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.

"On My Horizon"


Some nights the moon
And stars rise,
Encircle 'round my mast,
While I watch lights
Of distant cities peek
On my horizon.

I have watched them come
Those other ships.
Forms in the night
Some close, some far,
But most have slipped the wake
Of my horizon.

Some nights the fog
And darkness come,
Enfold around so close,
I cannot see those things
Which lie beyond,
On my horizon.

I have watched it stretch
To points beyond
What some call God;
Now close, now far,
Beyond the end
Of my horizon.

"Laughter on the Wind"


Seven nine, eight three, eight five,
And cries of laughter,
Smiles on faces,
White knuckles on a helm
And a feeling
Few can understand.

Lines taut,
Sails straining
To gather that last ounce
Of power from the wind,
And seven tons of boat
At some precarious angle
On the tips of your fingers.

You turn
Hard to the wind
And tiny drops of water
Splash up
And cross the windward rail;
Shouting their joy
By glinting sunlight
Back towards the cockpit
Then leave their scent,
A salty taste,
your lips.

You have caught it
This fever of the sea.
The wind has tossed your hair;
The sun has warmed your back;
And the sea
Embraced you to her breast.

You'll love and live and fear her
From now on.
She has made love to you,
And left you wanting more.
You'll never be
Just quite the same

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

"On My Horizon" and "Laughter on the Wind" Alan Ward, 1997. All rights reserved.