Tickle Proof Sharks

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If I had fins, I could swim
as sharks do, with a ripple
of my muscled back,
eyes open, never sleeping.
I’d never brush my teeth,
I’d grow new ones.
I’d smell my brothers coming
and swim the other way.
Even if they caught up,
my diamond-tooth skin
would be tickle proof.
I wouldn’t have to walk
down dark hallways,
my way would be lit
by phosphorescent fish.
I’d never have to sleep
alone in my room
with only a bear.
I’d stay on the move,
snacking between meals
whenever I choose.
Mom busses my cheek
and tucks me in.
My mouth tastes minty.
Bing-Bong, my bear,
fits into my elbow,
just right.
Sharks can’t dream
if they never sleep.
I wonder what
I’ll dream tonight.
I’ll be a shark in the sea!
I’m glad I’m me.

Copyright 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: For all the people who long to be sharks, may you swim in dreamland tonight. This poem is also for the kids’ literature folks at Poetry Friday. Thanks to this week’s host, Catherine, a talented teacher and poet, at Reading to the Core. Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty published a wonderful collection of poetry about nothing, and she even included a poem of mine that doesn’t appear on this website. If you want to submit your poem about nothing, you can visit her site for details. She enters all participants and commenters to win an autographed book, too!

Poetry Friday with kids

Riddle Me

I fly, I glide,
my worries hide.
I rise, I dive,
I feel alive!
I eat, I sleep,
I scout the deep.

Who am I?
I’m not dry!

For 80 years
I’ve shed no tears.
I eat squid —
I would not kid.
I’m a turtle,
Yes, I’m Myrtle.

Myrtle the Turtle swimming, flapper flying

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: I took this photo on a recent visit to the New England Aquarium. Myrtle is a Green Sea Turtle who’s lived at the aquarium since 1970. She’s about 80 years old and 500 pounds! In addition to squid, she eats lettuce and cabbage and is particularly fond of brussels sprouts. She can have mine!

The Moon and the Pooka

Zelda knew the shore was forbidden to her. She clomped through sand in her big brother’s boots. He’d be mad if he knew she’d borrowed them. She wanted to catch a wild pony. Her brother had a pony, and she didn’t. The pony dodged her, black withers gleaming. He kicked up his heels in the surf. She chased him, but he was too quick. She fell as he fled, tossing his head, mane flying.

Zelda somersaulted, and a current carried her to the deep. She sank past brain coral and seaweed. She struggled with the heavy boots that dragged her down toward spiky sea urchin. Light lay above her like a glass table, as if she’d hit her head on it and never breathe air again. She finally kicked off a boot, and stopped sinking. Her fingers bled from pulling at the remaining laces, pinking the water.

Her lungs ached, and part of her wanted to breathe so badly she was tempted to take water into her lungs. She blew out bubbles, and her panic rose with them. Then the moon swam past her, slow and solemn. He didn’t glance her way, but the second boot slipped free. She rose with the bubbles toward that window of light.

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Her head broke free, and she gulped air. She was far from shore. She swam until her arms felt like stone. Her legs were icy, and her teeth chattered. The pony returned to the shore, distant and dark as if fashioned of night sky. The surf flecked his mane with stars. He plunged into the sea.

Zelda weakened. A wave crashed over her, and she slipped under the glass table. The light receded. Then the smooth glass broke into shards of sky and ocean. The pony’s legs kicked above her. With her last strength, she reached for his streaming tail and held tight. When her feet touched sand, she stumbled behind the pony’s back to shore. She dropped to her knees and coughed up sea water.

“Foolish girl!” The pony spoke in a high, mocking voice. Its golden eyes rolled, glinting red at the edges. “Don’t chase the pooka, or you will find your way to the spirit world.”

Tears streamed from Zelda’s eyes, stinging with salt. Sighting a pooka was rare and dangerous. She wondered why he had saved her as she watched him race away. His hooves left no prints in the sand. She remembered the moon, swimming in the deep. And she realized she had lost her brother’s boots.

Copyright 2015 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: A pooka is a fae spirit of Irish mythology. Often it takes the shape of a dog, a bird, or a horse, and it can be dangerous or a portent of doom.

In-Between Weekend

West Dennis Beach sunset

Salty breezes lift away cares.
Color spills across the water,
Too intense for the sky to contain.
Horseshoe crabs dance a blurry ballet,
Twisting and turning in the gentle waves.
Seabirds swim quietly, at peace.
Twilight wanes, in-between day and night.
Summer is ending; school is about to begin.
In-between holds powerful magic.
Tomorrow seems far away,
Yesterday, a pleasant, hazy memory.
The right-now is a time of beauty.
Fleeting, but all the more precious for it.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: Happy Labor Day Weekend! This sunset was photographed on the West Dennis Beach, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Silvery Sea Foam

Silver Sea Foam

Wet sand between my toes,
My feet sink lower with each wave.
Toes wiggling, soon I’m ankle deep,
Losing my balance and entranced by
Silvery sea foam, cresting the waves and
Soaking my rolled up jeans.
I laugh with each cold shock.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Seabird Sentinel

Seagull, beach, pacific ocean, muir beach

Seabirds dip and dive,
Catching crabs and fish.
A seagull watches children play,
From his lonely perch on the sand.
He lives always in between,
On the edge between sea and land,
Soaring far above them both,
Never joining in the games.
His hoarse caw echoes
Past the dry curls of seaweed,
Mingling with the salty air.
Sometimes, on the inside,
Each of us is like that seabird,
Watching others play,
Outside, on the edge of other things.
And yet, what would the sea be
Without the seabird, standing watch?
Each of us is needed, ever part and apart.

Note: I dedicate this post of all those affected by the two lost Malaysian airplanes, one found (MH17) and one not (MH 370). My heart goes out to the victims and their families. We are all needed, and their loss is our loss.

Cairn for the Sea

Cairn, Ocean, Beach

What offering can we leave the sea?
It has no need of you or me.
The moon can draw forth the waves,
but you and I are but slaves.

Inner anxieties diminish and worries
Lessen in the ocean’s furies.
Peaceful watching the water’s play
Is how I would spend my day.

And yet some sign of thanks are needed
For the peace and joy received.
One of us begins to stack a tall cairn of stone,
With each large rock lifted, a groan.

Each helps and with our effort, fixed on creating beauty
We fulfill our remaining duty,
To show our appreciation for this untamed land
Which gives peace and makes lives grand.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: I dedicate this post to the Artists for Peace, who are trying to make the world more peaceful, one beautiful piece of art at a time. We need more art, more peace, and less war and violence. The first link will lead you to their page of topics, the one for this August being friendship. I chose a topic of thankfulness, because I am thankful for our earth, and I wish to be its friend. I would like to spread a love for our earth’s wild places. If you click on the Artists 4 Peace logo, it will take you to their home page.

Artists 4 Peace

White Butterfly Dream

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The white butterfly raises her wings,
Setting sail across the wide Dogwood Sea.
Wind makes the crossing choppy,
White wings jibe and come about,
Alighting nowhere, like a fae albatross.
The cabbage-white butterfly blends —
She could be a dogwood petal
But for her mesmerizing aerial dance.
One tiny egg laid on the underside of a mustard leaf,
Gave birth to her brief but ecstatic life.
Her tiny white wing-sails make of the air an endless ocean.
Oh, to dance with her on the white breakers,
Smelling sweetly of spring rather than salt
With nectar’s spray dampening my skin.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham