Rule No. 20 Enjoy the process

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs from Pexels

Well-pruned roses

The pathways of my mind
Are not defined
Just like well-pruned roses
They shoot and sprout
In all sorts of places
At paces I know nothing about

The slate chippings in my garden
Are sharp and grey
They lay flat and easy
In the spaces that I make
Not knowing why
Or how long it will take

Praying to the sky
Leaves turn green and fall
Orange, yellow, gold
Flowers unfold
Well-pruned roses
Always turn out best
Until it’s time to weed again
And then it’s time to rest

Places that I know nothing about
Spaces that I make
The garden of my mind is growing
Like a well-pruned rose
That buds and blooms
Before it goes

Eventually the birds will come
To sing their song
In the garden of my well-pruned mind
Where they belong

2015

Poetry Rule No. 1 Do your own filing

The Lever Arch File

A lever arch file
is a beautiful thing,
made of cardboard
and shiny metal,
designed to hold papers in place
with a lever and a spring.

You can have an A-Z index
or a dating system,
nothing left to chance,
records retrieved, at a glance.

There is something so safe and satisfying
about the lever arch file
that now sits in a pile
in landfill
or burnt on a bonfire
where the smoke goes up
into the clouds.

Now we have digital data,
tags and the like,
are archives really a thing of the past?

Searches draw blanks,
seem random at best
will our technological filing systems
really stand the test,
like the lever arch file did,
once upon a time?

© Maggie ‘Glad the Poet’ Baker 22 January 2021

Poetry Rule No. 38 Take your time but no one else’s

Pedal Pushing

Today I pile on warm clothes
push toes into boots
hands into gloves
fix helmet on head
put pressure on one pedal after another
with grey treads turning on icy tarmac
in reflective waistcoat
I propel myself down the hill
looking like a wasp on wheels

Feet freeze into tennis balls
wind works its way in
between folds
finding skin
it’s an easy ride
but I’m glad to arrive
at work
this morning

Evening comes
and I do it all over again
this time lungs stretch and scream
at the incline that challenges me to stop
but thoughts of home and rest
are the pull

Pushing, pushing, pushing
keeps the wheels turning
until I arrive at the gate
maybe a bit late
hair wet with sweat
pedals finally still
pushing finished
for today

2017

Poetry Rule No. 35 Learning can be a good way of avoiding being taught

Life is a bowl of cherries

Life is a bowl of cherries
full of plumped up promise
like luscious lips
that are pouting and touting
for kisses

Life is a bowl of cherries
each ripe round fruit
tantalising and taut
held by a stalk
until teeth break into the taste
of sweet, tender flesh

Life is a bowl of cherries
juices savoured and swallowed
stones sucked clean
and spat out
until
one by one
the cherries
in the bowl
are all
gone

2017

Poetry Rule No. 11 Don’t be afraid of being paranoid – everyone else is, aren’t they?

Yellow Shoes

Jealousy and insecurity
hit me like a brick
the other night
and left me reaching
reeling once again
with stomach-churning feelings
head over heels
for all the wrong reasons
nothing to hang on to
inside my head
or in my heart
I didn’t know what to do
or where to start

So I bought yellow shoes
to change the colour
of my mood
watched birds of prey
and tried to write poems
that meant something
or occasionally rhymed
but not every time

Jealousy and insecurity
had hit me like a brick
and left me reaching
reeling once again
but I worked hard to face the pain
knowing there was nothing to gain
and everything to lose
as you reached out to me
and I reached out to you
until eventually
back on firmer ground
love
once again
was found

2017

Obsessive thoughts

Obsessive thoughts
of certain kinds
impinge on clarity
of mind

Will they ever go away
these thoughts that linger day by day?

I meditate on calm and peace
and still the thoughts come back to haunt
I wish I could find some release
from all these thoughts that sneer and taunt

Just let them go
into the wind
one day I will find
peace of mind

2020

Poetry Rule No. 13 Something to do with responsibility


Your Hands

Your hand is soft and warm, so beautiful
I want to take a photograph of it
but it seems disrespectful

Delicate and strong
I stroke it and know
it is comforting for you
it is for me too

Your hands are the hands
that cared for me when I was young
they have tended your garden
and left nothing undone

All your life you have cared for others
with your hands and with your heart
warm and soft and kind and strong
I’ll keep your hands within my heart
my whole life long

Dedicated to my Mum, Vera Elsie Baker (née Wallis) 22 May 1921 to March 2015 & my Dad, Albany Baker 22 August 1910 to February 1992. Both had amazing, strong, caring hands.

Poetry Rule No. 45 Don’t underestimate the therapeutic quality of vices – or verses

Turning the Tables

Lobster meat is sweet, I believe
I tasted it once, a long time ago
but I really don’t know
if the clacking, snapping, pincer-sharp
bite of the lobster-look-alike girl’s mind
belies anything even remotely kind

As I sit watching her eat that lobster meat
sucking her fingers with self-satisfied glee
pouting and spouting out the debris
of her clacking, snapping pincer-sharp mind
and smile inwardly at the resemblance I see
a wonderful, horrible thought comes to me

Wouldn’t it be great if a giant lobster loomed
and ate her up after popping her into
a boiling pot, while she was still alive?

This is the sea-bed of salvation
upon which I feed and thrive
turning the tables through poetry
on the clacking, snapping
pincer-sharp lobster-look-alike girl’s mind
and her kind

(c) Maggie Baker 2014 & Glad the Poet 2020


Poetry Rule No. 9b Keep recycling to a minimum until you’ve got your other priorities right

Cover

Don't judge a book by its cover
don't even begin to think that you know
what lies underneath
when every belief
that is written in time comes and goes

Don't judge a book by its cover
for the pages are those that can lie and deceive
the wisdom of years
may appear as true fears
and the rest will come in as you weave

Don't judge a book by its cover
when the story has not yet begun
Yet the time is right now
and in some way, some how
what needs to be said will be done

Don't judge a book by its cover
it's only a matter of time and again
tattered and torn may be weary and worn
but it's all the same in the end

Don't judge a book by its cover
don't even begin to think that you know
for it's all in a muddle
and inside the middle
is a tale that is waiting to grow
so it will

2014

Poetry Rule No. 27 Your ‘brief case’ is an important tool; use it well, use it wisely

The Trail of Tears

The trail goes on and on and on and on and on
our homelands now are many miles away
hearts broken by the power of the gun

Where once we looked to stars and moon and sun
in that place now we can no longer stay
this trail of dread goes on and on and on

Our pace is slow, we have no strength to run
heads bowed and burdened, slower every day
hope beaten by the power of the gun

We fought our battles, bitter every one
but bullets beat our arrows come what may
and still the trail goes on and on and on

There is no joy, nor laughter, and no fun
our children have no time or place to play
hearts broken by the power of the gun

So onward we must tread, our old life gone
feet seeping sorrow into weeping clay
the trail goes on and on and on and on and on
hope beaten by the power of the gun

© Maggie Baker 2017

This poem was inspired by the painting of the same name by Robert Lindneux 1942. With the passage of Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act in 1830, the movement of Indians from their lands east of the Mississippi River to undeveloped territories of the “west” had begun.  Between 1838 and 1839 the Cherokee nation was forced, under military escort, to leave their sacred grounds and move to what is now Oklahoma.  It is said that over one-quarter of the fifteen thousand expelled Cherokee Indians died on the marches from exhaustion, exposure, hunger and disease.  The Cherokee people came to call the marching path, the “Trail of Tears” to represent their suffering. … The “Trail of Tears” by Robert Lindneux (1942), is one of the more famous Native American paintings and shows the downtrodden warriors and their families traveling to a new and unfamiliar land. http://www.sussexvt.k12.de.us/science/The%20History%20of%20the%20World%201500-1899/Trail%20of%20Tears.htm

Poetry Rule No. 37 Recognise a cry for help when you see one

Cry

A cry goes out
but no one hears

The Act is almost
done, no tears

But then another cry
is heard

That stops the Act
before the end

And so it goes on
and on
and on

These are the pages between the sheets of our lives

Blank. Black. White. Dirty. Torn. Cornered. Folded. Plied.

These are the lives that we limit to live
These are the cries that we’re frightened to give
These are the days that we count on our clocks
How soon will it be before it all stops?

© Glad the Poet 2020