Selected Photos, Art, and Poetry: Flights of Fancy

by Julia Campbell

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    For the next eight pages, we present the soaring talents of some of our contest winners. Our judges caught wind of what these artists, photographers, and writers were trying to communicate, and their talents definitely showed through. See if what they have produced doesn’t cause your own creativity to take off.

    [photo] Contemplating Solitude by Joseph A. Ehat

    Where I’m From …

    I’m from the rough bark and tight
    purple-red skin of cherries
    in the summer. I’m from mud pies
    baking on a hot aluminum slide
    and crisp green beans.
    I’m from the highest peaks, the
    whispering aspens,
    the trees with purple leaves, and
    cracks in the sidewalk
    that makes a continuing ssswump
    sound when my bicycle goes over them.
    I’m from the mud at the bottom of
    puddles that stay all summer,
    the smell of horses, and
    brushing their sleek
    bodies. I’m from a house
    made of piles of crunchy brown leaves.
    I’m from the knothole in the fence
    where I could watch
    other children playing, and the five-
    foot-high tire that finally
    brought them to me. I’m from huge
    snowballs rolled by 20 children at
    once.
    I’m from shady spots where I played
    dentist, pulling out the rocks I
    thought were the earth’s loose teeth,
    and uniforms of plaid jumpers,
    white shirts, and brown, black, or
    navy blue shoes.
    I’m from dandelions wrapped in soggy
    paper towels, and Strawberry Short
    Cake tennis shoes with Velcro laces.
    I’m from bedtime stories of Pink
    Nose, Orange Toes, and Freddy Fire
    Engine told around a night-light.
    I’m from the walk-in refrigerator that
    keeps apples fresh. I’m from
    backing a boy into a corner in kindergarten,
    with every intention of
    kissing him, because he owned the
    most beautiful boa constrictor I’d
    ever seen.
    I’m from crying in my closet, because
    no one loved me,
    and from feeling so happy I couldn’t
    even laugh. I’m from the smell
    of warm pine, rain, and mothballs.
    I’m from the satin feeling of toe shoes,
    and the squishiness of blisters.
    I’m from the sight of light and oil
    that make dead rainbows in parking
    lots,
    and from sunsets, and weeds growing
    through cement.
    I’m from the silence of snowfalls and
    the crack of thunder. I’m from
    savoring
    ripe peaches, and macaroni and
    cheese, and parsley, and chives,
    and
    God.

    Two Haiku

    Masterful writing
    Of haiku ability
    Has vanished from me.
    I can’t write haiku.
    I always end up with just
    Too many syllables.

    Poem for Day Number 7,029

    The crisping wind
    Tangles my blonding hair
    And blows the breeze
    To an almost uncomfortable chill.
    The Sun is a recluse—
    Invisibly hiding,
    Watching,
    From some unknown specter
    Or behind another
    Wind-whipped cloud.
    The greened-over world
    Tips a gentle smile
    At our walking ways
    And the blue of your eyes
    Increases to coordinate
    With nature’s color scheme.

    Mother

    If I could pull from you
    the child you were,
    I would rock her gently in my arms,
    and hold her hand
    until it stops shaking.
    I would sing soporific lullabies,
    leave the light on
    all night,
    and whisper, “I love you,”
    before I close the door.
    She would not sleep
    in a dark corner that reeks of booze
    and sweat, or wince
    at every sound.
    I would send her to school
    in a brand-new dress
    and shiny Mary-Janes,
    so her classmates wouldn’t snicker
    or exclude her from their games
    of hopscotch and tag.
    She wouldn’t have to wear
    long-sleeved sweaters, in the summer,
    to hide the bruises from home.
    I would make sure
    she was happy and knew love;
    then I would lay her in your arms,
    Mother,
    and we would watch her sleep
    peacefully.

    [photo] Inspired Majesty by Joseph A. Ehat

    [photo] Book of Mormon Chessboard by Lendy C. Perez

    [illustration] Deborah by Lendy C. Perez

    [illustration] Aztec Version of a Great Nation by Lendy Perez

    Purling Lessons

    When thinking of summer
    My mind greets the cracked, hot earth
    Like my grandmother’s hands,
    Slipping two lightning-blue needles
    Into my clammy white palms.
    Her worn, yellowed fingers
    Slowly molded my hands
    Around the soft yarn,
    Weaving twilight knots
    That vanished when I was alone.
    She brought out her basket,
    A cloud of intricate designs
    Whispering a woodwind voice in my ear:
    “This one is for your family next Christmas.”
    Her hands held a thin cobweb of cloth
    Fluid and familiar as rich brown milk.
    “Don’t tell them about it; it’s a surprise.”
    I kept the secret (maybe too well);
    Time wears hard on such things
    After cocooning within it by firelight,
    Finding a handy tent within its folds
    Or mashing it together for a pillow;
    Time can surely wear hard—
    But I remember, Grandmother.
    It rests on my bed now;
    The fringe is no longer a feathered mist;
    Its pattern waltzes madly about,
    But I remember—
    I remember needles dancing,
    Reflecting the suns of summers past,
    The bright sharp shards of memory,
    And two gnarled hands
    Creating beauty, like magic, from nothing.

    New and Used

    When I peeled away the plastic,
    The cover was smooth and clean.
    The pages were crisp, like an apple,
    And the gilded edges gleamed.
    The binding crackled as
    I opened the pages;
    The first breath of a babe,
    Waking up from the ages.
    The magnificent tome was unblemished.
    And wouldn’t be useful till tarnished.
    Years later,
    The cover was battered,
    And within it,
    The pages were tattered.
    Any one leaf
    Would meet your gaze
    With a flood of colors
    Like the map to a maze.
    Each little nugget
    I’d found in my quest,
    Had been marked and noted,
    Then put to the test.
    This book had a price, years ago.
    Its value now? You cannot know.

    [illustration] Tiger Eye by Jenny Curtis

    [illustration] Tusks by Jenny Curtis

    [illustration] Behind Bars by Jenny Curtis

    [photo] Redwood and Leaves by James B. Comstock

    The Anonymous Carol

    The author’s name
    Lost in time,
    The carol shines
    Without it.
    But words and tune
    Bear witness
    Of his love for
    This timeless praise,
    Sung for years,
    Brings no praise to
    Its writer.
    But if Christlike
    Minds write such
    Hymns, perhaps he
    Prefers to
    Remain nameless.

    Memory #2079

    Days when air conditioning escaped
    our lint-lined pockets, I ride
    a dusty Datsun with Dad,
    arm wrestle the wind. I lose
    when I want to, an arm frozen
    in motion, gripping teeth and white
    knuckles pushing to a rear-
    view mirror. A hand wrapping
    my thigh scares me into
    letting go; I lose our war
    this day, meeting him here
    tomorrow, to scream at clouds,
    to high-five my barrier,
    to play.

    [illustration] House in Watercolor by Nachelle L. Stucki

    [photo] Ancient Stairway by Matthew T. Cook

    [photo] Granite and Water by James B. Comstock

    Gravity

    Earth’s gravity pulls my body
    to the brittle ground,
    twisting weak ankles and scarred feet.
    Struggling beyond limits
    my joints tire, until they
    refuse to hold me upright.
    I rest and read of Him
    who healed the lame, let the blind
    see the sun.
    My body yearns for the day
    when He will carry me
    on eagle’s wings.
    I will be in His arms and He will
    lift me far from
    the grasp of gravity.

    Excitement

    Excitement
    Is a firework,
    Climbing invisibly into the night sky,
    Then bursting into a collage of color,
    Whistling and shouting in frivolity,
    Sparkling brilliantly as it falls,
    Dying with the dazzle of a show-
    stopping finale.

    [photos] Kites by Shauna Mooney Kawasaki. Photography by John Luke.