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March Wind in June

by Claudette Bass

Claudette Bass [1951-2008] was a prolific poet and novelist. She was born in Alhambra, California and, for many years, lived in Chino Hills, California, northwest of Los Angeles, a town most famous for being the "13th Safest Place to Live in the United States".

I met Claudette in the late winter of 1976, while I was traveling in Europe. She had inherited some money from her mother and was using it to see the world. Claudette was an unusual sight, gamely dragging several pieces of luggage across Europe, all by herself, to the most unlikely places. I spent a month living on the island of Crete with several friends, including Claudette and, even then she talked of her dream of becoming a novelist.

Over the years, I talked with Claudette a few times. I found her to have a unique outlook: she had a strong sense of who she was in the world and she worked hard to build her skill as a writer.

Although Claudette spent most of her life writing — novels and poetry — she met with little commercial success. As a result, she was, alas, unappreciated during her lifetime and, today, it is difficult to find samples of her work. Nevertheless, I was able to find one of her poems, which I am pleased to share with you.

If you would like to read a bit more about a talented woman who devoted her life to writing with a single-minded passion, you will find, at the bottom of the page, a link to a most insightful obituary.

March Wind in June
by Claudette Bass

"A Spoonful of Medicine" [2004] by Harley Hahn
Display a larger picture of this painting.

This could be northern climate,
a chill wind attacking under shirts;

in patches sun bleeds through a flat sky,
azure faded like ink on a blotter.

a local restaurant is advertising
senior specials: fifty-five

is now the shadow leading to the grave.
In six years I turn to stone.

No wonder this trotting gust assaults
such weakened bones, remorseless.

My son is cleaning horse stalls,
he strokes the chestnut and her colt.

Above my station, the underbelly of leaves glow
like stars against dark branches,

green flags dance gracefully with light,
focus follows their rhythm.

I have nothing else to do but watch
such transitions, rooted, waiting for my son.

Perhaps this observation is but my aging
attempt at philosophy, perhaps

since this is his season,
his time to shine and grow like this full-headed tree,

I am merely enjoying surviving
a March wind the third week in June.

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