EPIC Poetry Group: The Lake, My Moment in Time, The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

The latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

The Lake

Intuitive images of truth
from out of the liquid eye

are writ in stagnant brown
when scuttling winds are shy

or lush voluptuous blue
erotic as a lover’s sigh

or red on twilight orange
where the blood syllables fly.

The poet dreams his life
as the lake dreams the sky.

Dave Baldwin

~ ~ ~ ~

My Moment in Time

Curving through a basalt cut,
the slim-waisted river brings
waters from the Two Oceans Plateau

at Jackson Lake to the faraway waters
out west, all the way to Astoria.
Cache Peak is due south.

Smooth-sanded alluvial fans
are tan with flecks of sagebrush teal.
To the north, the massive Craters of the Moon

lava fields lie between the river
and the distant mountains of central Idaho.
I stand alone in this isolated spot.

Civilization is nowhere in sight.
Little has changed since the Bonneville Flood
scoured the Portneuf River Valley

at the end of the Ice Age or even
when the first people arrived more
than ten thousand years ago.

This moment by the river—my moment
in time—is a one-of-a-kind snapshot
in the millions of years that some version

of the Snake River flowed to the Pacific.
This tiny stretch of river is not
the complete river any more than lives

exists in isolation apart from all the brothers
and sisters of the past, present, and future.
Like the island in the stream parting the waters,

it isn’t you who travels forward.
The small measure of time meant for you
travels toward you and beyond you.

Dave Baldwin

~ ~ ~ ~

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16

I was an L.A. kid. My favorite sport
was baseball. The weather was always kind
enough for a game. My friends and I
knew the batting averages and the earned run
averages of the players in the PCL,
and all the major league stats. I followed the Angels.
It was always a treat to go to Wrigley Field
with my dad and watch the Angels play ball.
I never went without some friends from school.

One Saturday, my dad took me and two
of my friends to an Angels game. We sat near
the back of the lower section overlooking
first base. There was a section in front of us
right by the visitors’ dugout completely empty.
These seats were the most expensive in the park,
but today, those ticket holders did not show up.

Wrigley had a custom to let the local kids
into the stands after a couple of innings,
just to fill up the ballpark. It was a neighborly policy
with the surrounding community in south L.A.
and it helped to boost the noise for the home team.

When a boisterous group of black kids commandeered
the seats in the coveted section down below,
a man sitting near us began to grumble
about them in a loud voice. This same man
was telling his companion at the start of the game
how pleased he was with his seats at the ballpark.
He did have great seats, but it made him angry
when poor kids sat closer to the action.

The man complained and muttered racial slurs
for two innings before my father finally
had enough. Dad was sure the commentary
was ruining the experience for me and my friends.
After one racist rant too many, my father turned
to him and said, “Hey, knock it off.
We’re trying to watch the game.” The man was caught
off guard, “Well, it isn’t fair. I paid good money
for these seats, and those kids don’t deserve
the luxury box.” Dad said, “I heard you bragging
about your seats when you came in. You said
they were perfect. What happened? Relax,”
he said gesturing toward the buoyant fans
in the stands, “enjoy the game with the rest of us.”

It worked. We never heard another word.
Later, my dad explained it this way:
“It is a gift just to be there at Wrigley Field
where the sun is shining and the Angels are winning.
Be happy. It doesn’t matter where you sit.”

Dave Baldwin

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dave Baldwin retired in 2017 from the Walt Disney Company after 40 years as a technical writer and editor. Currently, he is working as a part-time editor for Microsoft. In March 2018, he published a book of lyrics for church anthems. He is collaborating with composer/musician Kerry Lewis of Santa Clara, Calif. Dave lives in Lake Stevens.

The EPIC Poetry Group has been in existence for four years. It is open to the members of the public (free of charge) who are interested expressing and improving their poetry writing skills. The group meets the second Tuesday of the month at the Edmonds Library from 6-7:45 p.m.

 

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