Barbara Grace Lake

Poetry & Other Crimes


© 2019 Barbara Grace Lake

This is not a personal experience but an imagining from the anguish of many with whom I have spoken. It is a blot on humanity that must be stopped. The terrorism of young children must stop. We need to do a better job of warning children about “funny uncles” or anyone else who touches them inappropriately. Let them know it is very OK to “tattle” on that person.

A child she was, so innocent
Clear eyes, sun brightened, rosy cheeks
Her pony tails in ribbons shone
Diminutive, sweet elf turned six
Delighted having fun with friends
Today ice cream and chocolate cake

Her Uncle Tom as silly clown
Beguiled young partiers for hours
Caressing every child he gave
Absurd balloon-made animals
“Tom’s always good to entertain
He loves wee tykes so very much”

That night when checking on the child
His words of love awakened her
He whispered, “Let me show my love
But this must always secret be”
And then his knife-hard penis stabbed
Her pain, her terror screams he choked

When done he cleaned her, changed her bed
And left no clue that she’d been touched
Each night when he would come again
She’d be too frightened now to cry
Nor tell her aunt or anyone
About her fear — her secret shame


© 2019 Barbara Grace Lake

Sun drowsed, I lay supine into
My tattered, cat-torn easy chair
First listening to cool music on
Son’s stereo, unwanted now;
Distractive voices, harshly drop
Unkindly racous at the door
Now gone, heard only in my head
Dry ashen ghosts of shadow brawls
Unhurried dissipating off
Allowing cherished time alone
Immersed in sound of silence


Mother’s Day is coming up shortly, so I thought it might be appropriate to repost this poem I wrote about my own mother last year.


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake
So downy soft with tender care
Returned a nestling to its tree
To see the worried mother bird
Fly home to nurture, help it grow


As gently lifting me
From cradle to her breast
To suckle till I fell asleep
And dream warm baby dreams


Accepting, loving, strong
How able as I grew
At shushing tears as anger burst
Or bandaging a knee


Black garden dirt they wore with pride
Ingrained in every crease
But rainbow blossoms graced our home
The gift her hands displayed


Long years they spent in usefulness
Till gnarled, blue veined in age
Still soft and loving, loved as her,
My Mother’s hands


© 2019 Barbara Grace Lake

I often feel like this, well, maybe not often, but sometimes.  How about you?


Invidious boredom, lethargy
Imposing sloth on torpid minds.
Black gaping maw of empty time
Too tired to do, too tired to be


© 2019 Barbara Grace Lake


If I believe in life
Could I deny that sentient beings
Exist beyond imagined sense,
Outside prevailing culture lore?


If I believe in life
Would I deny to any being
A life because of color, shape
As I’ve denied on earth to men


If I believe in life
I could not kill, imprison men
Advancing white supremacy
The proof no farther than my door


If I believe in life
Would I refrain from aiding those,
The storm tossed, ravished populace,
Though brown-skinned, our own island folk?


If I believe in life
I’d not illegal separate
The young from parents seeking help
To live their lives behind cage bars


If I believe in life
I’d share our lives among the stars
But ‘til we stop our madness here
I pray God keeps us on this world




At least through the next 3 weeks and possibly even until the end of May, I’m going to be offline.  I will be going through a host of medical tests and one surgery.  I hoping some of the tests will tell me why I cannot sit at my computer for more than 1/2 hour at a time without total back exhaustion, and just maybe show me how to get my blood pressure down.  The surgery is for cataracts to increase vision in one eye … I’ve already lost vision in the other one.

Don’t write me off, please.  I’ll be back . . . I hope.  At 87 things like this are to be expected.  So why didn’t I expect them?


© 2019 Barbara Grace Lake

I’m often asked what I believe.
Do I know God? Do angels sit
Upon my shoulders guiding me
To do what’s right else I’d be wrong?
And yet, without those astral hosts
Would I an evil person be?
In life I’d seen
To waiting death


I’ve lived my life eventfully
So many friends and lovers too
At times I help beleaguered man
More often they then help me grow
Becoming part of who I am
Becoming part eternally
As I’ve seen life
And beckoning death


But what of Heaven next I’m asked
What do you see at end of life?
Dear God it’s when I come to you
Returning to the source of all
Would Bible written “streets of gold”
Compare with spatial vaults of stars
No, not in life
Nor ever death


I’ll see and be small flickering flames
And watch them grow into vast worlds
I’ll see a comet’s origin
And flow with it across the void
I’ll see an ever-rising sun
Encompassing the whole of life
I’ll come to life
Where death is gone


© 2019 Barbara Grace Lake

Adorable her aunties thought
A her first timid “no”
In time those no’s became less shy
Ear splitting, thunderous roar
You’ll have to train her, now they said
Or she’ll a rebel be

Approaching her, so malleable
Unwisely they began
To rid fore’er her lexicon
Of “no,” and “no,” but “no”
You must be pleasant, compromise
Was skewered in her brain

At twelve her dates were parties, groups
Of scarcely less than eight
School dances, miniature golf or films
Activities allowed
Her preference often set aside
Refrained from saying “no”

As children do she reached sixteen
And dates for real began
Engagements still were innocent.
With kiss upon the cheek
Her Mom’s last cautionary words,
“Be sure you’re home by ten”

Progressive school curriculum
Sex education gave
The mother said “not for my child
Enticing her to sex
She’ll learn in marriage what she needs
And all she needs to know”

When handsome high school quarterback
Proposed a date with her
He claimed her in his father’s car
They went for food and beer
She later could not tell him “no”
Virginity was lost

But quarterback her bête noir
His avid teammates told
Too many relished giddy news
Of how a virgin crashed
In after days she stayed at home
Lay sobbing in her room

Her friends, distraught, abandoned her
Adults who might have helped
Instead, increased their cruel abuse
“Loose, common slut exposed”
All hope, all sense of self-worth gone
She ended her own life.


© 2019 Barbara Grace Lake

One step is all to mists beyond
Encircling, thick and hidden close
Outside of blankets, drug-like warmth
Of sleep and visions, comfort dreams
Is life revealed within dense mists?

I cannot see through mists beyond
Damp pulsing tendrils summon me
Too frightening without retreat
Of sheltering eaves, slate shadowed doors
Dare I reach far into those mists?

What will I find in mists beyond
Too thickly vaporous to see?
In life as death am I to go
Through fearful portal, shrouded gate?
Its call enticing, silent mists

I hesitate at mists beyond
Amorphous essence, swirling fog
Safe haven that it promises
Reach out. Its covenant says home
Will I step through dense mists beyond
…..Dense mists beyond
……….Dense mists beyond

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