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Archive for July, 2018

Afternoon Storm

IMG_3851Here on the mountain
storms drift down
from the north,
announced
by thunderous clamor
and fierce wind.
They clear the horse flies,
mow the hills
with slashing wind
and fresh rain,
leaving the scent
of sweet wet sage,
air chilling
as the sun
dips behind blackened
skies:
the dog runs for shelter
shaking
searching
for some
long lost den,
landing at my feet
panting
to the rhythm
of each clap.

Everything settles downimg_9170
except for a lone
antelope
climbing
up the hill
through the wild grass
grazing
in defiance
his rear
tilted to the sky:
a white bullseye.
Hail
follows cold
drilling
the metal roof
ice filling
the birth bath
as bluebirds
take cover
squirrels scamper
all creatures bed,
except
for
this rebel
antelope
who jumps
ramming
his felt
horns
against
pounding
hail
absurdly
graceless
delightful
comic
jester.

The bands of
rainIMG_1572
hail
wind
come all afternoon
like a concert
with no end,
light changing
over and over,
the sun
peering
out from under
black
then
turning to a thin sliver
of light
in the gray.

The air feels thick
as the mind
softens
eyes struggling
to keep open.
And just
as the creatures
are forced
under
cover
so we:
dullness
overcomes
the body
quietIMG_4523
fills the mind –
a needed rest
after morning
hikes,
relentless
days of mountain sun
long into the night
bright.
It is a welcome
storm
if not for the dog……

 

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(tomorrow Allen would have turned 71)

Funny how we keep old habits
long after
we really need to turn
them lose.
Think the same
thoughts
over time
even
when they need to think us…..

But there’s one secret
game
I play
here in these mountains
every star glittered night,
staring up at the night sky
till my neck aches –
The dog
following me out
into the chill
of the porch,
long after all sleep,
I lift my gaze
to kiss
the first falling star
and whisper
your name.

You are my night -visitor
and as many years
as the Madison river
has carried your
memory
past all
the echoes of my tears,
past the joy
of fishermen
who catch trout
by your plaque –
simple reminder
that you were
“a lover of this river.”
The mountains hold
our secret
deep in shadow
all seasons
forever
and will,
when I too,
turn to ash.

Then after we are long forgotten
children,
here on this spot
will gaze
toward
the night sky,
star kisses
blessing
their innocence
and in the valley
coyotes
will sing
our song.

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The morning mist
clings to the riverIMG_1585
draping the Madison range,
and muting the sunrise.
I rise
to the shrill
warning
whistle
of a ground squirrel :
I stumble to
the open window –
she’s standing
atop her mound
on guard
in the frigid
morning air,
a harrier hawk
skims the sage,
coyotes
yip
near the valley
and
the dog bounds
out the door.
Now she has
even more
to worry about.

Another MontanaIMG_1572
dawn
where time
stands
clear
crisp
and
still.
I venture out
arms
wrapped around
my chest
and
from the porch
scan my world,
deer often
graze
on our long grass,
among the wildflowers:
striding
lightly
searching out
tender arrowleaf shoots,
or delicateIMG_3081
mountain bluebells.
The ground squirrels
dart from mound to mound
filling their cheeks
with fresh
grass seed
and tender shoots.
The mountain wren
who’s nested
under the metal
porch roof,
alights
on the railing
opening
her tiny throat
to sing
operatic
sized
songs
trilling
in open ecstasy.
The Madison river
pounds
staccato
in the valley,
its melody
rebounding
against
these
snow peaked
mountains.

Everyday brings
a new gift,
an unseen sight:
a fawn sleeping
in aspen,
red tail hawk
gliding over
prairie
where deer mice
scatter
into the
waiting
jaws of weasels,
antelope
darting
through the ravine
scrambling
to safety
in the boulders
running
from a bear sow
2 cubs in tow,
while a gray wolf
eyes
the young bait…..
Un seen, but ever present
and sometimes
on lucky days
revealed.

I walk,
as always
in search
of gifts,
of magical
sightings
that give
my day meaning.
Rarely am I disappointed.
I gather these
moments
in my mind’s eye13335786_10157167229000413_2359454396368586780_n
to unwrap
in the dead of winter
when the city
buries my soul
in its
opaque skies
and
relentless rain.
And if quiet
descends
and blesses me
I find my words
once again
and
like the raven
who haunts
my days
collecting,
plotting
for the perfect moment –
write.
*title comes from a James Wright poem
and those very words haunt all of us poets

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