NEW FRONTIERS

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                               Is it not by his high superfluousness we know
                               Our God?

                                     – Robinson Jeffers (“The Excesses of God”)

A boy goes outside looking for adventure
on new ground, catching disappearing glimpses
of her skirts through the trees, and he is ready
to tame the West where there are no rules—
ready to leave his mark upon the landscape.

After a lifetime, all the hackneyed, black
and whited-hatted heroics sound like the same
song, boom or bust flashes in the pan
that end badly, sadly leaving her abandoned
flesh as landmarks in a state of disgrace.

An old man goes outside looking for other
frontiers to get lost within, to follow wild
details that teem with heart in all things—
hawk and stone, tree and grass—to be assured
of the rainbowed superfluousness of his God.

 

BELIEVERS

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Remember when it used to rain
and we made clouds of our own,
when the dryads played quietly

upon the dampened dust beyond
the bare boughs of oak trees?
The earth came alive with birdsong,

hawks soared in circles crying
with delight and we watched—
once again believing in deities.

 

REGAL (3030)

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We know the ones up-close,
go looking when they’re missing
from the bunch lined-out on hay.

Most girls like their privacy,
find draws of rock and brush
that feel good, secure apart

from any other day. It changes
them, this first motherhood—
some find the carriage of a queen.

 

 

DUST AT DAWN

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In a cloud, horseplay rising
from a two-year drought—
time to feed to breathe.

 

 

WPC(4) — “Refraction”

WISHFUL THINKING

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Horse short of wet at dawn,
cattle get the crop of green—
we mow the lawn.

 

 

WPC(3) — “Refraction”

SIGNIFICANT IMPACT

 
So bare, this pasture, you can
see a ground squirrel running
at 300 yards, just ahead

of his light-brown dust trail
streaming to join the dirty air.
Much fewer now with no grass

since their bumper crop last spring,
no place to hide but in a hole
from coyotes, bobcats and hawks.

So bare, these hillsides rising
in dawn’s first light, silhouettes
of cows and calves in clouds

walking off the tops of ridges,
ambling from the high stubble
towards the only water

for a mile along the creekbed
of dry sand and cobbles, sycamores
dressing early for Halloween.

Sixty years ago, an old man
with dirty hands and hat,
bib overalls and grease

whittled a willow-fork
to show me how and where
he was going to drill.

 

DAWN

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Blessed at first light
with the radiance of hope
for one prolonged moment.

 

 

WPC(2) — “Refraction”

DUSTBOW

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Tracks stirred early
to rise and settle slowly
color the way to work.

 

 

WPC(1) — “Refraction”

BASIC STUFF

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Writing poetry in the dark
before moving cows
and fresh calves
to better pasture,
I ask about the weather
on TV I’ve missed
over a weekend of
making more from less water
while you’ve planted seeds
for a fall garden—more
hopeful than ever before.

You say, ‘More of the same
for the next few days, cooler.’
Two years of dust and drought
have worn us down to basic stuff—
and we like what we see
in one another.

 

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Floral Friday

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Despite all the bad news,
let’s live life richly,
one petal at a time.