Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ride the crest 

waves never stop 
rolling onto beach sands 

even when we 
journey miles inland 

even when we

even after death 
calls oceans of souls 

ride the crest 
to shore.      

Poem (c)2007 by R. Burnett Baker
Painting:  Oil on canvas by Betty Jo Stovall Baker, 1983. 

Aroma Of Winter In Spring 

In my neighborhood along the southern shore of Lake Ontario, fireplaces are still burning.  In early evening and night especially, I can smell that ozone-like fragrance of spring and summer rain in the air as it dances with the aroma of firewood drifting...

firewood drifting 

the aroma of firewood 
drifting through winter 

recalls memories 
of gatherings and 

stories of 
how we kept warm 

on moonless nights. 

Poem (c)2007 by R. Burnett Baker 
Abstract photo (c)2009 by R. Burnett Baker 

We Wait. And Wait.

Good grief, this global warming is going to freeze us all to death! 

Into late April and we have yet to feel a day of 70 degrees or higher.  Most years, we would have had a few "tease" days in March and April, but this year spring seems to still be in fear of old man winter.  But according to the forecast for this coming weekend, we will leap directly into summer-like weather.  About time! 

With this year's cold spring I was reminded of a poem I wrote two years ago in spring when becoming impatient with the cold.  Driving to work one morning I came to a stop at a traffic light and noticed a leafless hedge along a yard.  Clinging to the tiny branches of this hedge were many sparrows.  They looked cold, and I imagined them as impatient for warm weather as I had become.  Those sparrows seemed, in my eyes, so desperate for shelter.  

They were waiting for the shelter of warmth, and I was waiting at the light... 

we wait 

sparrows cling to a naked hedgerow 
bare branches sought for shelter. 

for spring we wait. 
and wait. 

Poem (c)2007 by R. Burnett Baker


Sunday, April 12, 2009


Lake Ontario waves 
were restless today
and water loud. 

sun reflected off stones 
spring's cold air bit my face 

and alone 

I shared the moment with you: 

my imagination alive 
and unrelenting. 

Poem (c)2008 by R. Burnett Baker 
Photo (c)2008 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo taken by R.Baker near Hamlin Beach, Lake Ontario New York.

Monday, April 6, 2009


doubt paralyzes 
rejection stuns
acquiescence awakens 
more doubt. 

a soul stands 
in the face of 
kindness desiring to give, 
neediness being vanquished, 
unrequited love 
pleading for reprieve. 

 Painting:  Acrylic on canvas by Ina Jean Garner, 1972.
Poem (c)2006 by R. Burnett Baker 

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius (382-289BCE) believed that man is by nature altruistic and good. His argument was that if one saw a child starting to fall into a well, one would instinctively react to save the child without regard to courting favor with the parents, or being hailed as a hero, or enhancing one's own reputation.  

One contemporary of Mencius was Xun Zi, a Confucian philosopher who believed the opposite:  That man was inherently evil, and the purpose of moral cultivation was to turn this evil nature into goodness.  

Reading the headlines of the past few months with all the mass killings one might side with Xun Zi.  Or one might be left in a quandary and simply want to ignore all media and withdraw from society.  

I tend to side with Mencius.   However, I believe the human race is basically a defective species, and our seeming inability to address these ongoing horrors will some day help us destroy ourselves.  We don't seem to want to use our laws and corresponding punishments for fear of offending someone or some group of people. 

We just analyze and make excuses, until we shake our heads in disbelief at the next tragedy.  

The following piece, "naked in the sand"  questions this predisposition we seem to have for anger, hatred, agony and violence.  

Perhaps nature will dispose of our species in due course.  Perhaps in terms of moral cultivation we are already naked.  After all, nature isn't quite so defective. 

R. Burnett Baker 
April 4, 2009 
Atlanta, Georgia 

(c)2009 by R. Burnett Baker 

naked in the sand 

on a beach 
one man's instinct 
is to build sandcastles

a passing beachcomber's 
impulse is to kick down 
the towers. 

why this disconnect 
between instinct to create 
and impulse to destroy? 

rain, waves, and tides 
will make both endeavors 

will leave both men 
naked in the sand. 

Poem (c)2007 by R. Burnett Baker 

I felt a feather 
brush  my cheek 
and swatting air 
in self defense

never saw the bird 
soar skyward - 

saw only sunlight  stabbing my eyes 
with fiery red 

Photo (c)2008 by R. Burnett Baker
Poem (c)2007 by R. Burnett Baker 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

waiting for Monet

a quiet pond 
early morn 

listens for the 
colors of Monet. 

Photo and poem (c) 2009 by R. Burnett Baker