Six Poems

by Judith Harris

Thank you for these gems. Your poetry is exquisite.

Judith, I've been reading your poems to my wife Jennifer and my three daughters, Natalya, Ariana, and Isabella (15, 10, and 7) and we all come to such life and love and will in your words. Our family loves your poems so much. To me, it is the beauty and honesty and bravery of your words that gives life and makes us see one another more whole and more true, more capable and courageous and ready to face the the consolation and desolation of this world. Thank you, thank you for the depth and power of your poems, and how you help us fall into the place where we can be held and not destroyed. Your words stay with me and my loved ones today, thank you for writing them.

"The white moon, half rock,
half flour sifted for a recipe,
beats back the shadows it causes."

These lines are especially exquisite, Judith. How do you do it?

Lovely, Judith. I look forward to more from you.

Thank you, Judith, for more terrific work! And thanks to Narrative for making them available.

Thank you for these beautiful and accomplished poems. The images and events rendered are remarkable for their power to move the reader and provide genuine insights into the world of personal experience. Please keep writing poetry!

Reading your poems this evening, Judith, I was struck by the thought that I've been reading your work for six years. Your words have been with me as I've learned to live in a new place, a new home, and your poetry has encouraged me to inhabit the landscape more carefully, with greater awareness of the past and the memory reflected in its forms. These new poems teem with the complexity of time: the burden, the demand, the eros, the comfort, the impossibility of time. In them, I hear a call to recover lost temporalities, to notice its warps and crooks; to find the fissure, the difference, in changeless memory and the life in forgetting; and to embrace with curiosity and courage our many untold beginnings and endings. Thank you for sharing these poems, Judith. They are truly stunning. I will return to them. Like your many others, they will remain with me.

I too was very moved by these poems, Judith--by the depth of feeling, the complexity rendered in simple language, and the beauty of the images. It's good to return to your poems! Thanks to Narrative for publishing them.

Read Judith's poems and hear the thread of ordinary people, living their lives and remembering those who went before, and reaching for beyond.

I love the way memory seeps into every object in these poems, and ordinary things become markers of a lost world. Your stunning language recovers all that has lost and restores it with such precision; beautiful poems.

My dear Friend writes from her "Soul"--ALWAYS. Her poems are unique in the world of verse. She is truly a gifted wordsmith!!
Angela Leonard ("Ang")

I love the way Judith paints such vivid scenes from her childhood--the old stove and smell the sweet smell of cooking apples--and infuses them with a deep sense of connection and soulful meaning. As a beginning poet, I learn so much from reading each of Judith's beautiful poems!

I only recently became aware of Judith's work (where have I been?) when a friend recommended (and I subsequently devoured) several volumes of her work. The work here? My childhood is in these six poems, my mother, still breathing, breathes this air, believes, because her life demands it, in the power of mulch, and when she dies, it will be lying on her back in a house robe, her mouth open. This is a thing I have known for years, a source of dread and desire. Sunshine does not hide from sorrow, but infuses it with grace, and Judith knows the words that let them sing together.

I love the beautiful, cozy, domestic images in the poems--"the white moon" like "half flour sifted for a recipe"; nails in jars in a garage "peering out of the darkened glass like stars"; "the lungs of the house breathe in her apples"; eating from a bluebird plastic bowl; "empty milk bottle in its tin box"; apples "slurred into roiling pots of water and cinnamon."

The harsh realities of adult life are coupled so perfectly with youthful innocence in these poems. The adult eye is unflinching, but the emotions under the surface are that of the child we still carry with us, wide open to all experiences, and the tender heart breaking. The peonies blossom with unrestrained openness, and by the end of the poem, that openness echoes in the image of the mother’s open mouth at death. The natural world in these poems coexists with the human world, and in each Judith Harris shows us the necessary sadness of the way things are.

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