Barbara Grace Lake

Poetry & Other Crimes


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


A summer hot and humid day
At times a coastal breeze will flow
Up river stream’s meandering
(The current old before first men
Made nets to bring its bounty home)
And cool a river bather’s skin
Inflamed to red from summer’s sun

More strongly in my garden trees
It rocks firm branches, pummels leaves
Disturbing birds who squawk their ire
Before they see their nest is safe
Their raucous voice is similar
To shrieking hurled at raiding squirrels
Who dare come near their nested eggs

Today’s too hot for squirrel raids
He’s laying on a branch spread out
To nab each errant breeze that comes
To ruffle fur and cool his skin
His sparrow foe no better off
Wings spread apart beak open wide
Pursuing cooling, saving air

So delicately hued, the sky
An innocent appearing blue
Without a blemish or a cloud
Or rarely seen a filmy one
Will drift until it dissipates
Into the higher reach of wind
And vanish slowly from my sight

Beneath the sky, below my trees
The air sits like a sticky paste
Adhering clothes to skin and hair
The wind through branch rejuvenates
But under them lies stifling heat
If I go out I’m stripping down
To  soak in puppy’s wading pool


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


When men allege belief in God
And by their acts cause others pain
Did God dictate to man, control
His thoughts, his actions, words or fate
Why blame your God?

And does the God to whom men bow
Direct them to be pitiless
Demeaning those whom they perceive
As born imperfect or unwise
Is this your God?

Did God create diversity
Of color, form or shape of eyes
For men to hew down other men
Enslaving those of lower caste
God ordered this?

Our God created worlds sublime
Lush beauty, awesome magnitude
That every child could share a bit
And see the majesty to come
This is God’s work.

No universal God permits
Abuse and cruelty in His name
No God avows a hate-filled act
When men conclude God grants this right
They have no God.


© Barbara Grace Lake


Between deep sleep and wakefulness
I sink into a softened bed
My pillow gently cradles me
Warm blanket snugs about my neck

But dreams then come within my view
Their vivid colors wash my day
A long gone cousin’s come to call
Dear Brenda always made me laugh

I see the patterned curtaining
And light that comes through window panes
So bright it seems unnatural
But I am cozy, comforted

Confused I ask where did she go
The dream so real it must be true
Which is more real, life or the dream
My comfort lies within the spell


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


Child born today, I only wish
you’d waited till the world was calm
For stable parents’ nurturing
For lessons they could teach their child

Child born today, I wish for you
A better life than we can give
The village needed for your care
Does not exist, forever gone

Child born today, your parents failed
To think about the life they made
You’re unexpected, but you’re here
So others raise you teach their views

Child born today, you have to know
Your father’s off to fight a war
It doesn’t matter which or where
For you it means he won’t be here

Child born today, you came too soon
You cry because you’re comfortless,
You dad’s at war, your mom’s at work
But still you’ll live, perhaps survive

Child born today, I offer hope
A hope your sitters teach you love
With color blindness as to skin
Or shape of eyes or curly hair

Child born today, when you’re a teen
It’s late to learn what helps you grow
When hate’s ingrained you will not love
You cannot even love yourself.

Child born today, what will you do
With life you didn’t ask to have
You can’t go back, it’s far too late
I cry for you child born today


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake

[Not quite yet, but I may request this one be read at my funeral]

Today one born, an ancient dies
From birth to death a speck in time
For those involved along its path
Each second an infinity

Today I leave my cane behind
And barefoot walk upon cool grass
Enjoying blades between my toes
The warmth of sun upon my face

Today in all my time on earth
I’ll live and love and laugh and feel
Immerse myself in joy of life
Confound all shadows of despair

Today I will unaided dance
On mountains, deserts, sea and clouds
Before me beauties never seen
Fulfilling, filling all I am

Today I see with clarity
How intermingled life revolves
From author and imagining
From life towards eternity





© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


I thought of you today
I wondered if you’d like
The gift I chose for you
So very long ago

I thought of you today
I miss your cheeky grin
I miss the way you’d give
Then do without yourself

I thought of you today
So many trips we took
Exploring hidden paths
We’d never gone before

I thought of you today
Your gift sits in my drawer
The one you were too ill
To see or care about

I thought of you today
As every day I do
And wishing you were here
To give your gift to you


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


A look into my dogwood tree
Shows silken blossoms blinding white
A hint of green where buds will leaf
A tree’s new love

Azaleas boldly red on green
Camellias gently pink and white
They shine for all but once a year
Their gift of love

Blue skies may herald summer’s gain
Hot sun too strong makes some plants wilt
The next day heavens open up
The rains of love

My orange trees give shade and fruit
Their crowns are home to squirrels, birds
Where mockingbirds can sing all day
Their song of love

The courtship rituals are past
New birdlings loudly pipe their need
Winged parents nurture, coddle till
They leave for love

In constant motion back and forth
From tips of trees to wires to roofs
Their wings buoyed up by love of flight
For them pure love


© Barbara Grace Lake


At summer’s end my cycle starts
My leaves once green now rust and red
No artist’s pallet renders true
The wonder of my leaves in fall

A carpet laid below my crown
So softly drifting to the ground
For merry children’s gleeful play
At tossing leaves to watch them fly

I’m not bereft left unadorned
With branches tall and willowy
To dance on every friendly breeze
Or etch upon the morning sky

When all of winter graceful limbs
Induce a harmony of green
Returning life to smallest twig
Where tiny buds of white appear

Each day I watch their steady growth
A waiting game, my branches full
Each nub upon a bed of green
Until at last they open out

My hour of glory’s here, I sing
A radiant sun takes up the song
Reflecting back my petals’ fire
Explosive, blasting blinding white

Green leaves will follow, birds will come
Such songs they sing and nests they build
Till autumn turns my leaves to red
My cycled life begins again


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


Can I be me
Unaided and alone
Nor slave to any one
Defining role

A forest me
Erect within a field
Absorbing floral scents
And they are me

A cat is me
The puma’s steady gaze
Would daunt, intimidate
Becoming me

Still I am me
Celestial stars above
Consuming, hallowing
Envelop me

And I am me
My nature not defined
Nor Heaven split apart
For all are me

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