Sunday, June 27, 2010


you punctuate
my days and nights
with question and exclamation marks,
commas, and periods.

so sad
that it isn't you
composing the words
between them.

Poem © 2005 by R. Burnett Baker

Monday, June 21, 2010

Magpie Tales Photo Prompt Nineteen

I'm not sure what I thought, looking wide-eyed at this week's Magpie Prompt. But it made me do a double take at the object in the photo.

You see, just days before, I was packing my bag to return to New York from Texas after the week of farewells to my Dad. My mother came into the room with something in her hand: Seven pocket knives. Immediately I knew they were Dad's. As long as I can remember, he carried a small pocket knife with him. Always! Men of his generation seemed to ALL carry pocket knives. And over some five decades he rubbed each one of them smooth and used them for opening cans, cutting finger nails, slicing envelopes, and lord knows what else. It's just a small thing that we don't ever think about.

I particularly remember Dad giving himself a quick manicure with his pocket knife on occasion. It fascinated me that someone could have their fingernails looking so clean and professional looking with a pocket knife! He had a technique about it that made me think that he could probably do just about any utility with that little knife.

Once I bought a cheap pocket knife and carried it around like Dad did. I never used it. Didn't quite know what to do with it, so I stopped carrying it. Men of his generation lived through tough times, knew more stuff, learned to do, create, repair, prepare, and utilize little tools like pocket knives, simple as they might have seemed, to get through life.

Or so I reckon.

Anyway, there Mom was, offering me one of these knives to remember Dad by. I picked a smooth, worn, amber-colored bone pocket knife. I don't know how I'll use it. But I'll carry it in my pocket and feel the smooth sadness at my finger tips.

And I'll smile.

Rick Baker
June 22, 2010
Rochester, NY

steel between my fingers

pocket weary
and handle worn,
still the blade
held tight and

that night
my mother offered
a small memento
of his life,

my memory sharp
and cradled in steel
between my

Poem © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo courtesy of Willow at Magpie Tales

Monday, June 14, 2010

at nature's mercy

had the storm passed,
I wondered?

beyond the window
silence and starlight

Poem © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker

Friday, June 11, 2010

Magpie Tales Photo Prompt Eighteen

history in lead

a mug of memories
grips fables of
Bessie, Edward and

our histories
packed in lead:
each word, every chapter
sharpened to
the sky,

waiting to be
written again
and again.

Poem © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo prompt courtesy of Willow of Magpie Tales

Friday, June 4, 2010

Eugene M. Baker: 1923 - 2010

And so we gather from all directions tomorrow to bid farewell to my Dad. A WWII veteran with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the US Army Air Force, 493rd who was an honorable American; a hard working salesman who provided well for his family; a man who taught and instilled a work ethic in his children and grandchildren; a husband who loved his wife and considered her a living angel. He was a man who earned respect from those he met because he was honest and true to his values and principles.

We are all on this Earth for various reasons. But we all share something in common: The need and goal of helping guide each other through this endeavor called life. We do it with varying degrees of success or failure. Ultimately we cannot save each other from our final moment on Earth. Sometimes we feel we cannot save our loved ones from suffering and pain, hard as we may try.

Perhaps that is a part of what makes us grieve. It makes us stop our normal routines and look inward to what's truly important in life: Living our lives, as encouraged by my minister Douglas B. Finch, in the spirit of kindness, and with an attitude of love.

I love my Dad. But holding his arm, and caressing his forehead as his last breath shattered silence, none of us could keep him from leaving.

There was a lesson in that moment:
I have so very much left to learn.

Rick B. Baker
June 5, 2010
Amarillo, Texas

on our shoulders

tell me God did we
gift our compassion -

his final breath on our
shoulders -

that last second
an eternal

water on water

and the sun did rise
to warm the clouds;

a soft rain fell to
cool our tears.

I listen to
water on water
flowing through
the grass.

Poems © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo taken by R. Baker June 4, 2010, Shepherd, Texas.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Resign And Breathe

I personally think that "hope" is, for the most part, a vacuous proposition. I hope... We hope... Hope and Change... Give hope to... What does the word mean, really?

It offers no solutions, and so doesn't solve problems. In moments of sadness or despair "hope" is little more than an expression of desperation at worst, and comfort at best.

However, as my family watches this week, my Dad's life pass before us, hope can only represent our need for a kind and gentle transition, and a desire that the sun will be shining tomorrow.

I'll go with comfort at best...

Rick Baker
June 1, 2010
Houston, Texas

resign and breathe

we can
only bow
to a life-passage
in time.

resign and breathe:

the sun
is on someone's

Poem © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo © 2009 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo taken August 2009 by R. Baker in Ithaca, NY.

Magpie Tales Photo Prompt Sixteen

danced on air

danced on air,

the sky
now cloudless
and empty
as your


Poem © 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo courtesy of Willow at Magpie Tales