My First Story

by Judith Harris

Judith, thank you for the elegance and graceful body of your poems, and how they take us down into a place of heart, illumination, sorrow, and ascent.

I love this piece about the precision of authorship and yet the limitations even the most careful poet finds in language. Gorgeous descriptions and a poignant final stanza where that painting, signed indistinctly, underscores the tensions of narrative displayed throughout the poem.

This poem is beautiful, and far more so than a page of prose written about a poem-in-gestation could ever be. It brings up memories of puppet shows and Comedia del Arte. (Where is Harlequin? What will he be doing next?) And so freshly wrought. As fresh as the sun ready to cut through the hem of night. I say "ready to," for once warm Mother Star climbs above the horizon, it's all about the aging of the day.

How quickly, and yet deeply, this poem reads, Judith. I love how form and content interweave to make the pacing perfect. Unencumbered syntax and snap-to-attention lines play so brilliantly against the facts: the sun never comes up, the husband is angry, the wife, unfulfilled and lonely. The synthesis of inner and outer worlds is "caught" and the poem opens and opens and opens, and the reader falls in. Thank you for this highly accomplished and haunting poem, and kudos to the editor who selected this one.

You captured me!

This is a wonderful poem, with rich language and a mixture of precise imagery and poignant imaginative awareness. Each evocative line was perfect in adding to the naturalness of the storytelling and message.

I am right there in that kitchen, awaiting direction. I love the feeling of suspension, of being in control but not. Another masterly poem, Judith!

I love not only the poem, but also Shann Ray's comment. The last word is so well weighted, from "sorrow" to "ascent."

Judith, I love how you paint the scene for us and how the emotion seeps in and moves us in and through the poem. So much possibility and timelessness evoked.

Another quietly stunning poem from Judith Harris. Really, you cannot publish too many of her pieces, Narrative!

Judith, this is a great poem expressing with great care the empowering labor of the imagination. Captivating.

Judith, I am grateful for such a lovely poem. How nice you expressed your feelings, illuminating the pictures I liked so much. Thank you.

Observer, myth maker, revisionist, truth teller, clairvoyant, naif--in the poem we are all these at once and for a moment fixed on a truth that cannot possibly exist (or any longer exist) and yet here it is, conjured, real and heartbreaking, created and even manipulated before our eyes. Only this man and this woman exist, and it is the erasure of the I that both saves and dooms us; in the end there is only story. This first story. I love this poem.

What a stunning poem. The quiet desperation behind the “paper dolls” 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.


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