Bob Bradshaw – Three Poems


Ode to Lemons

Why shouldn’t we celebrate
these sunny orbs?

Didn’t Van Gogh paint lemons,
lavishing attention on them?
Didn’t he too enjoy
the relaxing company

of these perfumed

No matter how you employ it
–as a juice, as a complement

in cocktails, as a cleaning agent–
the lemon always shines.

And how can one gloss over
its unique flavor,

its tart answer
to our overly sweet tastes?

Or how it helps cleanse
the grime, the darkness

from our lives? Let us wander
together through lemon groves

heavy with fruit, reminding us
–even as everything

around us sours–
of the world’s


Chestnut-backed Chickadees

They chase each other like kids
on a playground,

their chip-chip

dripping from branches
where they momentarily rest,

quickly threading the crepe myrtle
and heavenly bamboo.

I am blessed—
this has never happened:

several attach their tiny feet
to my sweatshirt.

Suddenly three more
swoop down

fluttering onto my shoulders,
clinging to my woolly

the joy of the moment

lingering long

Even now seeing
a black capped little fellow

nodding in the grass
I stop and watch,

till he flies off


Big Daddy

Calm as the blue sky he fished under,
my grandfather, Big Daddy,

always lived near water.
A respected healer,

he rid my hands of seedy warts,
the size of knuckles, overnight

by laying a rag over them
and mumbling what I thought

at the time was nonsense.
In a poor neighborhood he cured others

shivering with flu, offering
fervent prayers

along with spoons
of herbal soups and fish broth,

till the clouds of fevers
drifting over their foreheads lifted.

Even now I can’t believe Big Daddy isn’t
somewhere catching bass, or laying

his hands on a sick friend.
While I was at college he left this world

–as quietly as a wading blue heron
leaves when just for a moment

you turn your attention


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Mozart implied in one of his letters that music shouldn’t be played heavily, but played the way a painter works, with light and shadows. In other words, subtly, the way we receive most of the world’s beauty. Beauty is found everywhere, if we look: in a lemon’s glow, in a light-flecked river or in the moist eyes of a friend. We don’t need to look for beauty in only the obvious places: mountains, vast landscapes, fireworks. One finds beauty in even the smallest of places, in the nuances of a voice, in the wings of insects, in the blue sparks of forget-me-nots. Who would want to leave such a world?


Bob Bradshaw is retired and living in California. He hopes to spend most of his time in a hammock. His work can be found at Apple Valley Review, Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, Cha, Eclectica and Loch Raven Review, among other publications.