Joseph Harris held both a MS & PhD in Neurochemistry. He spent a lifetime teaching and researching at the John Hopkins School of Medicine, and the Arizona State University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. He was also a fellow of the New York Academy of Science. Dr. Harris, a World War II Veteran & Officer, was a past president of the East Valley Poets and a former executive board member of the Arizona State Poetry Society. He was a participant in the 17th World Congress of Poets, where he contributed an exposition entitled Modern Language Poetry: A Neo-Darwinian Mutant. United Poets Laureate International awarded him for his contributions to poetry. Joseph Harris passed away April 4, 2011. He was ninety-one.
Poems: What They Mean To Me
Poems, you talk to me when I’m all alone,
You understand me, give support to my bones.
You offer forgiveness for transgressions
I, with other homo sapiens, indulge,
Our aneurysms stretched to an extreme bulge.
Poems, you become a map when I’m lost,
Guideposts, through the maze of life, to home.
Making up for my mindless neglect,
Saving me from that vast silence of death,
With songs of words, the mourning blues.
Poems, you give a presence to me for those I have lost.
You make certain to raise my curtain of neglect,
You save me from my forgetfulness.
You give voice to what I do not say, but feel.
Poems, you are what makes my day,
You weave stories, catch up with my dreams,
Make it all what it seems.
You mold me, free me of grief, guilt,
Fear, or failure as I face the mirror,
Accept what I’ve seen,
You make me see truth, realize the beauty of life.
Poems, that is what you mean to me!
Published in Caliche Echoes 2003.
Remembrance In Joy
For Irene Dorothy Harris
You left me here on earth on the order of a Higher Authority,
Half a decade ago and sadness replaced my mirth.
Yet I continue to see you in the glowing color of the rainbow,
Clearly see you, reflected in a mirror
Of my thoughts, in my actions, and at times, in my dreams.
Your presence continues to pervade even in your absence.
I feel your warmth, your compassion, your grace,
And see your beauty, your radiant smile, at times
Admixed with tears of pain, as the light of the sun
Obliterates them. I hear your song, your melodies of cheer,
To melt selfishness; they bring on colors ever so clear.
You left me with precious memories of yesteryears,
And surround my present moments with remembrance of joy,
Our past becomes a review of love, compassion, and sharing
Of family, of friends, of community and always, of you.
You left me with moments of grace, with a clear reminder
Of the briefness of the holiday in our journey and space.
The program of life underscores that there is only the moment,
One at a time they tick relentlessly, measured by our metronome,
In rhythmic beats of our hearts and the beauty of our souls.
The glowing flicker of your life is reflected in the mirror
Of my memory, in celebration of your life.
I express my love and gratitude
That you spent your life with me.
A remembrance of joy to see.
My words, my thoughts most personal ever-so
Made public to let the world also know.
Published in Caliche Echoes 2003
Copyright ©. Rights to individual poems are retained. All rights reserved, except as otherwise noted. Reproduction done for other than personal or internal reference use without expressed permission is prohibited.
The curtain of darkness resolutely down,
Our fellowship in poetry broken,
Our colleagues, friends made silent, no sound.
Geographers of innate feelings of life,
Provide mirrors to reflect a barrage of light,
Of truth, as a verbal collage, of that which endures and that which changes.
We celebrate the spirit of your lives, of poet words,
Words to outperform the silence encircling us
as we “let evening come.”
Your words, now your legacy to remain ever with us
Your legacy now a phoenix bird
whence new poets rise.
Rest in peace; your words continue to abide.
On behalf of the Arizona State Poetry Society, November 9, 2002