Morning Kiss

The sea oats
have grown tall;
I let them
skim my palm, 

feel the tickles
gifted from heaven
as the sea’s soul 
is orchestra lifted 

above the tides
of this earth
to scoop me up
with open arms
into the surf.

I offer all I’ve brought
to sacrifice to God,

releasing the heavy,
releasing the pain, 
hoping the ghosts 
will choose escape

as I make it more
to haunt these
inner spaces

tarnished, turning gold
from the light
of love
joining the soul’s. 

My feet sink
in the warm silk
as my heart, 
with you inside,
even more 

Buoyant become
the weights
as the shackles and chains
give way
to become part
of the dark, watery

Today, I take
back my life.
Today the curse,
I unwind.

Wet feet,
sand clinging,
I walk back
and through my fingers,

the sea oats feel
the difference

as the sun 
rises to kiss
me so gently 


Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Hearts and Wings

I have been absolutely entranced and obsessed with the changing eucalyptus leaves in my backyard. I pass a lot of time observing and listening to them through my lens. I know the poetry each one heart-strums inside me, but no words could ever do these images justice. I will let the poetry speak directly to you instead, for so personal and intimate to me are what these leaves and tree portray… I hope you can see and hear it, too, as it pertains to you. ❤  


My fascination,
favorite attraction, 
purest joy
photographing nature,

is finding the meek
among the mundane
and crowning
with due recognition
the beauty beyond fit
for the stage;

sort of like lemonade
from life’s lemons, 
I like to look
at it all through 
the light in my lenses.

The less obvious,
the underfoot trodden,
I refract the rays
to highlight
the forgotten,

and so it goes
as a life lesson:
beauty exists
all around us,

the purest gems
right beside us,
all perfect as is
before the bruiting,
for we are all precious

Sea Feathers and Leaves

Many specific, powerful moments have I captured at the beach, with and without a lens, that live in me so vividly, there to be called upon on a whim whenever I need them. Two of these are my images “Pigeon on the Pier” and “Sunflowers in the Sand,” their lessons, how they resonated with me, similar.

I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and started my own family there. In city parks, pigeons are popular, as well as those sitting on benches feeding them. City pigeons are what I had always known. They were standard and expected in my world. They had their place. They were common, not viewed as anything spectacular or especially beautiful by others.

Many years later, on a visit to the Gulf shores of Florida, I came upon the same type of pigeon on an ocean pier.

Pigeon on the Pier

It stunned me with unexpectedness. A pigeon at the beach? I never heard of or imagined such a thing. There was only one, hanging out with the traditional seabirds, sitting on the pier railing. Its colors, illuminated by the unobstructed sun, against the backdrop of the sea’s blues and greens and white-capped waves and the aquahorizon blending into the endless blue sky, were truly spectacular, the most beautiful and striking bird on the pier.

So deliberately and boldly out of place, shattering preconceived notions, limitations, stereotypes. This pigeon was free, beyond cage, beyond park, beyond fear. It was deeply inspirational, motivational. A “city” pigeon with feathers caressed by the salty sea breeze. Of course, in my mind, I spun a whole story about it, how it defied and transcended expectations, went its own way, flew the coop, against the flock, followed dreams deemed foolish and unattainable, highly discouraged by other feathered friends and family. This pigeon heard of another place over the rainbow or simply believed in one with no such evidence, a place where it knew it had to reach, a place where it knew it belonged.

I wondered if it now called this place home, or if it had more unknowns to explore. Years later, that pigeon on the pier would very personally resonate with me even more…

Another sight that mesmerized me was a patch of sunflowers growing out of the sand along a short boardwalk that led to the sea.

Sunflowers in the Sand

Another out-of-place image that struck me, shook my preconceived notions of what is expected to be and not to be. Flowers can grow without soil? Have I lived such a sheltered and naïve life that I didn’t know that was possible? Sure, the sea oats grew tall and majestic from the sand, but such a well-known flower so far away from gardens and fields? Its deep green leaves and signature golden-burst blossoms were such a stark contrast, like the pigeon’s colors, against the muted hues of the seashore. It too seemed to be making a bold statement, had a story.

The sunflowers in the sand reminded me of young childhood thinking in the time of innocence and uninhibited creative thinking before all of the influences that seem to dissolve such wonderful early notions of coloring suns green and the grass purple, of coloring outside of the lines, all before we were told… Told what? What were the words spoken, yelled, whispered that changed and molded a notion, a belief, a mind, a child, a nation? What was the guidance? What word-seeds planted, and what did they grow? What fertilizer in lieu of seeds, and what did it kill?

For a while, for a period of my adulthood, I responsibly packed up the unrealized dreams, the unfulfilled fantasies. Once a creative colorer, a young artist, an older painter of grandiose possibilities, I laid down the crayons and paints, crumbled up more and more of my drawings, on paper and canvas and medialess in my mind, my aging heart. Some paths I chose seemed permanently outlined, with me trapped on the inside of those lines, now without my coloring tools. Trapped in the book, a pigeon in a cage, a sunflower seed eaten, not planted.

Eventually, though, something inside me made me finally reach. For the latch, for that crayon. I am now the pigeon on the pier, the sunflower in the sand.

All words and images on this site ©LauraDenise

This Sunrise

In this early dawn,

I let the stillness be,

observe the lightening of dark

transforming gradually,

so subtly,

yet the colors awakening

are so softly profound,

the beauty

almost too much to behold

with the eye,

so the heart

and soul

absorb the excess,

the spilling over,

and preserve it

as a natural resource

to guide the self

back to self

and that stillness

whenever life seems too


and I realize,

I am

this sunrise.

This morning’s sunrise from my front yard. 

This Is

Sunrise kisses brushed upon eyelids,


Quenching drops nourishing, renewing, the spirit,


Velvet petals caressing the flesh, erasing false perfections,

inner seeds in ecstasy sacrificially spilling,


Breezes always joyfully willing

to carefully carry the heart’s deepest wishes,


Lonely floating feathered silhouettes receiving comforting sunset ripples,


Faithful mutually blooming companion, a bud always returning,



Upon a pure canvas, watercolors mixing,

slowly, beautifully messily dripping,

fluid, never fully setting,

in the swirling abstract showing

what each individual soul has mourned, is yearning…

This is poetry.

And art. And music.

And, I suppose,



All words and images ©LauraDenise

What Remains

The weather inevitably has blown some of my hanging-flower petals about. There is a bloom that seems to have become one with my patio table. This is what I saw in it…


Sometimes, we become filled

with negativity

planted and watered by others

despite our desire

to be pure and free,


voices that internally scream

and override

fading beliefs,

transplanting them

with false seeds

and roots that

rot the soil

way down deep.


But sometimes,

a seed in shining armor comes

and whispers as it lies down

and stubbornly

refuses to leave

despite our pleas,

concerned for its safety,

for it surely

cannot survive

in this shady, weedy,

rocky quarry.


But the seed won’t leave.


The seed blooms white

with a pink, fuzzy center


and somehow its

delicacy and whispers




not in a sappy way

you want washed off,

but like the soft scent

that distracts you enough

from the stench,

that you find yourself

indeliberately drawing near it,

not clinging

but preferring it,

and the whispers

rub off

a bit from the petals

into your depths,

deeper than the evil roots

to the center of you


before the application of that supposed fertilizing



and you remember.


And now it’s too late


for any pesticide

to eradicate

the belief

that you are beautiful,

and no matter what becomes

of that selfless seed

or bloom,

its presence

eternally exists

in you.




Believing in My Beauty

Fresh white canvas

brushed with the

softest, barely-there pink,

soft morning rays

after the rain

gently blushing my cheek,


single subtle cobweb

still tickling me

from yester’s

dusty corners

lightly sticking,


I bravely but shyly

in this new season

ever so slowly again

expose my interior;


I am fragile now,

not as hearty as the seed

or root

or leaves

that sprouted me,

so with the gentlest of lips

speak to

and kiss



Poem and image ©Laura Denise