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 is the author of Letters to my Oldest Friend: A Book of Poetry and Photography. She has also contributed poems to two poetry anthologies, Bhakti Blossoms: A Collection of Contemporary Vaishnavi Poetry and GODDESS: When She Rules: Expressions by Contemporary Women. Two of her poems were shortlisted for the prestigious Hamilton House International Poetry Prize awarded by the University Centre Grimsby, and published in their anthology "Eternal". Janavi 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 held a bachelor’s degree from Goddard College where she studied poetry, photography, and media studies. She passed away peacefully in December of 2018 after having battled a brutal illness. You may read more of her poems and view her artwork on her website here and Facebook page here

*For submission guidelines, click here.*


  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

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

MOTHER WISDOM SPEAKS by Christin Lore Weber

For me the rosary is a holy object that connects me to my origin, and the origin of all creation...  We spring from God's womb, the Mother-Womb of the Holy One. In art this divine womb is pictured as the cosmic rose. The rosary, in Western spirituality, is what has survived of our devotion to the motherhood of God. It is the mother-prayer.  “As a mother comforts its child, so shall I comfort you: You will see, and your heart will rejoice, and your bones will flourish like living grass.” ~Isaiah 66~ The feminine principle in God has been called by many names: Great Rose, Mother of All, Flower of Venus, Rose of Divine Love. The 'World Tree' of the East was a rose-tree.  Barbara Walker tells us this was a female tree of life and immortality and that in Central Asia it was called Woman, the Wellspring. All these images found expression in architecture, especially in the mandala-like rose window of Gothic cathedrals, reflecting the beauty a

IMBOLC by Caroline Mellor

The inspiration for this poem came after I watched a magical winter sunset and full moonrise from the top of Firle Beacon in the South Downs... Unusually for me, I wrote the poem quite quickly and changed it very little before publishing it – perhaps the energies were working through my pen! Imbolc is the mid-point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It’s a fire festival which I particularly love because of its associations with Brigid, the Celtic Mother Goddess of arts and crafts, clear sight, healing, inspiration and nurturance of creative talents – something which, through my writing, I am always trying to connect with.  I also love Imbolc because, with so much darkness and negativity in the world today, it is a time for hope, potential, visioning and initiation. With love and blessings as the light returns. Photography by Chanel Baran Imbolc by Caroline Mellor I am the dream of awakening. I am the returning of the night.  I am the tough green s