Barbara Grace Lake © 2000


“Night Watchman”

One weary trudging figure bent
Upon his solitary rounds
His lonely vigil night watch walking
Hollow footstep echoes clocking
Pauses ‘tween each breath held pent
To silent guise no furtive sound
Portending ill he needs prevent
Lest in remission guilt compound

“City Lights”

Their orbs contest for glory all
The hacks array of tinseled, massed
Chromatic, pulsing, searing arcs,
Fire branding artificial marks
Upon a teeming urban mall
Whose denizens but hasten past
In bored surfeit of blaring calls
To try or buy – to dine – repast

“Young Couple”

Thin blue-jeaned boy, mascara’d lass
In impudence of non-adults
Enlaced in walking arm-in-arm
Forgetting manners, lacking charm
All clanging clamor cymbal brass
Confusing us with strange new cults
Defying rules of social class
That we’ve enured in stuffy vaults

“Shop Windows”

Set past the lights in musty shops
Their prisms black reflecting nought
Must mutely watch from day to week
Forever destined not to speak
Each pane a brooding dark cyclops
In silence keeping to their thoughts
In life remaining only props
To witness well the human lot

“Dark Alley”

A sound? A cat a mouse has braved
Then scurried off in panic flight?
Or building super working there?
So dark! – Is someone lurking there
Intent to rob or more depraved
Would take my life for morning’s light
To show my form could not be saved
No breath nor pulse but chilling white?

“A Panhandler”

Pray, was this man to whom I gave
In change for what relief he sought?
Or animal? A broken thing?
What life was this for him to cling
Yet ever reaching t’ward his grave
By finding solace in his draught?
Would man not labor, sooner slave
Than drink by drink in hell be bought?

“Parkway Trees”

They challenge all who else might dare
Try pass each darkened silhouette
Tall forward linesmen standing guard
By their abodes against petard
Small breezes whisper, “Who goes there?”
Until assured no harm is meant
For those entrusted in their care
Before low branches nod consent

“Small Nightlings”

So quickly merging into dusk
With peers of nature’s hidden shy
Whose needs await the covering dark
For instinct’s prodding to embark
A timid field mouse under brush
From hunger dares an owl on fly
While faintly wafted scent of musk
Forewarns defenseless creatures hie


Would sight I ever need to view
Fall roses, fragrant, high and thick
Whose dense aroma’s silent shout
Must call abandoned senses out
I need not see their vibrant hues
To feel their armor’s stinging prick
To taste their petals’ moistening dew
Or feel their soft caress of silk


They fashion ebon’s ritual dress
In consecrated altar fires
A shrine of breadth and magnitude
Bestilled in awesome solitude
Transforms the rocky mountain crests
Into majestic temple spires
Impelling man to further quests
Than he’d unhallowed ever sire