Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Meditation and Wing Dust

—Poems by Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
—Paintings by August Macke (1887-1914)



DEAR  LADY
(a poem of the ‘70s)

Lady Liberty,
will my donation repair
the edge of your palm
pressed under that book?
Firm the base of your torch—
even flare the flame?

The art of restoration
can be discordant.
May hope keep echoing
from your eroded crown,
chipped eyelids,
the cracks in your hands.

Freedom nudges my heritage:
young American soldier (Scottish,
Irish, French, Native American)
marries a German maiden.
World War I over, he brings her
home to California where
I was born.

Dear Lady, maybe my gift will
smooth a crease in your robe,
chisel off dust hardened
on your shoulders, half remove
water stains from your face—
better still, heighten
the flicker in your eyes.

(first pub. in Blue Unicorn)



 Elizabeth Gerhardt "Mein zweites Ich"



THE BELL
(for Karen)

A nearby neighbor gives me a
small brass bell, 01-01-2001
imprinted on the side,
a World Peace Bell. I'm to ring
it like crazy, if in distress.

At this hour on a summer day
I'm not in danger, haven't fallen
or gotten ill. But I ring the bell
ecstatically so the God of Sweet Notes
may take proper note of me.

And I pretend I'm Buddha leading
a Zen monastery meditation.
Carefully I ring the bell once,
its pure sound resounding
as eyes close, head bends low.



 Lesende Frau, 1913



O, PRINCE

of Moonlight,
I roam
long and far
the poetic meadows
of expectation.

Wearing the moon's
veil, like a bride,
I feel myself becoming
eloquently
silent.



 Woman Reading



THE DAY AFTER PARIS
CLIMATE ACCORD

I sit alone, wearing
a lime-green dashiki.
Thoughts swirl, unevenly.

As June sun moves across
a western sky
treetop shadows change
over patio squares.
What are shadows for?

I blend into patterns
lively, peaceful
of their own accord.
For an hour
after America withdrew
and the planet shuddered,

I take the temperature
of shadows, I weigh
the climate of discord,
recall evidence gathered
toward shared solutions.
The shadow of shame
lingers on and on.



 Woman Reading in Red Armchair



ON AN AUGUST  EVENING

A praying mantis, ivory colored,
(we later learn means molting)
chooses our quiet entrance
for appearance, as on a stage.
At first we think the creature
torn gardenia petals pushed
slowly forward by a breeze.

Kneeling in dim light, we see
a head, odd wings, forelegs
that enable our visitor
to take spindly strides
and to pray.

We want to steer the wonder
away from nearby road.
Respecting nature,
we watch the explorer
freely roam.
Next morning, mantis is gone.



 Portrait of Elizabeth Gerhardt



ANOTHER "OTHERWISE"
(the Iraqi war, circa 2007)

Again we waken at 4 a.m. edgy,
the same as two nights ago
as war bleeds on in Iraq—

America's pre-emptive strike
not for love of broccoli,
but regime change and oil—

a land where dinosaurs and flora
perished in massive catastrophe
leaving rich remains...We recall

Jane Kenyon's poem "Otherwise,"
mourn 14 more marines killed in Mosel.
Indeed! "It might have been otherwise."



 La Femme de l'Artiste, 1912



BIRTHDAY IN SAN FRANCISCO

After our Mediterranean lunch
on a quiet lane amid skyscrapers
Leslie has me blow out
a small pink candle
on a slice of cheesecake.
Merrily we share.

Gazing upward
through tallest buildings
I'm drawn to a patch of blue.
Ah, here the City's phoenix
magnificently soars. As proof,
we blow wing-dust off our table.



 Elizabeth on a Green Sofa, Reading



Today’s LittleNip:
 
THE CITY OWL
—Claire J. Baker

hooos his city hooos
alto omen over inhumanities. Hooo
from the inner sanctum, what darkness
Full-circle owl eyes unblinking
Hooo are you? Hooo can you be
Whooo? Whooo?
Houdini chained to
underwater concrete mountain.
Whooo can escape?
Where is Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus
or Hooo...

_____________________

—Medusa, with many thanks to Claire Baker from down Bay-Way for today’s fine poetry! For more about the life and work of August Macke, see www.britannica.com/biography/August-Macke/.  To see more of his artwork, go to www.wikiart.org/en/august-macke/.



Claire's City Owl
(Anonymous Photo)
 Celebrate poetry!—and our Seed of the Week: Night Sounds!












Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.