Author Archives: Joseph Baldwin

Squirrels

by Joseph Baldwin

Even when sitting on the lawn,
squirrels seem perched:
clinging as they do to ground
as if it might sway
in the next wind.
Never are they less than
tense, sinuously sleek.
Always poised for the quick
dart, the lunge, or
skittering flight to safety.

Never a wasted motion: witness
especially the flickering twitch
in a false direction before the
true thrust; such feints
are of most value.

They make fools of cats,
who, to salvage something,
break off the chase, subside,
and look regal and uncaring.

30 September

by Joseph Baldwin

On the last day of the month, October
came in six hours early,
bringing a sweet wind out of the north
running before rain.
Spreading out over the plains was a
blue-gray sea for sky,
with surprising white flecks of foam
before it.
Smoke-puff clouds scraped their bellies
on the hills to the west,
which, a child out of the mountains, I once
scorned as lying too low,
now my own and loved.

Unleashed winds blew eagerly about
our valley
with the wayward motion that was to
be the carrier of leaves.

Autumn spirits announced the end of
sultriness
with a delight akin to that of the
rebirth in Spring;
soon afterward, trees and people began
clothing themselves in red and brown.

Idyl in a Willys-Knight

by Joseph Baldwin

Other roads followed the level ground,
but this one turned a corner to the right
around a farmstead and its dark red buildings,
and the car strained over to the left, then centered
on the road
to follow up the gentle slope of a small hill,
then dropped down on the other side into a quiet
valley
where good people were sitting down to supper
after prayers.
Idly-pecking hens stepped about near the old
staunchly-built barn,
and a collie came sniffing eagerly to the gate,
his brown eyes welcoming. One tanned youth
came striding in late from the field and sprang
up the back steps
and buried his face in water his hands scooped
up from the basin.

One more long look. Then the Willys, at the
pressure of my foot,
lifted its nose and pointed away toward mountains
that lay like a purple cloud bank on the horizon.

One of the tiny lights set in that loftiness
marked where we should find shelter for the night;
which one, we’d discover in good time: the steady
climbing toward that promise was now, for the long
while,
peace enough and fulfillment, in itself.

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