flowerO Shenandoah! Occasional Treats

by Alan Ward

With his family, Alan Ward owns and operates the intriguingly beautiful Blue Ridge Pottery. Set within a mountain hollow of unspoiled forested vistas, the shop is a center of serenity. Fountains, artful tanks of tropical fish, landscaped gardens of natural wildflowers and native trees, an antique carriage, and ponds grace the workshop and store shelves of varied handmade wares.

"Places I Have Been"


I have been to places
many times
so far
from where I am.

To music's notes
and poet's rhyme
inside the heads
of other men.

To fantasy so far away
from life's reality.
To fantasy
I make tomorrow's day.

To times of harmony
so few, with all
the world around
so close.

To times where life
and fantasy
have blurry edges,
misty light.

I have been to places
many times
so far
from where I am.



Thirteen bridges to the sea;
Thirteen bridges to be free.

Look across young lady
to where the brig lies tied,
where tattered remnants of a foresail flap
with broken spars and timbers cracked;
Tell sixty years of tales,
both sad and glad.

You but begin your voyage
to the sea,
amidst the clang and clatter of the cranes;
sand blast hiss and rust
to color once white decks.

Now comes your crew
with camera, clothes
and all the other bags unseen,
and so much larger
than the first.

Now go and watch
thru thirteen bridges to the sea.
It's all told here
along the docks and wharves;
some new, some old and bent,
among the small black tugs and working boats
and homebuilt dreams of oceans
now resting in the mud.

Remember well these docks
where tides
and expectations
fall and rise ten thousand times
and so the cycle goes.

Now leave the brig,
the smell of cooking meat,
of traps stacked high to dry.
Remember her
for you are linked
as all of us must be.

And go
through bridges.
Thirteen bridges to the sea
Thirteen bridges to be free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: "Born in the Welsh seaport of Newport in 1943, Alan spent his early years in the coastal areas and valley towns of Wales. In 1950 his parents joined the many post-war immigrants seeking a new life in the Americas, and moved to Canada. At twelve he had built his first boat, a jury rig of canvas and green saplings. Throughout his teenage years he was constantly found canoe-tripping through the Northern Ontario wilderness. By twenty-two he had built two boats, one a thirty footer, and was spending summers and weekends cruising the Great Lakes. His Master's degree in Planning and Urban Design provided the basis for twelve years in the consulting business. However, in 1979 Alan became disenchanted with the yuppie life and went sailing for two years aboard his 37' sloop throughout the Caribbean. Time to think and the experience of that cruise provided the basis for many of the works in..." Reflections of the Sea and Other Secret Places, a collection of verse from which the above two poems are excerpted, available for purchase at Blue Ridge Pottery, Stanardsville, VA. E-mail address: Pots4U2@aol.com

Slightly modified photographs reprinted with permission from a monthly edition of the New York Institute of Photography's website. NYI, all rights reserved.

Midi music file: "They Call The Wind Mariah" from "Paint Your Wagon"

Where the heck am I? -- Beam me back home

"Bridges" and "Places I Have Been" Alan Ward, 1997. All rights reserved.