The guides have all perished.
We must continue on our way
Not knowing so many things:
The names of birds (there seem
To be so many). We continue
To live with them and note their
Songs, their screaming, the way
They grip the branches in the fabric
Of oak and conifers, dart and keen
Their way between light and shadow,
Alone or in great numbers called flocks.
The purpose of so many buildings.
Some fall and crumble releasing ghosts,
Demanding attention in porticos and tired
Arches. Surely something profound
Happened here. There are so many.
They cluster near the rivers and group
themselves in smaller ruins high in
The mountains, announcing disarray.
Mostly, the trails. We will not know
Which of them to take or where
They may lead. Yes, we will leave
Our words to tell the others what
It is we have seen, what our challenges
Have been, but it will mean little and others
May never reach these far places.
Here we will ford the river and proceed
Toward the plains those same guides
Spoke of around the fires we built to keep
The night at bay. What powers there be
Protect us, for we are but specks in the great
Eye that sees all that moves in this dark
Toward what destination, still much unknown.
THE RISKY WAY
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Who dares follow a miner into these
old hills? Too near the fall, a miner
after gold. He'll leave the switchback
trail and find a way where goats go
between cliff and drop-off, as the river
grinds below. He'll hear the owl
and never think it calls his name. He'll
outfox the summer for a motherlode.
But even rock goes the way of river,
no matter how much gold it holds.
Don't dare look down from such high
hopes. If that's a boat against the bank,
it's ghost-wood made, and manned
by a spirit waiting in the shade.
LIKE THE SHADOW OF A HAWK
—Katy Brown, Davis
Not the transportation homeward;
not our homes or granite workplace;
not achievements or our failures;
not our bones or songs about us;
not the stone they place upon us.
Like the moving trace of hawkflight,
we are shadows on the hillside.
—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento
Orange cones up ahead.
She takes the long way around—
vineyards, fields freshly planted,
a faded farmhouse.
A brown big-eared hare heads home.
She drives along
sweeping up the loose ends
by the side of the unfamiliar road.
Quietude replaces anxiety,
creativity replaces fragmentation.
But how do you fuel the sun
or feed the wind or hug the stars?
—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA
Here I am
gone to extreme,
blue/white saddle shoes
blue blazer and light blue dress shirt
beige pleated slacks,
navy blue socks
just to avoid
the supervisor's eye
of cold comfort
The real me
the hill with jacarandas
and old WW II era bunkers
occurs quite naturally.
An ercued crane
having a whopping
The yellow and blue
holds me down
a gravity both earth
goes on inside
in spite of Newton
(This poem was posted yesterday, but the last line was inadvertently left off. Sorry, Michael!)
Any idea, person or object can be a Medicine Wheel, a mirror for man. The tiniest flower can be such a mirror, as can a wolf, a story, a touch, a religion, or a mountaintop.