Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tabula Rasa

Anonymous Photo
—Poetry by Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA


As a satellite image
on a magazine page
hurricane Irma
(after Harvey & Maria)
looks hauntingly hypnotic—
a monolithic snowball
blown by supersonic winds
into an abstract,
a calm blue eye riveting
in the center.

California earthquakes
trigger ultra-sensitive
seismometers to etch
tiny black lines
on a Richter scale. Ah,
pen strokes by Da Vinci
loosening his hand
before rendering
an immortal sketch.

An electrocardiogram
of a healthy heart—
a civil engineer's
blueprint of a zany
suspension bridge
from California
to Hawaii.


On a dusty track in summer
sunlight, wearing sky-blue
warm-up suit and running shoes,
she sits way back in her chair,
head lowered, lips tightened,
stunted arms pulling hard.
Slowly she rolls around the track.

College sprinters
run for a while in her wake,
then speed ahead,
sometimes touching the chair
as if to send her gliding
all the way—a boost
for a gutsy gal.
Then she pulls harder,
determined as any Indy driver.

On days she doesn't show,
they ask.

(first pub. in Marin Poetry Center
Anthology, 2016)


Two Latin words,
"tabula rasa," tablet erased,
mind cleared, begin afresh.

Astronauts collected specimens
on the moon, zoomed back
to planet earth, landed
on the sea, as planned.
Tabula rasa, moon and sea.

Images in flux change
faster than a blink...Sleep
provides respite, rest,
Tabula rasa, sleep.

Another war finally ends.
Dignitaries gather around
a table, treaty signed,
World citizens relax a notch.
Tabula rasa, peace.

In a still pond,
as we meditate, serenity
rows placidly by on
dragonfly wings
iridescent as inspiration.
Tabula rasa, dragonfly
and meditation.


frisking a meadow
in the rain
are more familiar
with water's
oxygen and flow
than any engineer
thrusting his pole
deep into Sierra snow.


We walk in woods, wondering
if  bare limbs can comfort us, or
what we can offer dripping trees
in a gray-on-gray terrain.
Our roots quake. We tremble.
Fog obscures the way,
mistletoe chokes branches;
mushrooms glare, toads gloat;
no birds sing, yet.

Ferns filigree over our boots.
The foggy wall crumbles, reveals
a path we can follow...We have

journeys to plan & complete,
lyrics near our hands &
at our feet; music to extract
out of storm & stone—
a winter landscape to translate
into a language of our own.


Today’s LittleNip:

(an hour after rain)
—Claire J. Baker

A large pothole
on a country road
reflects a
deep blue sky
a white cloud
along its edges.


Our thanks to Claire J. Baker for today’s fine poetry, and a reminder that Cal. Lawyers for the Arts will present Jon Martin, CPA, talking about how artists and the self-employed can “Relax With Tax” tonight, 6:30pm, 2015 J St., Sacramento. You must register; scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 —Anonymous Photo
—Celebrate poetry!

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.