Barbara Grace Lake

Poetry & Other Crimes


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


What if in cruelty hunters win
See regal elephants succumb
To bullets piercing flesh and heart
And at the last these ancients die

What if a fear of swimming sharks
Majestic mammals of the sea
A species old before man’s birth
Should lose their battle, disappear

What if all lions’ tawny hides
Hang bodiless upon man’s wall
As souvenirs of hunting skill
But lost for all the lion’s roar

What if the wolf pack hunting deer
No longer kills, is never heard
The elders shot at planted bait
Wolf babies poisoned in their den

What if all creatures killed by men
Will not again inhabit earth
But man’s a hunter, trained to kill
What will he hunt but other men?


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake

A baby breathes its first long breath
Years later breathes a shuddering last
Between two breaths a life is spent
Unknown is how the die was cast

How did this person use that life
In thought of others, or of ease
How many markers on the way
Show guiltless aims or taint reprised

One breath, just one, the difference
Between a truth or truth betrayed
The choice is there, at times unseen
But none can choose another’s way

What value did this person place
Upon the young, help steer them from
Seductive paths of errancy
Missteps to which they might succumb

Or what temptations did he face
To choose dishonor if for gain
Who benefited from his being
Because he walked a road unstained

A world rejoices that he lived
This simple human being of worth
The cosmos welcomes him at last
Into the portage made at birth


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


When kitty wakes me every day
With softly mewing, snuggles, purrs
And gently cat-like cleans my face
It’s kitty love

When playing ball, a child strikes out
Dejectedly he leaves the field
His dugout teammates comfort him
It’s friendship love

The man I chose is challenging
He fails to fit the mold I need
I wonder as he’s walking out
If this was love

But children five I have of him
They fight, they quarrel, and make up
They also comfort, ease each pain
It’s kinship love

When listening to the masters play
A Liszt or Haydn offering
The faces of musicians shine
Because it’s love

Because it’s love


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


Dimming shades we use on panes
To give us privacy at night
And dull the glare of summer days
They’re never meant to hide the light.

Nor were they meant to hide behind
Obscuring panels opening out
Nor shaped to shutter, darken minds
Increasing fear, recurring doubts

Throw up that darkened window blind
Enjoy a golden, sunlit breeze
While tossing shackles from your mind
Now let your thoughts adventure free


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


Just give me a minute I’ll tell you a tale
About the first time I went hunting for snipes
Yes truly the first and a final time, too
Because as experience, once is enough

It started one day when a good friend of mine
Declared he was homesick and tired of town noise
I’m missing my folks and I’m missing my trees
I’m missing the carefree existence I knew

He asked me to come, he said plenty of room
We’ll have lots of fun and my family you’ll love
So city girl started out rucksack in tow
To weekend with people that she’d never known

We drove and we drove along twisted dirt roads
Not mentioning that they seemed awesomely steep
And hugging the rim of a sheer mountain side
We finally got to my friend’s family home

The first thing I saw were some rickety stairs
That led to a ramshackle two-story house
Its porch was lop-sided, the eave cover sagged
The yard held an outhouse. That’s all that they had

Our cleansing off travel took turns at the sink
They had running water, piped in from a spring
To use making coffee or boiling potatoes
For cooking they fired up the wood in the stove

They did have electric, a line from below
For once-a-week use of their washing machine
But other than that kerosene lamps were there
But what after dark could the folks do for fun

It’s time to get clean, we can have us a war
Just don’t douse the stove or we’ll never be fed
They’re talking of water, I covered my head
Then tossed a big pitcher full out through the door

I’m sorry to say that the brothers played rough
As poured through the window a washtub of stuff
I’m drenched and I’m drowned, and I’m sputtering mad
But helpless with laughter when sweeping the floor

The very next night eldest brother declared
We need some fresh meat, we’ll go hunting for snipes
You only can hunt them at night I was told
You game? I was asked so I choked and said yes

We’ll go up the hill and then chase the snipes down
They’re frightened of us so they’ll run right to you
Just usher them in to your sack and we’ll have
Some savory snipes for our dinner tonight

And there I stood trustingly sack in my hand
Beguiled or befuddled by innocent youth
Quite possibly duped into stretching the truth
No snipe would I catch for they do not exist

The next day we left on the roads going home
With baskets of food to consume on the way
But lest a kind person thinks I was misused
Rest easy, this girl had the time of her life


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


So beautifully this day bestows
Shape-changing clouds upon a base
Of brilliant turquoise tinted sky
Repeated in compressed blue ice
Of ancient glaciers endless flow

Horizons edge begins and ends
Where blue-green sea meets aqua loft
No separation line is seen
Far distant color thins to air
To merge into a spatial void

Pristine the night, both clear and cold
A meteor from distant space
Streaks etching fire across the vault
Whose roof of iridescent stars
Are beacons, bright and beckoning

From garden’s bower in leafy shade
My dogwood’s tallest branches sway
Its shadows cast upon broad sweep
A home to mockingbirds their songs
Awaken every living being

Warm summer evenings into dark
Plum mountain peaks impale the night.
As sun resigns, its last full rays
Bring alpine glows magenta, red
Majestic gift for looking up


© 1975 Barbara Grace Lake


My day is done, all strife arrest,
A thankful time of still content.
No task undone, no call advent,
To halt or stay my welcome guest.
My book’s aside, its mark in place,
Come gently sleep, do not relent
Or tarry long your kind embrace,
With but one touch all cares erase,
One whisper, ever more to rest.


© 1970 Barbara Grace Lake


Night is ending and with the sun’s ascension into the greyness of softly dawning skies,

The luminescence of countless shimmering stars etching the still darkness is gently swept away

And with the dawn comes renewal of hope and warmth and courage for those who have buried yesterday’s sighs

Into the recession of sleep and dreams that yet may be fulfilled in the creation of another day.


© 2018 Barbara Grace Lake


For days we’ve borne a killing heat
Temp readings in high nineties, more
Sun slammed to near unconsciousness
Beneath skies pitilessly blue

Cool freshened ocean breeze flows up
An ancient river course to bring
First hint of moisture, clouds for shade
A gentle pattering of drops

With hope presaging cooling rain
I lift my face to taste the fall
Each welcome drop caresses skin
And rinses clean the dust of heat

As torrents come, I toss my hat
And fling my shirt and shoes aside
And naked run in bracing streams
Cascading down my outstretched arms

Blog at

Up ↑