into the dark water of night one last time—
full moon over her shoulder.
She wears the courage of a warrior—
all sounds of battle, long since swallowed
by the silence of stars.
Frozen in stone on this deepening evening,
all opposition has fallen away.
No forces ride against her tonight.
Above the portico, she has
a general’s command of high ground.
But this is not a mountain she rides upon,
not a stony battlefield or treacherous pass.
The mountains, here, are mostly paper;
those who pass below her, mostly
paper-warriors who are more comfortable
with molehills than with mountains.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Full in my face, a westerly off Thimble
Peak and Badger Hill. It hints of a far-off
sea where tall ships wait. Other hikers have
come this way, leaving notes and cairns, arrows
scratched in dirt. They've listened to the twelve
winds—arctic gusts with tales of Northern Lights
dancing; warm south-winds, a room with door
ajar: secrets of roses; the summit-easterly of long,
dry travels; someone else's vision. I imagine—
east beyond an ocean—wind tracing a ring
of moorland stones. Myth and mystery. Stories
with winds of distant places in their hair, so
I'm dizzy with imagining; with breathing
too much Sierra-high thin air.
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
A black owned by the stars
Sweeping into our rooms,
Hoping to explain in some way
The singing we do almost daily,
But afraid to tell us what
This noise was really about.
These songs are considered treasure
By some, those who follow
The wandering line of twilight
And cruise onto a perfect river
Or cast a line into
Those countries we would pay to cross
As have others not our own.
We whisper together, nearly insane
Knowing we must course through
The sparkling dark once
Again. Silent. Never again to speak
That such a thing as this has happened.
“Do not go here my child.
There is no one can find you
Should you become lost.”
But the winds took her
And the winds played their
Tricks of light.
Presently we would see the moon
And we would forget entirely
We were still miles away
In this woods, unable to
Even speak again.
I’ve never seen anything similar
Since. Such a lovely bending
Space had precipitated there.
The light just right, an engaging
Rhythm sensed in the breeze,
A confluence of peoples and stories
Interrupting one another with astonishing
Grace, almost choreographic, as
They insisted upon proceeding
With the moment. So it was.
From here it looks almost a decade
Long. Now I am able to discern
The twining as particular individuals,
Particular tales, some folk stories, generations
Old, some new, events, situations, all glimmer
Brightly, even as they expand into distance.
As one attempts to arrange this time
It is being constantly overtaken by
Another and another, equally insistent.
Still, this particular bend flashes the room
Again and again, as if something
Important to all things may have
Been contained there, something
Worth remembering, like kissing your
Mouth just now, like realizing
This bliss could be ourselves.
THE SAD ROOM
Everywhere else was surrounded
By dancing multitudes. Swirling
Colors filled the air like so many
Butterflies. Waves of laughter
Thrilled the place, spilling
Even into the hallways,
Overflowing the fountains
With great exuberance.
But the room, the sad room,
Held together by walls of dismay,
Sorrow and that kind of longing
Responsible for the greatest
Love stories, remained the same.
No doors. Blank windows. No
Way to know it was there
In the middle of all that swirled
Around it, except that one step
Accidentally through a long thought
Passing like a glance at twilight.
Then the place could be seen.
Its sincere and formal presence
Clear. Its fireplace, a reminder,
Its dim painting reminders. Draped
In silences, the windows clouding, now
Unclouding, a walkway for dreams.
It disappears more quickly
than thought. One might see a twinkle
Reflected in a window pane, a glass
Lifted to an old friend, a momentary
Lull in the breeze. Gone with tinkling
Wind chimes even as I look into your
Eyes, no longer able to believe in time.
The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities..."