Selected Photos, Art, and Poetry: Sparkling Images

by Heather Green


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