were reintroduced to the wild from the Zoo’s protected herds, which had thrived in a large enclosure for over a hundred years.

Zebras, giraffes, deer,
Species preserved from the past,
My children held rapt.

Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: This was prepared for this week’s Ligo Haibun prompt, treasure.

Dragonfly Dances in Three Haiku


Dragonfly dances;
Rainbow wings, shining, flashing,
Magic spins aloft.

Last will come winter
Leaving shadows, memories
Of summer soaring.

Never forgotten
Is the dance of the fairy
In glen, fen and den.

Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham