Selected Photos, Art, and Poetry: Sparkling Images

by Heather Green

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    On the following pages, you will see some shining examples of poetry, art, and photography. After hours and hours of work and effort, our artists have brought beauty to light. Who knows? These pieces may just light a fire under you to start working on some talents of your own.

    Shades of Seventeen

    Lift me up—gently, smoothly—
    into the ageless branches of the maple
    and let me sit in the crook
    of a minute so that for a time
    I might again be seventeen—
    barefoot—
    peering through the leaves as an
    afterthought of what might be beneath.
    Bare headed—
    strings of sun slipping through the dark;
    shadows dancing on the bark, on my skin.
    Empty headed—
    the summer as absolute and eternal
    as the security of home.
    Lift me up—gently, smoothly—
    tell me that I can fly, that Mondays
    are a volley of windy April days,
    of peaches, and infinite sky dripping blue.
    Help me down—gently, smoothly—
    walk with me, and let me remind you
    what it means to be
    barefoot and seventeen.

    Hidden Canyons

    Three days after,
    there is only a thought of it left,
    but I cannot divorce it—
    the narrow canyons press in,
    push forward, climb higher.
    Always look up,
    never wonder if we might
    have to move back—
    retreat, submit
    to the cliffs that grow taller
    with each telling,
    each passing exaggerating
    the deep pools of spring water.
    Squeeze through caves,
    feel the way along shallow
    grooves of sandstone
    to ropes of light,
    to the surface, to air.
    It is like drowning—
    drowning in too much sky,
    too little room,
    and too many possibilities.

    [photo] Skunk Cabbage Detail by Eric Swenson

    [photo] Korean Woman by Eric Swenson

    [illustration] Tulips by Sarah Richards

    Africa

    All my songs of sorrow become nursery rhymes,
    and my previous sufferings
    fond memories;
    In this place where the fearful dare not dwell,
    the fields of green draw in eternity
    and the eye of the jungle’s edge
    penetrates the soul of oblivious passersby.
    The moon drapes a silvery cloak ’round my shoulders,
    holds a lantern before my feet.
    Having judged the intents of my heart,
    palm trees nod with a rustle
    and grant me passage.
    I spoke with God as a lion lay at my feet:
    “You will love this land and
    it will love you back
    so that your cup shall overflow.”
    And I do love this land, this Africa.

    —Dedicated to the Abidjan Ivory Coast Mission

    [illustration] Spring Blooms by Sarah Richards

    [photo] Sculpture Dancing Angel by Jennifer Harmon

    To That Man

    Sneaking into his room when he was gone
    And opening up the cardboard box
    and suit-and-tie closet
    Was what I used to do
    When I was small.
    I would stare at all the shoes.
    There were so many of them,
    All lined up,
    Black and mahogany and sneakers.
    The worn-out workshoes
    With no tread on the bottom,
    Instead, sanded flat by the gravel
    and pavement,
    And the shiny ones
    (That he called wing tips)
    Polished and proud next to
    The ones with dried mud, car grease,
    and dingy dirty laces.
    I would put my feet in them,
    One pair after another,
    Clomp around the room,
    And put them back carefully
    So that he wouldn’t notice.
    And daydream of being him
    And filling them.

    [photo] Horizon by Eric Swenson

    Winter Crumbled

    A slouching rail fence smothers
    in winter-sown snow.
    It won’t stop the prickly patches of grass
    creeping in like a wave of green fire
    as winter softly decays.
    Rasping winds don’t stop
    the sagging orchards.
    They become forever young once again
    with a pastel of fruits
    as winter’s crystalled veil is lifted.
    The surf’s song will
    begin in the building
    of amber streams and freckled water
    as winter is silently scooped
    from the earth.
    Darkness like a shadowed vulture
    can’t cloak a lamenting sun.
    She will finally come from mourning to wake
    from his azure slumber, the moon.
    She shall pin the sky with a star
    as winter is doomed to die.
    All the impassable lands and the icy sky
    now swim in amethyst.
    Through the pulsing silence and lurking lights
    you might hear
    the edge of winter crumble.

    Immortality

    Death casts a shadow
    only because there
    is light behind
    him.

    [photo] Eternal Flow by Patrick Douglas

    [photo] Sculpture Balancing by Jennifer Harmon

    [photo] Butterfly by Patrick Douglas

    Sunset

    As a little girl
    I watched for that hour
    When sun and soil
    Met to kiss good night.
    Atop our fence
    The view was unblemished
    By tree or chimney.
    I perched many evenings
    Hugging my knees in delight,
    Resplendent radiance
    Reflected in my dazzled eyes,
    Always envying the sky
    For its new evening gown.
    Sometimes I still watch.
    Tonight it was violet
    with crimson lace.

    [photo] Mystery by Annie Alexander

    Wind

    In exhilaration I raise my face
    to the heavens,
    To feel the wind
    gushing against my cheeks.
    I spread my arms and close my eyes,
    Willing the wind to carry me off.
    It whips my hair across my face,
    mocking my restrained life
    While it is boisterous and free.
    Running in circles, I play its game,
    Allowing it to laugh at me.
    But I laugh back,
    A carefree laugh
    I haven’t heard for a while.
    The wind has given me
    a fraction of its magic,
    To give me a taste
    of true freedom.
    It is enough.

    [illustration] Apples by Aaron Schreiber

    [illustration] Golden Frogs by Aaron Schreiber

    Quiet Excitement

    Greeting the invisible wall
    of wind with my face, I squint
    and search with a spirit
    that detects people waiting
    to make commitments. My heart
    thumps to break free, running
    from house to house, leaping,
    shouting to those with ears to hear
    this gospel that makes me happy.
    I continue to smile
    at a man who stops slicing
    his tree to talk English to me,
    trying to quiet the Spirit
    boiling my adrenaline, watching
    my companion rattle off Tagalog,
    marveling at his height.

    [photo] Which Way Is Up? by Annie Alexander