TWENTY LINES ON TIME
Why try to catch time
by the tail,
tame it to our own tempo
when we can’t even
trace its shadow?
In time, a few curious may
try to TIME time?
Not an Einstein or Copernicus,
not able to see through
black holes or bend
with the curvature of space,
they’ll give up, go back to timing
Olympic swimmers or race horses?
There’s grace in s l o w m o t i o n —
a slowing down time in time
to become comfortably aligned
with one’s own breathing….
And now this question:
How much time does it take
to shape and refine one’s soul?
Have we the will and time enough?
In Tilden Park, Berkeley
A gaunt stranger wheelchairs
up to our picnic tables.
We welcome him, offer a full
plate. He doesn’t introduce
himself and eats nothing
of what we offer.
This Indian summer in Berkeley.
we writers chat under bay trees
beside a meadow where boys
fling Frisbees into updrafts,
the colorful discs flying as far
as pollen and prayers.
The visitor to our annual picnic
sits as silently among us
as bay leaves falling everywhere.
Will soon his tree of life appear bare?
Is our visitor a prominent writer
we should recognize, or once had?
TOP OF THE HILL
We elders live on a lofty oasis
dead-ending at an Emergency Gate
which slides open if activated
by fire trucks, ambulance,
a police car’s red light circling
like drunken laughter.
Outside drivers ignore, or seldom
spot our dead-end sign. So they
roar up our hill! Seeing cute
crones and crusty codgers,
mostly they u-turn back down.
We’re a cruising-around impulse
for mischief or misadventure,
but, hey, when their hair is gray,
they may sing a different lay.
A few daredevil skateboarders
adopt our hill for thrills—
but not for long, the climbing back
too steep! We wise elders win big bets
with fortuna by placing our bucks
on the horse named Miracle.
VOTE WAR DOWN AND OUT !
When brought back by popular demand,
wouldn’t Sustainable Peace be grand,
no uniforms, boots, caps lined up for
citizens to fill, then grab their weapon!
No more 100-plus heat in alien deserts
for soldiers living in tents—
intense indeed, while loved ones
await their warrior’s return.
What even to write a family
back home to make war
assignments appear humane,
routine in disguise—write lies?!
Soldiers are seldom at ease,
with hidden roadside bombs,
plus two or more tours of duty,
brief return home, rest up, fly back.
War’s a blasted boomerang!
Within the spirals of life’s rousing ride
we carry DNA and spirit prints,
plus drama, foibles, freedoms and talents
through every primal and transcendent fire.
Attempting to master loop-the-loops, we lean
to milder turns and fewer jarring dips—
delighted when we pause and compromise,
cast sun on polar views and clear the fog,
shine up some stellar acts reflecting love.
When joy bear-hugs and we hug snugly back,
we sip the tasty tea of miracles,
believe that we will thrive on earth forever…
Yet, somewhere on the journey, planets which
had circled, marked our birthplace, tumble free:
the helix starts to memorize our passage.
When we can cling no longer, the helix
gives us wings for letting go. Then we rise,
pick out our own blue hammock in the sky.
(Dancing Poetry Festival, Grand Prize, 2005;
prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 11/20/22)
GRANDMOTHERS, “ON CALL”
For Karen and others: A Smith Sonnet
Responsive, skilled, grandmas model hope.
If the family’s chosen path turns steeper,
they’ll urge: pull off your boots and rest, for soon
alpine meadows will shine . . . Mothers of moms—
selfless on call like angels, guardians,
somehow find energy to meet our needs . . .
When watching grandkids climbing treetop high,
they wait to comfort, bandage, praise or hug.
Through gravitational tuggings from the earth,
their balanced-head-with-heart lends timely care.
These elders make an art of nurturing;
and grandkids light her candle when she nears.
In reading Grandma’s earnest eyes, we fall
for winks: my love’s not far, not far at all!
—Claire J. Baker
on a bare-
Our thanks to Claire Baker today for fine poems, including two in forms and one (20 lines) in sorta-form. Claire is a frequent contributor to our Form Fiddlers’ Friday, as well.
For upcoming poetry happenings in
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