Harris Gardner


Harris GardnerPhoto: Elizabeth Doran






Island of Music


The pleasure of a concert,

Slows the day’s tempo.

It is an island that shuts out

The sound of hapless, frenzied

Humanity caught up in the

Everyday cacophony.

We swim in the cadence of Klezmer

Songs. Our hearts ascend with

Jocund tunes that scale surrounding hills.


Sun’s rays muscle through

A cloudy blanket as if it

Also wished to revel

In the music that makes feet

Move on their own design.

Clarinet, accordion, tuba and drums

Reveal a harmonious collage

That adorns the corridors of centuries.

Dim, receding notes nudge us

From ecstatic trance.






Crow struts on a bough

Of a cherry blossom tree.

He is dressed in concert finery.

His rough voice is chorus;

The wind sounds soft solo.

Pink flowers stir, hum

Unheard harmony, so low.

Soloist bends in a bow.




Staccato Legato


Thought crawled out of the sea

And morphed into art.

Art became a song heard

By those who chose to heed.

Song begat music that danced

Around a maypole with words.


Language spoke, sang and danced.

Spirit climbed the maypole to the peak,

Opened its mouth to speak.

Words became song, and spirit danced.


Mid-breath, lungs pause, halt thought.

Whim weaves a tonal tapestry.

Song pulsates in percolating pool.

Words became song, and spirit danced.


Synapses dance to their own rhythm,

Leap to ancient drum beats.

Scoring flows to muted heart.

Half-remembered music struggles

To surface, then succumbs to slumber.

Words became song, and spirit danced.


Inner shaman climbs cloud ladder

To pursue peak of pyre that turns to ash.

Tribal chants reverberate through corridors,

Race toward rendez-vous with submerged glimmers.

Words became song, and spirit danced.


Rests between quarter notes-

Scales float in syncopation,

Pause for breath, then measured paces

Stretch marathon toward mirage

Of wavering finish line.

Words became song and spirit danced.


No ribbon falls, no winner’s dais,

Circuitous movement, commencement,

Conclusion – then, repeat.

Words became song, and spirit danced.


Break in blips, zigzag line,

Points north, south, steady, steady.

Song murmurs, a river current-

Notes soar toward surging sea’s symphony.

Words link in a snake dance, then, ride the waves.

Thought fastens the final knots

To secure the tapestry.

Words became song, and spirit danced.











Harris Gardner- Bio



Credits: The Harvard Review; Midstream; Cool Plums; Rosebud; Fulcrum; Chest; The Aurorean; Ibbetson Street Journal. Main Street Rag; Vallum (Canada); Pemmican; WHL Review; Green Door; MRPR; and over fifty other publication credits. Three collections. Poet-in-Residence- Endicott College-2002-2005.  Poetry Editor, Ibbetson  Street: November, 2010 to present; co-founder of Tapestry of Voices and Boston National Poetry Month Festival (both, with Lainie Senechal). Member of three selection committees for Poet Laureate: Boston (2)  and Somerville. (1).





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