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Barbara Grace Lake

CHALLENGE

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

An unlooked for source of encouragement came from Frances Kakugawa who has inspired me to expand my writing and, in so doing, experience abilities I thought beyond me.  I doubt if my use of the haiku will ever be as free and natural as those gentle but powerful gems of Frances, but I will explore and share my explorations.

 

Kind, lovely Frances
Urged a poet on to write.
Doubtful mind set free

As words encourage
Silent pen takes up the dare.
Dreaming knights wake up

Onward!  Ever on
Filling pages, or a verse.
Vivid minds create

Unused, living seeds
Might lay untouched infertile
Poet writes haiku

HOPE

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

When all hope dies
Can ever threads remain
Of former ties
To call it back again

Does hope join dreams
Mid broken solemn vows
As uttered means
Enthralling men to bow

But threads there be
So hope is still aware
Within a sea
Of monstrous self despair

We are alive
Our souls unfettered bare
And hope survives
If mantle we would wear

 

THANKSGIVING

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

Native tribes saw need
And helped newcomers planting
Corn, squash, beans they grew

Instead of hunger
Men had game and garden fruit
Food enough for all

They came together
Tribes and whites to share their feast
Gave thanks for friendship

One sings Great Spirit
Others bow to distant God
Prayers find both as One

I TREE

© 2015 Barbara Grace Lake

 

When Spring returns green

fingers stretch toward the sun

Roses bud in warmth

 

Under passing clouds

Small nestlings dance of hunger

Breezes sing in crown

 

Dressed in crimson gold

I take my leave from Summer

Snow geese pattern sky

 

I brave grim Winter’s

Icy kisses frozen touch

Red snow flowers bloom

 

TOO YOUNG

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

The minister told of his life
His barely eighteen years of life
The casket closed, his body ripped
A valiant soldier he, life shorn

Two years before and for three years
In Little League, my own son’s team
A flawless fielder, playing fair
He gave no quarter, asked for none

So when the summons came he went
To fight or perish far from home
To slay an enemy unknown
He served his country well, and died.

And now we put his casket down
Three shots, each echo in my head
Three shots, each crack the morning air
My choking, sobbing tears won’t stop

It’s not enough.  He gave his life
Three shots and taps and folded flag
In two more years he could be mine
My God, they’re young…too young to die.

I AM A LEAF

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

I am a tiny bud
So small you cannot see me yet
My tree absorbs life from the sun
And I absorb life on my branch
Before I dare come forth

Pale green then gently veined
To carry tree sap to my tip
And I, with all my sisters, reach
To flourish in a solar bath
Of radiant light and warmth.

All summer breezes pass
Through leafy boughs and hidden nests
Of agile squirrels, singing wrens
Who play by day and rest by night
Then come alive again

But now the air is chill
I feel me change, no longer green
My sisters, too, are red and bronze
Our tree no longer gives us life
I fall toward the earth

Oh, please don’t sweep me up
I am not trash to throw away
My colors have such beauty yet
Display me on your mantelpiece
Till I come green again

LIFE AND DREAMS

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

Another year of earthly turns
But was my birth one year ago?
Or twenty-five or eighty-five?
Oh, time enough, forgetting all
From noble aims ignoble loss
Self limiting despair–and yet

In life we share upon this world,
This tiny speck in all of space,
Such hopes, defeats and even toil
That each may claim a life beyond
The struggle we encounter here
Perhaps to wear a crown of stars.

 

AND NOW I LAY ME

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

And now I lay me down to sleep,
My raucous bell to ring at dawn
For leeway still to read the news,
Attend to all the things I’d choose
To miss except for habit’s keep.
I pray for God my soul to keep
While heavy lids are downward drawn,
One last unseen escaping yawn,
Ere daily strife to Morpheus lose.

And if I die before I wake,
My prayer as life by rote avow,
I rise and dress and eat and toil
From unknown challenges recoil,
In mind alone will fancy take.
I pray for God my soul to take,
All worldly trappings disavow
In hope a flensing stroke somehow
Will strip the stains of sterile soil.

WHAT IS A LIFE?

© 2016 Barbara Grace Lake

 

What is a life
Not life unanswered on this side of death
But all things rife
That lend to dreams solidity and breath

Just one full life
My own if gentler nature be not spared
What is this life
My own or compromise of meanings shared

Am I the sum
In part a composite of fragments torn
Relinquished from
All others’ woven fabric patched and worn

Is my life then
A quilt from other lives, a composite
Completed when
The quilt can hold no more, or seams will split

But if I take
From them, would they not take some part from me
And thus remake
A patching of their own unto infinity

And to those parts
In measure to my own, what do I owe
By counterparts
Is life, all life, my life, one merged tableau?

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