Barbara Grace Lake

Poetry & Other Crimes


© 2021 Barbara Grace Lake

What might I dream if dreams are gone
When gone where do they go?
Do they leave imprints
Any sign that they were here?

Could they have left by their intent
Or did they lose their way?
Is there a shelter
Cosseting my vanished dreams?

Please tell me, if this place exists
Then, might I go there, too
Rejoin my dreams
And merge in their reality


© 2021 Barbara Grace Lake

Frenetic turns, fouettés
Of branch, contorted, wild
Still fiercely spinning dervish
Uncontrolled Mosaic of lightness,
Dark against whipped gingko leaves

Intensely golden luminescence
Graceful, softly flowing ferns
Bright patches on a dark montage
Of slowly moving trunks
Mid leafy slivers, sunlit blue

They dance. They dance,
Upon a living stage, behind them
Still before them, till diminished
Lesser winds unfetter them
To shapes conferred in life


© About 1995 Barbara Grace Lake

I wrote the following article some time ago. Upon rereading it, I found it as relevant to day as when I first wrote it.

Driving home one rainy evening, a man at my off ramp stands begging for enough to feed his family. My companion indignantly demanded, “Don’t give him a dime. He probably makes more money than those who work for a living.” Really? He’s standing there, shivering in the rain. This is easier than working? Unfortunately, with nothing to give, I opened the window, saying, “I’m sorry, buddy. Have better luck tomorrow.” Unlike my companion, I could not hate the man because of my own guilt at being unable to ease his pain.

There’s no use denying that we dislike many things, and some of them strongly enough to call the feeling hatred. It might be a color, a type of music or a vegetable. Even former president George H. W. Bush admitted that he hated eating broccoli. While everyone hates something, most of it is harmless stuff. I have yet to hear of broccoli attacking anyone.

In a world few of us now remember, the period prior to World War II was our “age of innocence.” Yes, we were bigots. Yes, we were racists, but we didn’t know it. We didn’t hate anyone. Did we? It was the way things were. Besides, we had our hands full surviving the Great Depression. In that regard, everyone we knew, friends, neighbors, everyone was in the same situation, trying to keep our boats from sinking.

Then came World War II, the last time this country was truly united. Our enemies were trying to conquer the world. We passionately hated both the Germans and Japanese. They were evil. We were good. Our mission was to conquer evil, to free the world from tyranny.

Since then, the Russians (USSR), Cubans, North Vietnamese, North Koreans and Chinese came under our radar of hatred. We waged war against both the legally elected government in Nicaragua and insurgents in El Salvador. The enemy was Communism. After that, we hated Palestinians, Iranians and Iraqis. With the end of the Soviet Union, however, our enemies merit little more than a passing ‘darn’ or ‘drat.’

So We send American troops to fight in remote areas, like Somalia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, places most Americans cannot find on a map. As hard as we tried, these skirmishes did not rise to the level of soul-consuming hatred. The protection of our interests, our shores, was not involved.

What then do we do with our pent-up rage? Without an outside target, we turn it inward on our own. Many, while denying personal bigotry, feel justified in hating others based on their faith, sexual orientation, race or economic level. We hate the poor and homeless, call gays and lesbians immoral and in defiance of God’s laws. As if man had the right to decide what God ordains.

We hide these biases under the cover of morality, religious law and/or political views. Very simply put, we hate anyone who differs from ‘us.’ It still leaves a stench in the air, and at times the miasma of hate is almost choking.

Obviously, we cannot forbid personal feelings. However, if you ever wondered where hate criminals come from, the answer is simple. We twist their souls, feeding them from the angst and hatred in our own.


© 2021 Richard Lake

I am trying to convince my son, Richard to continue writing. When I read this one aloud I dissolved in a torrent of tears from the sheer power of his writing. Let me know what you think. Comments. Please!!!

Set me free

Release me from these chains
created by an image that never was
oh wicked slavery
that denies my humanity
there is no marble goddess
or burning inner flame
release me
to be human once again
to feel
emotions of hate, envy, fear, lust
and yes emotions of love and lost love
this is my right as a human
to feel everything and to learn from everything
emotions that set me free
to create myself in my mind’s eye
to be free
to hear heaven echo with my laughter
to drown the world with my sadness
unfettered by shackles of self restraint
of an shallow image of height and width
but not the depth of me
free at last
I may become the guiding flame you seek
or not
I may tease you, taunt you, drive you mad
so you become your own guiding flame
just so I can roast marshmallows
on the fire of your soul



© Barbara Grace Lake

I felt your touch
And murmurred in my sleep
I see you, but you’re gone
Then when I woke I looked
I looked for you as you were close
No farther than another room

Each night you closer seemed
Amid confused fatigue
I sleepwalked through each day
Then looked for you each night
To see you as as I slept
And looked again at dawn

Your presence gave me peace
But every morning gone
Instead of waking I would sleep
But no, your presence came to warn
And once again my body’s whole
I miss you Mom


I am sorry to have been off, and sorry to have given the impression of uncaring to my fellow writers. The fact is a growing exhaustion made it almost impossible for me to write either on or off line. That exhaustion was the first symptom of a failing heart. We, my doctors, the hospital and me, have stopped (or delayed) the current failure and with care I can live fully for another 10 years or so . . . . but who really wants to be 100 . . . . I’m 89 now. All I can do is be sorry I haven’t been attentive. I’ll try to do better hereon in.


© 2021 Barbara Grace Lake

I chose in care
A man experienced, serene
Brown eyes, black hair, a friendly smile
He welcomed me

Back then my hair was dark
Skin fair, but still unlined
I prayed he’d ease my current ills
And keep me well

Our visits few
Yet over time a nexus grew
Few doctor/patients know
That bond is ours

From knowledge into hope
No stronger bond of trust exists
To gentle hands I gave my life
He gave it back again

And over time
As always age will rob the young
Grey frames my facial lines,
His hair turned white

When did I get so old?
When did my doctor age?


© 2021 Barbara Grace Lake

I am her keeper
I warn, I nag I surround
If wounded, I will bleed
If wounded deeply I can die
I am her conscience
She leans on me for rightness
Though often denied
And often called by epithets
When I say no
The last of me will only be
When she exists no more
If I’ve done well
I comfort those she leaves
Who mourn for her
I am her keeper.


© 2021 Barbara Grace Lake

Please tell me when my radio
Became an unused derelict
Along with other disused junk
Its time gone by, another age
Like irons or my ironing board

I often take that iron out
To dust it off, then put it back
The record changer on the shelf?
Is dusted, too. No changing discs
Pandora does a better job

My bottom kitchen drawer contains
Mid many useful (idle) things
A whisk that stops on every turn
It won’t whip cream. Why keep the tool?
From Gramps’ old kitchen, ‘twas a gift

“Hey lady! You forgot ‘bout me.”
Said old and grumpy coffee can
Now home to every rubber band
Retrieved like some from broccoli stalks
The bands not broc for use again

We come to clothes, a few too small
Retained as they might fit next year
I welcome friends who help me sort
But shriek on seeing favorites culled,
“For Heaven’s sake don’t throw that out!!!”

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