I'm a poet and writer living in the South Jersey shore area. I moved here from North Jersey in January of 2009 after the 2008 death of my husband William J. (Bill) Higginson, author of The Haiku Handbook, to be closer to my daughter and family. I'm a mom, grandma, and occasional poet-teacher for the NJSCA. My work has appeared in many journals, and in twenty-some books (including chapbooks). I read at the Dodge Festival in 2010, and have enjoyed two poetry residencies at VCCA (January 2011; March 2015). Please visit my blog: http://penhart.wordpress.com and my website: www.2hweb.net/penhart. My newest books are Recycling Starlight and The Resonance Around Us: http://mountainsandriverspress.org/TitleView.aspx
All the maple leaves
rain down in this cold wind,
yellow in the dark,
and I feel the dead again,
their lips grazing mine,
their breath on my cheeks.
I spin among them,
lifting my face
out of deep absence
into this shining.
One Childhood Illness
One childhood illness I lie in my mother's bed,
turning the pages of an antique travel guide
to some mythical northern land,
tracing its India Ink sketches
of wooded streams, waterfalls,
a lone canoe on a birch-fringed lake,
and always in the background,
Propped against two pillows,
I drink my tea staring at the waterfall
whose crystal body cascades down a cliff,
hear its thunder, feel its white mist
on my lips.
Somewhere, behind it
is the cave I remember, the secret crypt
where the stone has been rolled away
and the water sings.
for Eleanor Ecob Morse, my great-great-grandmother, 1890
She sits at her worktable,
lifts a blue glass cup
to admire its gilded rim
as she begins to paint
small violets on its sides.
By evening, she will have done
the whole set, blessing each blue sphere
where violets bloom.
She does not feel the weight
of snow that fills each cup she raises
to the window’s light, the cold
of blowing flakes against her hands,
or the sudden chill that finds her lips
when she pantomimes a sip.
This morning, the sky beyond her window
deepens to the blue of finished cups
as I hold each one up to catch the sun.
--all the above poems from Grandmother's Milk (Singular Speech press, 1995).
©2016 Penny Harter
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