And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when
                                – Johnny Cash (“Folsom Prison Blues”)

We’ve essentially been sequestered to the house since returning from Elko, gray and rainy days—water leaking, standing, running around us, creek, once again, too high to cross in the Kubotas, nowhere for a pickup to go without tearing up the roads or getting stuck. But yesterday, the sun illuminated hillsides so green that you had to squint for a while before completely opening them. Glorious, indeed.

While inside, I’ve been trading emails with Andy Wilkinson as we work on publication of the keynote speech that he delivered at the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the entirety of which was his long poem “Storyline”. Perhaps it’s my hearing that tends to settle on a rhyme before the intended word, but I’ve almost always preferred poetry on the page, its presentation without distraction, words you can chew on before moving on. Listening Thursday morning in the Elko Convention Center auditorium, Andy was small and far away at the podium, the rhythm of his delivery was so musically mesmerizing, I knew I was missing words, yet caught up with his multi-faceted approach to ‘story’, the theme at Elko this year, as it related to time, science and us, but I managed to keep up with the keynote.

Downstairs from the offices of the Western Folklife Center, I ran into Andy at the Pioneer Saloon, the setting for his “Muriel Rukeyser and the Story-Time Continuum”, an essay that appeared in the Gathering’s program booklet that I hadn’t read yet. I asked Andy if would send me the text of “Storyline”—we even discussed having Dry Crik publish it.

The poem and the essay arrived Wednesday and I went to work, like a kid eager for sweet reward, on the layout, exchanging emails with Andy in Lubbock, Texas until yesterday about noon, sunshine everywhere green instead of gray. The banter of our communication was truly a dance as we discussed punctuation and space on the page, the poem and its presentation for four and a half days.

Our labor of love in the hands of cyberspace, I could stay inside no longer—grabbed the camera, got in the Kubota, and carefully traveled the pasture adjacent to the house, trying catch the freshness of the remaining spring-like day without getting stuck. Forecast for another week of rain begins Thursday. This is something!


12 responses to “SEQUESTERED

  1. Yes!! I am with you. I love recited poems, but I tend to get stuck on a word or feeling and when I surface it seems that I am behind the curve and the words have outstripped me. Lost my place! Lost in the rhythm and music of the sound.
    Please let everyone know when we can curl up in a warm, sunlit corner and “chew” on that poem, and the essay.
    We went to bed last night not knowing if the hundreds of people leaving Oroville, Marysville and all those little valley towns I went to when I was young and going to amateur rodeos, would escape the possible fury of a dam rupture. I am afraid to turn on the TV to see what happened. They said they could fix it, but can they? The wall to wall headlights leaving the area were scary!!


  2. I have a friend who has relatives in Oroville where, from what I read, the spillway is giving way and evacuations will be taking place. Scary, sad news.



  3. I’m intrigued with talking story, but also get lost as my mind drifts on a thought brought up. Written story, poems are so much like comfort food to be savored and chewed on as my mind digests the beauty.
    Beautiful photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am soooo happy that you will publish Andy’s poem. I have wanted to read it since hearing him…..Great hearing you at Elko John.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John, the only thing better than being in the auditorium listening to Andy deliver that amazing keynote is knowing that you are involved in putting out the printed edition. Dry Crick must run high with black ink drawn with love and care from the deepest seams of earth and man. I can see you headed down the hill with that editorial bucket to dip out some. Thanks for the love you slather over each word gathered in and found good enough to bear the Dry Crick imprimatur.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is a beauty of a horse brand! Is there a poem about ownership through the years?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a Fairlea gelding, one of three on the ranch that have served us well, raised in Badger up Dry Creek Road. That’s their freeze brand. Oh, the horse poems, I can go there almost anytime.


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