Focus on Poetry: “The Elk”

The icy, cold gray post-holiday winter season can be made so much more warm and beautiful with a cozy blanket and a powerful, gracefully written poem. To that end, I bring you “The Elk”, a brand new, original poem by my husband David Davis, who goes by Harley Davis. It’s a fine example of using alliteration and lilting rhythm to conjure up a serene, wild setting and a frozen, magical moment in time. I love how the final stanza brings the reader into the ‘now’, almost making one wonder, did it really happen or was it a dream?


Bugling elk in Yellowstone

“The Elk” by Harley Davis

The breaking of crusting snow
and the chill of rushing wind
the clatter of brittle leaves below
I pulled my wrap tighter in.

The frozen moisture of my deep breath
obscures my stealth uneasy walk
it forms a veil upon my chest –
like a winter scarf where warmth is not.

I steal around the weathered wood
too close as a snag takes my arm
now gray from days it has long withstood
in the woods near my grandfather’s farm.

The snag gives a snap and me a start
and a jabbing finger is the thump in my chest
adding threat upon threat to my now racing heart
and angst in this challenging quest.

Yet I find the majestic creature there
and my deep breath is held within
while a snort from the beast parted the air
as a loud unpleasant din.

He raised his massive head my way
I raised my lens to meet his glance
and shuttered to think would spook him away
and lose my stealthy wooded chance

to capture the beast and there mount him
on the wall in the hall of my home
but I shifted my weight on a weathered limb
and at once stood in the deep woods alone.

He sprang into life and targeted me
as the clattering shutter fired on
the view in my finder of him running free
as my words condensed on the air, “he’s gone”

I put two fingers between my teeth
and placed my tongue the way I was taught
the shrill whistle arose beneath
and stopped the beast where he did not

advance deeper into the thicketed wood
and spoil my last and rarest and best
I took aim again and frozen stood
brought the lens slowly down on his chest

and fired the trigger that shattered the air
with shutter-clatter that day in the wood
when I stole the creature’s majestic heir
the image is silent but the memory was good.

That memory now hangs in the hall on the wall
of my cabin near the home of my kin
the beast still reigns and bugles his call
inviting me to come back again.


Meet My Photographer

Shelly reedited

As an artist of words, I’m accustomed to painting pictures with my keyboard, but a photographer must speak volumes with one click of a shutter. To that end, allow me to introduce my amazing photographer, David Kimball Davis, aka Harley Davis, an art photographer with an eye for detail and an inherent feel for setting a mood with a picture.

Originally from the Lake Tahoe area, David has been involved in art in one way or another for most of his life, from graphite portraiture, to pastel chalk sketchings for a line of greeting cards which also included his original poetry, to caricature drawing and unique marketing logos. In recent years, he has focused his camera lens on the tiny details of product photography as well as on the quiet beauty of landscapes and architecture. His sports photography has won awards, and he is renowned in the fast-paced world of hot rod photography, where his custom photographs are sought by vintage car collectors.

Clearly a versatile photographer, David has an uncanny way of bringing to light the subtle nuances of his subjects, revealing hidden shapes and shooting from unique angles that bring a greater appreciation of the ordinary and turn it into magnificent art. I once admired his black-and-white photo of an old barn in winter and wanted to see the real thing. When he showed it to me, I was astounded. It was on a road I’d traveled many times. The old barn had never caught my eye before.

If you haven’t guessed by now, the photographer is also my husband, and I am fortunate that his art and my writing have been able to come together creatively on my website, including this recent portrait of me. I invite you to peruse some of his pictures here to enjoy his work far beyond what I am able to describe, because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words!

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