Leigh Harrison's chapbook
Not often do we find a cohesive and sustained hymn to nature – meadows, flowers, trees, the breath of air, the shades of longings – in such inexhaustible array as Leigh Harrison projects in this small, rich volume, Finding Sermons in Stones. Stones are receptacles of beauty here, beauty a matrix of ethics where the pulse of life reposes.
…is the image, my friend,
it is the image.
I need to see the horse
in a mad careening gallop windward
across plains of dry grasses,
gusts whipping its tail into frenzied swoops,
to hear the reverb of hooves
clattering across the savannah,
to see the bright blue of sky
between scudding candy-tuft clouds
Or give me autumn,
its leaves bonfire-tossed,
frantic eddies of bronze crackling underfoot
among orange pumpkin patches
bordered by a weathered split-rail fence,
the soft sigh of maple leaves cascading
into destiny, crumpled along country roads,
kaleidoscope of crimson, olive green,
saffron, flame, bruised yellow-gold,
against gray mists, swirling
Or choose a bed
in a room of moonlit Persian carpets,
and on satin sheets place a woman
tangled in her lover’s arms –
their breath comes ragged, gasping,
eyes reflecting cloaked alphabets
of pain and joy, sweat and desire,
a bittersweet throb that has no name,
while melodies unheard
weave between them
And then the images meld –
the woman astride the horse,
both naked and glistening,
thundering across the Sierra Nevada
as dusk folds, the horse flinging its mane
into the sunset, passing phantom birch
grinning back at the darkness,
until the woman becomes harlequin-colored
like wind-tossed leaves, flickering,
bonfires reflected in her eyes
as she envisions her lover
sprawled panting on their bed
in the galloping moonlight
WHAT I LOVE IN POETRY
They sat in moonlight.
Her hands were small violins
carving melodies en plein air,
the moon, a silent tambourine
in a dark orchestra
of owls and crickets.
His eyes were deep, silent pools
reflecting the night.
Three sample poems from this book appear here.
" Finding Sermons In Stones "
ISBN # 978-0-9838417-0-8
After the floods, earthquakes and tornadoes that marked these difficult years, it's comforting to read poems that are essentially loving – and lovely – portraits of Nature's other face, the face the natural world wears when we feel most welcome in its embrace. Leigh Harrison has combined her varied gifts and interests in this collection, in which she tells us that:
All that lives in Nature
speaks a secret tongue,
but when I listen with my heart,
I understand what's sung
The hue of all the spectrum, taken whole,
you whisper of an eggshell moon gone pale,
a wave-lipped foaming as the breakers roll,
chalk palisades, a waterfall’s gauze veil.
Yours is the memory of a schooner’s sail
when it unfurls in ivory majesty
beneath the milky pinpricks of the frail
and sputtering stars adrift a velvet sea.
You dream the alabaster of that tree
whose branches flare with cherry blossoms now,
then sketch an opalescent tracery
of snowflakes on a birch’s wintry bough.
You shall be swans and lilies, pearls and fleece
while Iris flings her rainbow masterpiece.
Click book for more information
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What a reassuring thought that is, and how grateful we are for poems that urge us to believe it!
Click to hear Leigh read: