Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Asking Stradivari

—Poetry by Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


My neighbor across the fence
has lit up his yard again
with all-white Xmas lights.
Is he nostalgic for stars
he never spots through town haze?
It’s a phase of cheering up neighbors?

Those smiling lights tweak my belief
in serendipitous beauty. Should I knock
on his door and share my reaction?
Or maybe, after all these years,
he reads me like a faded newspaper
or an aging eucalyptus leaf,
as he lights up all my dreamscapes?

Sometimes this stranger works
at night. I see his head bobbing along
beyond the top of his gray-board fence.


Buddy is my pet pooch—
soft white fur, not shy,
a big brown patch
over a small brown eye.

He sits on my bed board
casually attuned to my
sleeping and waking,
better at giving than taking.

This mystical night, I ask
reply, and await his nod:
Buddy, my found delight,
could you be partly God?

     in Vienna Woods       

If one evening
while strolling
a familiar path
a nightingale
sings to us
sweet and long
from a hidden
branch in his
realm of woods,
it is only fair that
some other evening,
on the same trail, that
we sing for the nightingale.


Did irritating
scratchings of a violin bow
in an alleyway below
spur you, father of the violin
to become
a master artisan
your essence filled
with adagios
and nocturnes?

Then you studied
and sought on explorations
the finest woods, strings
enamel and glue
that your masterpieces
would reproduce the purity
born of immortality?
We overhear Joshua Bell:
Yes, madam, it’s a Stradivarius.


Two naked children
leaning on a balcony, gaze
into the sky from a fine-art card.
They appear Tuscan & precocious,
dark curls wet, unruly as after a bath.
Their large feathered wings
fend off drafts from the Dolomites
& from the sea.

These toddlers
might be Mona Lisa’s sons?
Heads uplifted, do they watch
an orphan baby eagle they had
nursed into soaring flight?

The cherubs look confident,
as if they had aced their first
Latin exam, rewarded by
two scoops each of chocolate
gelato on a wafer cone
that dripped all over them
& quickly dried,

My angels are never far—
    now guarded by a frame
       so they won’t slip away, as
           terrible twos are prone to do.


Here’s to the Great Now
pulsating warmly, making wise
decisions that can rock one’s world.

This Now wants to be more Now.
Let’s vote into perpetuity
all the nows else they change
to then, or when, or how.
Savoring this very Now, we hold
personal awareness in our hands,
like cupping air from Stein’s there/there,
Yet Now’s real nature waxes finer
than any clever puns or literary flair.

In fact and fantasy, Now is
momentary, a mystery that inspires
us to nurture imagination,
begin to know the ins in intuition.
So, what’s around the corner,
what’s the true status quo,
our next carpe diem? Here’s to
restoring Latin in Manhattan

Carpe diem, indeed!

(First printed by UUCB’s Discussion Group)


Today’s LittleNip:

—Claire J. Baker

This moment
from blades
of grass
as if a baton
a gentle
a pastel chorus
grooves into
Consolation 3
by Liszt.


Our thanks to Claire Baker for her poetry today—always musical, she is! And congratulations to her for recently passing the 5,000 mark—5.000 poems published during her career, that is. Quite a milestone!

For more about violin maker Antonio Stradivari, see




A note that the Placerville Library
will present its Library Ofrenda Program
for Dia De Los Muertos this afternoon.
For info about this and other
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LittleSnake’s Glimmer of Hope
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leaf-shadows dancing
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