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CK Baker Nov 2023
Dapple gray harbour
…humpbacks in breach!
a brown ruffed grouse
with apricot cheeks!

Pileated peckers
in caramel trees
the swirling fall mist
and cold gusty breeze

Bonfires and embers
in harvest-moon skies
the cider house rules
and baled-hay rides

Warm roasted chestnuts
and cozy fall stews
scarecrows and pumpkins
those dark autumn blues!

Parkas and sweaters
in cinnamon shades
a hot mulled wine
in the cornfield maze

Pine cones and acorns
on a brisk fall morn
frosty cold breath
and flannels well worn

Ghosts and goblins
…ole hallows eve!
the landscape covered
in dry golden leaves

A grateful Thanksgiving
with family and song
daylight (un)savings
where shadows grow long!

The north wind whispers
harvest complete
stack up the woodpile
winter’s in reach!

Storm clouds are brewing
the foliage flies
let’s spark up the franklin
and scurry inside!

Pull up a blanket
call in the cat's a perfect time
for a fireside chat!
Oh those dark November days!
CK Baker Aug 2023
Through the towns and country lanes
fortress walls and ancient stains
Roman treasures, aquaducts
the running bulls, a stroke of luck!

Cobblestone and feudal cracks
the culture weaves and summer smacks!
enchanted ramparts, medieval ruins
coliseums and communes

Aigues Mortes to Avignon
the rolling hills and castles strong
fields of grape and olive trees
cicadas singing on the breeze

Tranquil rivers, lost lagoons
horses prancing at high noon
flora and fauna in lofty decree!
say the sycamore and cypress tree

De Lumières in tomb-like calm
illuminating sounds of Brahm
Vermeer, Picasso and Van Goh
the ghosts of Voltaire and Rousseau

Les Baux-de-Provence's immersive stage
brush strokes wide from another age
chambers deep at quarry rock
the mesmerizing notes of Bach

Sacred figures, holy shrines
monestries in grand design
blocks, arches and polished stone
gladiators at the throne

Castle turrets and dungeon bars
the ancient bridge of Pont du Gard
chapel bells across la ville
spiral stairs where time stands still

Scrolls and chronicles filled with scars
church and state with dark memoirs
scholars, artists and dignitaries
in pursuit of God...and all his glory
Spent 7 days cycling with the family along the Rhone River in Southern France.  Absolutley stunning scenery and culture through these historic little towns; Aigues Mortes, Arles, Aramon and Avignon.  Big thanks to the "Caprice" crew (Fabrice, Michela, Rafael and Nadia) who made our trip so enjoyable!
CK Baker Dec 2022
The sorrowful —-

packed inside

the piercing thoughts

and incessant inner


Paralyzed —-

in toxic breath

and black sounds

the streaming dark figures

that whirl, and howl

and blend

Driftless —-

in the burnt out sky

a churning red blaze,

peeling flesh from the bones

of the tombstone soldiers

Arsenic blood

in a deep altered state —-

too much

too little

too late

Faces in the shadows

with hints of home —-

let us find ourselves,

and bring

comfort lost
CK Baker Sep 2022
A trip to the Balkans
with family in tow
and Cycle Albania
to light up the show!

There was Erlis and Rimi
(and Junid to track)
an itinerary
that would not look back!

First stop, Tirana
in the downtown core
with cafes and bars
and music galore

There were hints in the air
of a Communist cast
which the vibrant city
had long moved past

A shuttle to Ohrid
and cruise of the lake
the flora and fauna
left no mistake

Lunch on the terrace
and a trip to St. Naum
the monastery
…so peaceful, and calm

We plateaued to Korçë
through a patchwork of farms
the herdsmen and sheep
held so much charm

A tour through the city
with cultural notes
the cobble stone streets
beyond reproach

A climb through the mountains
in thundering rain
to the Sotire Farm
what a lovely domain!

There were goats and donkeys
and kindly old dogs
but the favorite of all
were the scampering hogs!

We slept like babies
and left in the morn
through the high pine forest
and fields of corn

Down through the mountains
and rivers and streams
the “Presidential Descent
was an absolute scream!

A freshly paved stretch
(roughly 17k!)
Jaglin was off
and on her way!

A guesthouse for lunch
in the village of Benje
the evening’s Raki
would have its revenge!

To the sanctuary pools
(across the Ottoman bridge)
the healing and soothing
of miracle ridge

Into the valley
and over the gorge
to Gjirokastër
where roots were forged

Alleys and walk ways
and tight quiet streets
castles and churches
that met no defeat

A storybook city
with an historic past
we savored the buildings
and white wall cast

Off to Sarandë
…the Ionian coast!
a rustic old ferry
and ruins, with ghosts

The site of Butrint
“...from a world gone by
we travelled in time
with a lullaby

Corfu at a distance
Himarë in reach
we swam in the ocean
and drank on the beach

Himarë to Vlorë
a spectacular day!
7 turns to the top
what a view of the bay!

Hairpins and kickbacks
so tranquilly warm
“...the thighs are burning
like a lightning storm

Lunch at the peak
and down to Vlorë
picking up speed
and a mighty roar!

Winds off the shoreline
sun at a high
the smells and sounds
as seabirds fly

The final stretch
with the finish in view
we crossed the line
…The Peloton Crew!
Albania...such a beautifully diverse, and welcoming country!  Thank you Erlis, Junid and Rimi...your warm hospitality will not be forgotten!
CK Baker Nov 2021
he wasn’t so much a peddler
(as many had quietly assumed)
more of a rural shuffler
or social inchworm
than a mover and a shaker

but boy
could he dish out those jabs
and ad lib on a whim
and draw sweet melodies
from that broken 6 string
all night long

carving out reflections
oh, those deep intuitive divinations!
steadily preaching
on the breathtaking joys
and fruits
of the vibrant land

grow your own
seeds to be sown
clean and green
a nourishing machine!

silver linings (straight from truth room)
clearly seen
from those uncompromised
garden views

casting his baited lines
from softly pebbled shores
(his nanna, and poppa
were there, years before)
giving grace…
and basking deeply
in the bounty of the fenua

his love of life was insatiable
moving from town to town
to nourish his soul
digging way beyond the deep
for that shrouded purpose
that soulful existence
that many spend a lifetime
looking to find

three boats settle
in the quiet harbor
a net shed basking in the sand
peaceful and serene
(with a hint of emerald green)
Sunset red
with crawfish (and lemongrass)
to keep us
bountifully fed
CK Baker Sep 2021
Well we jumped on the wing
for a good Irish fling
kicked off the week
with a boiler

The banter was high
as we took to the sky
nothing in sight
was a spoiler

And the red eye at night
was a captain’s delight
we spread on the seat
of the liner

Arrived just in time
for a whale of a time
at the Temple Bar
and Diner

Well the Dublin scene
in the Old College Green
was wired and alive
on the corner

Where me and me' mates
paired in at the gates
there were welcoming arms
to us foreigners

And we sang through the night
and grinned in delight
with banjos, pipes
and lasses

Drinking whiskey and beer
in a boatload of cheer
the rooster got lost
in the masses

The **** in the walk
was out on the stalk
a wee little flute
on display

His shoulders were pinned
with a great big grin
they were such
peculiar ways!

Well we found em next day
(in a sauntering way)
got tossed in
all the commotion

What happened to you?
said he hadn’t a clue
or any
baldy notion!

Hit the road to Howth
little east, little south
the seaside town
was groovin

Found the Cobblestone Pub
for a jar and a scrub
the seabird sounds
were soothin

Then we jumped a train
in the lashing rain
the Belfast craic
was mighty

Hit the Thirsty Goat
with a parching throat
some Tullamore Dew
for a nighty

In the Crumlin jail
the spirits set sail
the IRA
was gaffin

There was Bobby Sands
in celestial lands
alive and proud
and laughin

The Griffin dance
was the final chance
the evening closed
in nigh

And we made our way
through the Chelsea lanes
to say our
final good bye

~ ~ ~ ~

Ay, oh…let it all go
safe haven in the wasteland!

Slainte’…take me away
to the old Irish sounds
of the band!
CK Baker Aug 2021
Some days we'd lay about the milled plank deck
eyes to the sky
shoulders pinned
on the hickory trees
and pillow clouds
and heavenly contrails

the warm caress  
of a mid-summer wind
whispering through the hayfields
coondog at our side
sandhill crane still
feet in the shallows
of the Haldimand pond

a soft trickle coming
from the Pickerel stream
creaks from the woodshed whistle
as the Massey Ferguson
putters her way
up the county line

catharsis in place
(in this ethereal space)
just a garden variety day
...with fire ants
and fowler toads
and golden honey bees
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