Category Archives: Love

Yes

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Driving alone toward Zion National Park in southern Utah one night, the full moon appeared above the redrock cliffs, shining large and bright and white.  I found myself suddenly flooded with tender emotions, wanting desperately to hold and be held.  I wrote this poem to help me remember the image of the immaculate moon, and my emotions upon spying her.  Please do me the honor of understanding that this is not a sex poem.  Rather, this is a poem about the powerful and wonderful feelings that can accompany intimate romantic love, even across great geographic distance.

YES

I want to make love to the moon.

I want to caress her creamy, naked curves.

I want to whisper grateful sobs for withholding nothing but judgment.

Would she deign, I would make gentle, generous love to the moon.

A Perfect Match

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“Such a cute couple!”  “They are so good together!”  I have heard these and other phrases so often about couples, young and old.  But what does it take to make a perfect match?  “Opposites attract,” says the cliche, though I’m not sure I believe it.  It is that we admire in our partners what we lack, or do we feel more comfortable with someone similar to us in personality and demeanor?  In this poem I explore two sides of a relationship that differ and yet complement.  I admit to tending more toward the second half of each couplet, though the poem is not (necessarily) autobiographical.  What are your opinions about what makes the perfect match?  Let me know by leaving your comment!

A PERFECT MATCH

impulsive
deliberate

spontaneous
self-conscious

hopeful
fearful

self-possessed
over-shoulder-watching

free-thinking
conforming

curious
contemplative

ebullient
restrained

giggling
steady now

disciplined
falling off the wagon

fun-loving
nose to the grindstone

inclined toward cheerfulness
tending to be sad

star-gazing
spot-scrubbing

bibber
tee-totaler

go to hell
I’m sorry

let’s go!
we’re late

bratwurst
sauerkraut

pedal to the floor
foot on the break

effusive
reserved:

beautifully broken

secretly afraid:

a perfect match

Wood Lamp: Joia

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Writing a letter to his Grandpa Baker (80) this morning for father’s day, Hyrum (14) turned to me and asked, “Grandpa has been finding some cool wood for me to make lamps out of.  Do you think he would like one of my lamps as a father’s day present?”  “I’m sure he would love it,” of course I replied.

Hyrum found the piece of wood for this little lamp when working for a friend to clear his yard and flower gardens of weeds.  Obscured by the weeks was the small stump of a dead evergreen.  Hyrum could see the potential in this dead stump.  He asked if he could make something out of it, brought it home, and began to give it new life as a lamp.

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We made bases for small lamps by cutting discs off the end of an old cedar fence post.  The wood was old and cracked, but we wood-glued the pieces together, allowed them to cure, then ran them through a neighbor’s planer.

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We named the little lamp Joia, a joyous Portuguese word meaning “gem.”  Hyrum gave Joia to his Grandpa today, the same Grandpa that inspired our lamp-making in the first place with his lamp Timponogos, about 55 years old.  Grandpa seemed as pleased to receive the lamp as Hyrum was to gift it.  This little gem of a lamp has connected the generations with memories and a common love of creation and beauty.

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Three Quilts

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All parents have had the experience of children wandering into their room late at night, afraid or disoriented, and asking, “Can I sleep with you?”  Rather than be angry or annoyed, we merely laid out the spare quilts, sewn by the children’s grandmothers.  And we all fell asleep again.  Waking early for work, I tip-toed over and around my sleeping children.  Home in the evening, their quilts lay on the floor like the discarded skins of pupaed caterpillars taken flight.  I hope you enjoy my poem memorializing that recollection.

THREE QUILTS

Three quilts lie in a corner of my room,
folded, again, neatly, again;
three queen-size quilts
sewn and tied by gifting grandmothers
who rest under blanketing memory,
leaving to me these warm tokens.

From night-sleep stupor,
I hear distantly the click of a switch, and a flush,
an apologetic knocking, and a whispered “Dad,”
more like the hiss of heavy breathing than a name.
In my knowing, I find the corners
of a folded quilt and toss it out its full length
upon the floor, by the bed, where there’s room.
I could order them back to their beds, but
there seems to always be room.

In the obscurity of my morning,
I have sense enough
to step gingerly over and around
the boys, asleep in their quilted cocoons;
my boys, rising each day
with a deep life-breath yawn and
a stretching of slumber-stiff limbs,
flying from their crumpled quilts,
like the discarded skins of metamorphosis, with
only air and sky ahead.

Bliss

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I have always believed that a state of bliss in this mortal life is possible, achievable.  Perhaps not perpetual bliss, but certainly repeated blissful moments. I’m not talking about happiness, enjoyment, pleasure, or even joy. But bliss: a state of utter contentment and peace. I have been challenged in this ideal by those who I most hoped would believe along with me. Admittedly, bliss does not describe my normal state of being, or anyone’s, perhaps. In this poem, however, I declare the possibility of bliss and my determined intention to pursue bliss until I find bliss. I hope that you believe in bliss.

BLISS

You told me one day what
you believed bliss to be:
a sham, a ruse, a vanity,
a thing we chase
from dawn till dusk,
and dream dark dreams about,
and never find and never will.
But I am loath to think it
so. I will look
from my head to the long horizon.
I will search
every path and non-path.
For bliss exists and is mine to be,
not to capture but to free.
Then, I will beckon and waive
and say “come!” and “be with me!”
In that morning we will
walk every path and non-path,
touch every icy mountain peak,
warm to every ray the sun sends,
drink in raindrops and waterfalls,
and touch sea and sky and moon and skin.
On an evening we shall die
and know the soil and the seed,
and give life to grass and flower
and fruit of the tree.
We will see.

Miracle

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Stansbury Mountain Range, Tooele County, Utah

During a quiet moment I found myself contemplating the nature of miracles. A miracle is often defined as a phenomenon that cannot be explained by the known laws of nature, and often carries a religious or spiritual aspect. To me, a miracle is anything truly joyous and beautiful, like love, acceptance, natural beauty, a smile. These miracles raise our countenance above the cruelty and disappointment of our mortal existence.

Inspired by my daughter, Erin (23), I keep a daily miracle journal. At the end of each day, sitting bedside, I search the day for miracles and jot them down. Hyrum’s cello recital. Hannah’s painting. Brian’s blog post. Laura’s straight As. Erin’s love. Caleb’s 15 points in a basketball game. John’s V6 bouldering problem. Smiles. Kindness. Laughter. Sunsets. Waves crashing on sand. Birds and butterflies. A peaceful sleep. Forgiveness.

I wrote this poem to convey, through images, what a miracle is to me. I encourage you to examine your life for the miracles that are surely there, every day. Seek them, and you will find them, and be transformed by them.

MIRACLE

the small
the hidden
the barely seen

what brings joy
what stretches
what teaches

a brush with the senses
an immersion
a whisper

relief
healing
denouement

my desire to forgive
my yearning to touch another
my love

your forgiveness
your reaching toward
your love

a butterfly’s artwork wings
a bird’s song
a giggling brook

fog hovering pink under sunrise
antlers, alert, twisting above brush
owl’s soundless flight

your whisper
your touch
unconditional

Rag Rugs

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(Large rag rug crocheted by my mother for my kitchen–October 2015.)

When my mother, Dorothy Lucille Bawden Baker, was a child, perhaps age 6 or 7, she accompanied her mother, Dorothy Erma Evans Bawden (born 1915), and her grandmother, Dorothy Ellen Beagly Evans (born 1895), to visit her great-grandmother, Elizabeth Esther Pierce Beagly (born 1875).  Grandmother Elizabeth was crocheting an oval rug from strips of cloth cut from old clothing.  My mother noticed it and told them she liked it.  Looking back, what caught her attention most was the notion of making something so beautiful from practically nothing: rags. My mother’s matriarchs encouraged her interest and offered to give her a crochet hook and strips of cloth.  Grandfather James Edmund Evans (born 1889) carved for her an oak crochet hook.  Her mother cut some cloth strips from old clothing for my mother, and taught her the crochet stitch.  After my mother’s marriage in 1962, she began her serious crocheting of rag rugs, for she and her new husband, Owen Nelson Baker, Jr., had no carpet or rugs in their home.  For her first project, she sat on the floor and crocheted an enormous round area rug.  After retiring and moving to Utah in 1998, she began crocheting again in earnest.  She found her sheets at the Deseret Industries thrift store, and bought a cutting board and cutting wheel.  Her rugs can be found throughout her home and the homes of her children.  She has given away many rugs as gifts to family and friends.  I recently asked her to teach me to crochet.  These small rugs, intended as prayer mats, are my first efforts to crochet something from nothing.  I made them for my three daughters and my daughter-in-law for Christmas (2015).  I hope that my girls find enjoyment in them, and in knowing that they hold a humble work of art six generations in the making.

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The beginnings of Hannah’s rug, with a sun at the center.

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Ringed with a light sky, ready for a darker ring of sky.

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The sky is complete.

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Ready to be circled with dark, rich earth.

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Hannah’s rug completed.

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Laura’s rug: blue evening sky trending toward sunset and night.

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Erin’s rug: sun, sky, and atoll surrounded by ocean.

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Avery’s rug.