Skip to main content

MY ISLAND by Janavi Held

My first love was black and white photography…

Perhaps I’m something of a minimalist, so what to do when film is all but gone, and the digital world has, seemingly, endless options?  I remember cutting class in high school to spend time in the darkroom; it was a magical place where pieces of the world I’d collected, or captured with the lens of my camera would take on a new life, altered by filters, paper choices, long or short exposures, long or short baths in the chemicals that would induce the images to appear on paper.

So, to me photography is collecting bits of beauty or ugliness, faces or places, the animate, and the inanimate, to bring them home, and share them with who ever is watching. Today I‘ve found a way to alter, and play with my digital photos, giving in, just a little, to the numerous possibilities.  After all, the chemicals in the darkroom smelled pretty toxic.

Most of the photographs in this video where taken on the beautiful Garden Island of Kauai, where my mother lived for many years.  I loved wandering the island with my camera and notebook. I explored places on Kauai that felt like arriving at the end of the earth, so primal, so alive with all manner of living beings; it inspired so much writing. This poem, in short, describes my experience there. I felt honored to spend so much time walking over, swimming through, and exploring the intimate recesses of that exotic, poetic piece of God’s creation.
Kauai by the author,  Janavi Held

My Island
by Janavi Held

Silk water embraces
toes and ankles
knees and thighs
pulling my body
all directions
lost in endless motion
turned backwards
forgetting longings
left them
on the shore.

Strands of twilight linger over my island
I pull those last bits of sunlight
through the strands of my bleached hair
as I wrap my hands inside the curves of waves
tossing my thoughts to the shore.

(Click play to view Janavi's photographs of Kauai) 

Janavi Held started writing poetry and wandering around with her father’s camera as a child.  At the age of nineteen, she began practicing Bhakti yoga. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Goddard College where she studied poetry, photography, and media studies.  She is on the verge of releasing her first book Letters to my Oldest Friend: A Book of Poetry and Photography. 

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~


  1. I just love this Janavi. It reminds me of a life shaping trip to Kona in 2001. Thank you for your beautiful poetry and meditative photography.

  2. How lovely, both words and image. What I wouldn't give to see the beauty of those isles one day!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I AM STILL HERE by Janavi Held


This was composed by a very gifted and beautiful soul: a regular contributor to our poetry project, and dear friend of mine, Janavi Held, whose life is gradually being taken from us by an incurable illness. She has been suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Internal Adhesions for six painful years now, and neither her insurance nor the government healthcare will help her. She reaches out to us, her sisters, as a last plea. This is a poem she wrote yesterday on her birthday, in which she offers us the gift of her friendship. May it touch your generous hearts and inspire you to reach out to her in her plight.

Dear Friends,

The last time I was able to leave the house was by ambulance on my way to the hospital. After many long hours in the emergency room I was admitted and taken upstairs. After everyone left I sat on the hospital bed, knees to chest, bracing my body against the pain and trembling.

The light of this cold day was fading. I turned my eyes to the la…

IMAGINE A WOMAN by Patricia Lynn Reilly

This poem invites you to look upon yourself with loving kindness…
Gazing at your own true reflection, you will discover that everything you have longed for “out there” is already within you! I invite you to love your creativity fiercely. Faithfully plant seeds, allowing under-the-ground dormant seasons, nurturing your creative garden with love and gratitude. In the fullness of time, the green growing things thrust forth from the ground. It's a faithful, trustworthy process. AND it takes time and patience.  Blessed is the fruit of your creative womb! I invite you to trust your vision of the world and express it. With wonder and delight, paint a picture, create a dance, write a book, and make up a song. To give expression to your creative impulses is as natural as your breathing. Create in your own language, imagery, and movement. Follow no script. Do not be limited by the customary way things have been expressed. Your creative intuition is original. Gather all of life into your inner c…

DEPRESSION by Veronica Carpenter

Here goes my vulnerability A heart on a sleeve The typical person who looks at me May not see the same me that I live with daily The mind in the air, swirling with possibility When the darkness rallies/gathers/swirls When I am left to solitude This paper-thin garb unzips Here comes depression          
No I don’t want to advertise So flash a smile Those who are close get to see Through the veil, it’s really not that thick Circumstances in life like to stab at the rib Stumble, fall behind the door Shut out the world Feelings well and weigh down Strength hidden deep in the core So deep that sometimes it’s forgotten Here comes the darkness My old friend Sweeping through my every move  Doubts, fears, un-named masked men Oozing like honey, sticking to everything
Patience is required to get on this ride There is a cycle but its pattern is unknown Slowly my gift will unwrap itself Stay on the path Coming back to that which never truly left me Just laid sleeping out of exhaustion from the fight Dormant in winter…