Our roots need to dig into earth
like leaves being born.
Our bodies need air, need rain,
sun will loosen knots of pain.
Touch us, sky—blue visitation,
drift of clouds.
Hold fast, hopes
like sturdy branches when wind
wears rough boots and kicks!
May dreams we dream
cut apples wide open for juice
grown sweet from rain.
We offer shade and shelter.
we whisper with our leaves.
We arrive at a meadow
made lyrical by finches
and wild canaries.
In blades of grass we see
seven shades of green
growing even greener;
surely we have admired
this one stem before
yet never before
and could find it
again and still again
among waves of grass.
WOMAN IN TRIUMPH
She climbs mountains with the hardiness
of granite, gentleness of ferns.
Waterfall spray beads lashes with color.
Meditations reflect in mirror lake.
Sequoias lead her vision to where the sky
begins—clouds are flocks of wild doves.
In the valley, when raindrops splash poppies
pores magnify in orange reverie.
Her landscapes are varied, challenging.
She explores deserts: sage, mud cracks,
ocotillo, the horned toad, lizards,
blueness of the Panamints.
Notes pinned to tumbleweed blow back
across the dunes, leaning into moonlight.
At ocean beach she gathers shells.
Washing off sand and dust, she fingers
rainbows...sea breeze, wind from wings
of a thousand gulls.
When her landscapes are veiled, murky
she yields herself calmly to shadows
remembering to remember
shadows are cast by the sun.
(prev. pub. in anthology of literature on aging, Fierce With Reality, c. 2017)
MAX AT PICNIC TABLE
His T-shirt glowed
a neon hue
We think he knew
we glanced his way
when the T-shirt grew
three leafy shadows
in shades of blue.
THE PARK VISITOR
(on September 11, 2001)
When I chose a bench for meditation
a hummingbird hovered just above my head
as if my crown some longed-for open flower!
This curious, unexpected buddy
seemingly bound for surrounding gardens,
paused mid-flight. By whirring fan-like wings
he almost whizzed my shock past toppled towers
as though this tragedy had never happened.
Intent within my aura, this rainbow bird,
this comma or apostrophe in time,
as if he sensed my withheld grief, had stayed
by hovering—no reason I was sure of,
surprisingly near, so complimentary
my eyes released a humanizing mist.
Amazing: In clutch of lowest ebb and flow
there came an iridescent hummingbird.
of a redwood
—Claire J. Baker
After all we go through
in our own story
love becomes new
when heaven's curtain
rises to reveal
a glimpse of glory.
Many thanks to Claire Baker for today’s poems and photos on this, her 90th birthday! Happy birthday, Claire!
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