Tag Archives: Hope

Carry Me Away (In Pieces)

Through a hole between two boulders in the retaining wall that supports my home, I discovered honey bees quietly flying in and out.  The thought of these gentle creatures scouting for nectar and bringing it back to my home to make honey gave me no little pleasure.  One day, however, the creatures coming to the hole, and their energy, transitioned from gathering bees to predatory yellowjacket wasps that.  Week after week they came by the thousands to cannibalize the bees and dismantle the hive, chewing all to balls of cud they carried away and fed to their hungry larvae, hoarding the rest for their own late-summer stores.  I wanted to kill them all–two cans of wasp spray would make it an easy job.  Ultimately, I decided to let nature do what nature does.  I found in the scene a metaphor for what we might feel life does to us.  We move peacefully along, minding our own business, making our small contributions, caring for our home and kin, when malicious forces seems to lay siege, hoping to dismantle and destroy.  Our way, however, is not to give in to fatalism but to take charge of our fate with energy, enthusiasm, and hope, if we can.  I am working on it.

CARRY ME AWAY (IN PIECES)

Deep in the space between
two boulders
the honey bees forged their hive,
going gently out
and from flower to flower,
coming quietly in
with their cargos
of nectar,
until the yellowjacket wasps
discovered and attacked
in steady swarms
that killed and carried away,
in tiny cut-up pieces,
the bees,
the honey,
the hive,
coming wildly in,
going frantically out
to feed their clamoring young
the bees,
the honey,
the hive,
hurrying in the heat,
before Winter found
just an empty hole.

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Wilderness

Are we not all wanderers, searchers, seekers?  No matter the strength or persuasion of our faith, no matter our accumulation of years and wisdom, still we trudge through time and space.  Sometimes we dance, tip-toe.  Often we wallow and slog.  Mists of darkness move in to shroud our discernment, obscure our way.  Such clouds are a thing of this world only, for the sun always shines, always burns at millions of degrees and sends light and warmth over millions of miles, to us.  I offer this poem to the good people of earth who care about doing good and right, who sometimes lose their way, and who keep on walking the path.

WILDERNESS

“I am in a wilderness,”
you said to me. Still,
the cross rests round
your neck. Delicate silver.
Waves crash against pier and rock:
I can hear through your open door.
“It grows bigger,
my wilderness, the expanse
wider.”
Crashing waves; cars
throttling away; voices
through the wall;
the cat slinks by;
a movie plays
in the next room.
You bake muffins, chocolate chip,
in the tin, wondering,
silver resting on skin.
You sit high on a stool
at the table, sipping coffee,
sipping brandy,
thinking Help me, Jesus
with a chill:
you have to go
out once again, out
to make your way, somehow.
I am
in my
wilderness.

Psalm

This poem expresses my hope in humanity and in the universal Forces that lift and edify us as we experience life, making us better and better souls.  I believe in a Power that heals, that instructs, and that loves.  I believe that human beings, by exercising the power of choice and by learning principles of goodness, can become noble and powerful and good.  This poem, entitled “Psalm,” is both a prayer and a song, a reaching upward of the human mind to touch the Divine and invoke its powers on our behalf.  Whatever your religious, spiritual, or philosophical inclinations, I hope you will enjoy this poem and the hope to which it aspires.

PSALM

Let thy stiff knees bend
at the hem of that gracious garment,
and touch.
Let thy weary head bow
beneath the benevolent hands
that lift
your face to his.
Let thine eyes permit
his omniscient eyes
to seek out the heights and depths
of your willing and wounded heart,
to close your cracks,
knit together your tears and broken bones,
anoint your bruises with balm.
Let the Mystery fill you,
lift you
above demons and fiends,
over faithless perpetrators,
who possess the power of worms
twisting under the sun.
Sway with the breeze, with the trees.
Soar with the clouds and the high-flying birds.
Dive with the falcons and the raindrops.
Crash and roar with the ocean waves.
Float with the green damselfly, a dandelion seed.
Breathe the winds and swallow the sun.
Arise a new creation, whole,
complete: You:
the glory of God,
His child,
His masterpiece.

A Cross To Hold

Holding Cross-crop

Elizabeth recently sent to me a special crucifix, carved from olive wood, that she called her holding cross.  Anne, wife of Father Chris, had gifted the cross to Elizabeth during a difficult period of Elizabeth’s life.  “For when there are no words,” Anne had said.  Elizabeth kept her holding cross close day and night, grasping it as she slept, toting it in her purse, carrying it as she walked along the beach, feeling it in her pocket.  Knowing that I, too, was passing through a challenging time of loss and loneliness, Elizabeth gifted her cross to me.  She sacrificed something holy and dear to her so that I might find comfort in the cross, as had she.  How I appreciate her gift, which arrived the day after Christmas.

Since receiving Elizabeth’s holding cross, now my holding cross, I have often sat in contemplation of its features, simple and beautiful.  I have thought of the wounds of Christ, the pain he suffered on our behalf, the love he beams to each of us, the dreadful certainty of his death, and the certain hope of his resurrection.  Though often a trying exercise, I labor to trust in him to mentor me in each moment, to show me the ways of patience and generosity, to coach me at kindness and compassion.  Turning the holding cross over and over in my fingers, staring at it in my palms, the words of this poem began to flow and form.  It is my hope that this poem inspires hope within all who read it.

A CROSS TO HOLD

These two arms, outstretched,
fit the curving
space between my fingers
as I caress, hold tight, caress.
Those hands, two,
at the end
brought tears, and blood,
that I make my own
through kindness.
The head inclines
to me, to all
the world, the masses.
I wonder at the mystery,
joy in the simplicity.
The feet: his feet: my feet:
wandering purposefully through
time and tide;
standing firm through all;
footprints to follow.
Olive wood glistening
from the oils and sweat
of your hands, of my hands,
from lips’ kisses;
polished with beeswax,
scented with lemon oil:
smooth; soft;
shining.
Hope,
in my hands,
holding.

Sing To Me

20150904_152449

During a separation some years ago, I often wondered if life were worth living.  I was not suicidal, but I lacked a desire to live.  Lying in my bed in the dark of night, I would whisper to the ceiling, to the universe, Give me a reason to live.  Of course, there are many reasons to go on living in spite of our physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering.  Listing them is an easy exercise.  But in suffering’s crucible these reasons can be hard to discern, let alone appreciate.  In this poem I identify a few reasons that just merely hoping for gave me an ounce of strength to go on living and caring, to arise with each new day, during a lonely and unhappy time.

SING TO ME

Give
me a reason
to live.

Smile at me softly.
Sing me a melody.
Touch your lips to mine.
Receive my song.
Condescend.

Give
me a reason
to live.

(I took the above photograph of a Milbert’s Tortoise Shell in September 2015 at Butterfly Lake in Utah’s High Uinta Mountains.)

Silent Spring

As I walked along Rabbit Lane in the dark of early morning, I could hear only the distant hum of thousands of cars commuting to the Salt Lake valley.  The birds and crickets still slept.  The air hung still and silent over field and pasture.  I pondered Rachel Carson’s fearsome prediction in 1962 of a future where the wanton use of chemical poisons would wipe out the world’s singing, croaking, and buzzing creatures.  With a touch of irony, or sarcasm, I penned this poem, a mixture of hope and foreboding.  Visit the Rabbit Lane: Memoir page of this blog to read more about places of peace and hope, and to ponder how you can contribute to the world’s beauty and diversity.

SILENT SPRING

Spring,
Rachel:
not silent quite.
I hear,
distinctly:
the growing hum
of humankind.


Roger Evans Baker is the author of Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road.  The non-fiction book is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon.  Rose Gluck Reviews recently reviewed Rabbit Lane in Words and Pictures.