Barbara Grace Lake

Poetry & Other Crimes


© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake

When coming to a long day’s end
Those times of aching barren thought
My body motionless beyond
A twitch responding to a gnat
I look for comfort in My Chair

And when my mind devolves into
A sodden mass of unlit cells
Incapable of anything
But basic of all human needs
I find warm comfort in My Chair

My Chair most patiently awaits
It meets, absorbs all troubling times
Reducing fever, losing dread
Then on one day you look for me
My Chair might have absorbed me, too


© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake

What angst, what anger and despair
In struggling to obey cold laws
Like suffocating, phantom clouds,
Unyielding, joyless, deathly pale
Imposed on man, alleged from God

Could any man know mind of God?
Each wise man quotes a sacred scroll
But all are over-writ by man
“If ye have faith, ye will believe.”
Each shaman huckster’s faith insists

But if you’d listen not to priests
One voice is heard within your mind
It often lays your conscience bare
If God exists, this word’s from Him
No anguish, or demand for shame


© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake

Of all I know or sense or feel
There’s nothing in this world
That makes me feel so small
Of no importance, trivial
As when a friend is facing death

My issues do not, cannot count
But still for those I plead
My enemy is strong
I ask relief from suffering
But mine is pain not end of life

Those plead are young, deserving more
I’m almost eighty-nine
My tale’s both long and full
Still helpless, passively I watch
As silent they reluctant pass


© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake

Where has it gone
The thought I had a minute past
So fleeting, so ephemeral.
A problem solved?

Where do thoughts go
The ones I can’t retrieve
But nag from closets dimly lit
Within my mind

Perhaps a poem
Bright awesome in its clarity
It might have been a work of art
If ever found

And while I search
Continue on some lesser thoughts
Like words in ink I put to page
Assembled here


© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake


A wall exists, it lies within
And out … wherever stone or will
Call rigid cold design, despair
Of all unseeing darkened lives
Enbalmed in poisonous fetid air

Escaping home across the wall
Fair domiciled in comfort ease
All working lives left at the door
Gone cubicles, conscripted hours
Of fallow slogging industry

Now free for comfort, favored chair
Forget, forget the world outside
Inside restore an angst-free life
Enjoy good dinners, spousal joy
Alarms too soon will shatter you


© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake


By accident perfection found
For those who love our neighbor’s fare
Oh yes, say Viva Mejico
And, yes, say Viva Barbara
This recipe is mine to share

We start with one, one-quarter beef
Of course you know the meat is ground
Rough chop a medium, half large
Of what? Oh yellow onions, please
Now brown together with the beef.

Well is that all? No, no, there’s more
A can fire-roasted chilis, mild
Again a can of olives, sliced
One cup of shredded cheddar cheese
For topping, set aside as much

You’ll need a cup of sauce prepared
But save for later more than that
In just a minute you’ll see why
Two teaspoons jalapeno chopped
(Use either fresh or from a can)

Now salt and pepper, mix it all
Here’s where you change it to be yours
Add more of this, and less of that
Leftover rice, or last night’s beans
Just throw them in, they’ve found a home

Your sauce should cover bottom pan
Then in tortillas roll the mix
Be sure you keep the cut side down
When drizzling sauce on every roll
Please cover sparingly.  Don’t drown

Now for your supper’s finishing
A liberal touch of shredded cheese
Your enchiladas need some time
Say forty-five (45) in three fifty (350)
Take fork in hand. Your dinner’s done.

Bon appetit


© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake


Humming, humming, humming
Please go away, go far
You don’t belong

They come in crowding hordes
As one, a lethal force
Oh stay away

Hours we spent creating
Building squirrels a house
Hornets took it

They’ve found a home
One that they like
They will not leave

A hose-like deadly spray
Will see the hornets die
Still some survive


The Bee

© 2020 Barbara Grace Lake


A tiny fuzzy creature’s
Yellow striping warns
She’s busily impelled
Hovering, buzzing
Now alight, now in flight
Gently gathers, sharply fends

A life of servitude
Ne’er bound to us
Her pollen’s meant
For honey only
Cultured to sustain
Inchoate bees

Marauders dare devour
Hive’s golden hoard
Must pay a fearful price
In painful stings that last for days
But for the bee
Her sting’s her death

To gather pollen
And defend
It is her life


I see this piece, written a few years ago, as my gift to Memorial Day.  It could be any soldier in any war, always too young to die.

© 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 convulse the morning air
Three shots convulsing in my head
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, too young…too young to die.

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