Five Poems

by Judith Harris

Beautiful poetry with a wonderful use of syntax phrasing.

I love the wording in "Self-Portrait, 1963" of the poet's hair holding "the shape of Mother's hard, ivory-handled brush, and palsied fingers." I also really like the ending of "The Last Thing." The birds are tricked into thinking it is night by a black cloth draped over the birdcage. Beautiful images!

What a stunning group of poems. I am struck at how your clear simple language can pack such incredible power and image. I feel the voice of the child, and am covered with wonder, regret, fear, awe , all seen with innocent and unveiled eyes.

Playing House: The quiet desperation behind the “paper dolls” in Playing House echo those memories we have as well as the stagnation of our dreams. You have presented this in an astonishing picture that we can relate to. The writing is so clear and still, that multiple meanings and colors shimmer below the surface to take us to that mysterious place deep in our souls and memory.

You have a way of touching our hearts and minds with an ephemeral touch–full of light and air, yet implying shadow beneath it all. I feel as if my mind has been stirred by a gentle touch, which has left such extraordinary images. The image of the glass vase of wildflowers with the spoiled roots—so vividly describes all of us trying to survive in this life. And the image of the stale faces in yesterdays mirrors–whew! Stunning! I love the fact that you described grown ups with aprons and neckties–what a wonderful way to show us the tethered duties of adulthood.

The Last Thing: What a devastatingly beautiful image of your mother’s last image. I love the picture of the black cloth draped–heartbreaking. So simply and clearly stated, almost child-like.

Self Portrait: The image of being stuck in the first grade like a zipper is breathtaking.


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