Selected Photography, Art, and Poetry Winners: Windows of Light

by Laura Kay Worthington

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    A Thought

    The ideas flee across my mind
    Like the shadow of a lone hawk,
    As a windless dusk,
    Sweeps the desert floor.

    [photo] Best Photo by Rachel Rawlins

    Pressed to the Ground

    Pressed to the ground like the
    wild grass in the pasture
    when blown down by the wind,
    I lie amid my tears.
    “Please, oh please, dear Father,”
    I cry from swollen throat,
    “It is too much for me,
    I yield my will to thee.”
    Pressed down by winds of strife
    I lie, and yet stand my
    tallest as I bow.

    Gossip

    Backyard gossip
    whispers across a fence—
    ladies resting
    while raking dead,
    brittle leaves.
    Breezes of murmurings
    whisk dandelion puffs
    from their stems,
    planting seeds
    along their path.
    Syllables without voice
    blow from lips
    like ashes shot from the fire,
    scattering in the wind
    they cannot be
    gathered up.

    [photo] Photo by Lynn Howlett

    [illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

    [photo] Photo by Ned James

    Music

    The low,
    sweet sound
    was barely audible.
    The vibrating strings,
    like a cat’s whiskers,
    seemed to quiver with
    anticipation.
    The bow,
    with long, delicate strokes,
    seemed to glide over the strings.
    Softly,
    the music ended:
    the violin concert was over.

    Gathering Apples

    Holding to the last shreds of sleep
    I hugged the top mast and searched for whales,
    while diving seagulls, white wedges of light,
    rocked the air. Then the snap of wet sails
    gave way to the ring of my mother’s voice
    and I awoke. My room was gray,
    the open window breathing September mist,
    and my blue oceaned dreams lay
    irretrievable behind my eyes.
    Above me, in the kitchen, I could hear
    stockinged feet sliding on wood,
    the whistle of steam, the scrape of a chair.
    I found Mother at the sink peeling
    apples, the thin skin of a Jonathan
    sliding away from the blade
    in a sliver as red as morning sun.
    “I need more apples,” Mother said,
    pushing back her hair and laying
    the peeled globe in a bowl. Barefoot,
    I went out the back, across the porch, hurrying
    into the mist. The orchard stood
    to the east of the house: two Golden
    Delicious trees, a gnarled Roman,
    a stunted Winesap, and the Jonathan
    whose longest branches brushed kitchen glass
    when the wind blew. I climbed until
    my ninety-three pounds nearly buckled
    young branches. Far below, the window sill
    held daisies spotted gold with kitchen light.
    Everything else was mist—the hills
    were distant swells, the barn a floating crag,
    the crows winging from the windmill’s
    tower were like gulls lifting from a sail.
    And in the north field, I saw a school
    of sea lambs floating through haze,
    heads erect, their ghost faces a warm pool
    of white. I hugged the tree-mast tighter
    against the breeze, while my mother,
    shimmery through glass, like a misty
    figure head, pointed to an unseen shore.

    [photo] Photo by Cheri A. Brooks

    [photo] Photo by Lisa Metcalf

    [illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

    [photo] Photo by Andy Zmolek

    [illustration] Illustrated by Rachel Adams

    [photo] Photo by Andy Zmolek

    Summer

    Summer is a lime-green rivulet of sno-cone
    running down your arm.
    It is hay in your hair,
    and rocks
    in your bicycle tires.
    Summer settles down
    on you
    in carotene red and
    rusted pink
    of a sunset in July,
    and scurries off to the
    flurry
    of orphan color on the sidewalk.

    [illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

    Falling Off a Log

    Glistening in the garage
    A dream of months
    Come true.
    Son, bursting with pride,
    Soon to be one
    Of the big kids.
    “It’s easy!”
    They claim
    As he shakily mounts
    His two-wheeled stallion.
    Wobbling, in spite of feet
    Still planted
    On cement.
    Easing first one
    Then two
    Up, to stiff pedals.
    A moment
    Of flight
    Gliding ecstatically
    Faster! Faster!
    Crash! Skid.
    Elbows smart, knees sting,
    Eyes fill
    with melted pride.
    The stallion is led, limping
    To its stall.
    He’ll grow up …
    Tomorrow.

    Midnight Swim

    Underneath a quilted heaven
    I float in a pool of liquid sky;
    The patches of stars above me glitter
    And laugh at me as time goes by.
    The heaven’s light is softly mirrored
    By sparks that magically arise,
    And it seems I am surrounded
    By underwater fireflies.
    The horizon dimly lies before me—
    The night is velvet to the touch—
    And I, in such a harmless darkness,
    Am grateful to live and feel so much.

    [photo] Photo by Lisa Downs

    [illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

    Sunset at 6:51

    I lie on the beach
    and watch the sun
    trickle into finger paintings
    of purple crayon grease.
    Closing my eyes,
    I listen
    to this yellow orb
    melt chocolate
    and blow ginger.
    Vacant air tastes like
    warm lemonade
    as it fills my open mouth
    seeping between my teeth,
    tickling my stomach.
    My fingertips
    dip into invisible swirls
    of dyed tapioca pudding.
    Fingers slide over the sky;
    I sign my name in
    daylight’s heaven.
    My signature
    dissolves into sunset.

    [illustration] Illustration by Lynell Barrett

    Buffalo

    In a fenced field outside of Price
    I saw my first buffalo.
    Horned, humped, and shaggy warm,
    he sat in the snow, his legs curled under like a lamb’s.
    He turned his bearded head
    and watched through wire as I passed,
    his slow eyes following me
    from post to post.
    I saw something of the aged scholar in that face,
    of one who had dredged up the past
    from reading too many books—
    he looked tired.
    Where was the snorting, pawing, two-ton beast
    I knew from spaghetti westerns?
    I yelled, but he didn’t explode
    into hoof and horn and frenzied eye—
    he didn’t even blink.
    Then a rancher chugged up on his tractor to unload fodder.
    My buffalo friend lumbered up,
    and on lank legs, trotted
    to where six spotted jerseys mooed for hay.
    I left him munching with the cows
    and walked up the road alone,
    saddened at fenced prairies and broken buffalo,
    saddened at having followed my own mediocre crowd.

    [photo] Photo by Katherine Gossett

    [photo] Photo by Tracy Jones

    [photo] Photo by Ned James

    [illustration] Illustrated by Chris Diener

    [photo] Photo by Katherine Gossett

    Winter Shade

    City skyline in a winter-gray wash
    Tree shadows of old-age brown
    compose a languid commentary
    about the season’s stay.
    Cold is not a stranger here—
    only an unwelcome guest
    who moved in quite long ago
    and eagerly unpacked.
    The one-thing-to-another of day-after-day life
    goes on.
    People in heavy little “putt-putt” cars
    swim as lentils
    in the bottom of a soup bowl
    left to sit too long.
    But somewhere,
    just behind a curling corner
    of watercolor gray,
    a wind waits impatiently
    to blow the winter page away.

    [photo] Photo by Stacy Holiday

    [photo] Photo by Lynn Howlett

    Quotes from Haggai

    He was a large man,
    Even behind the pulpit.
    And he struggled with his notes as he spoke.
    He wasn’t dynamic,
    Or dashing,
    Or deft.
    It would take him awhile to get to his point.
    Once in trying to do so
    He recollected how his folks
    Had kind of a hard time of it
    During the Depression
    And he was left with his grandmother for a while then.
    But anyhow …
    He told us how he’d memorized the Lord’s Prayer
    And he’d always had it as a backup
    When he didn’t have words of his own.
    He continued.
    “Now how many of us has had
    Those same kind of feelings in life?”
    He mentioned his wife and the grandkids.
    As he was concluding he said
    He’d kind of like to quote Haggai here,
    “Now I come onto Haggai—
    And nobody quotes Haggai very much,
    He’s one of those little guys
    Who kind of gets forgotten in the middle here
    But I think he’s got something to say here.”
    And he read to us from Haggai chapter one.
    He soon concluded his talk,
    “So that’s something to think about.”