Tag Archives: sycamores




Color comes with cold and wet

within the canyon, even before

the creek flows or sycamores burn


leather brown to shed their clothes—

white bodies tangled in a pagan dance

to gods unknown.  Orioles return


as sparks in the brush, levity

in the pink overcast of dawn.

We glean the fallen skeletons


of oak and brittle manzanita

to fill the woodstove. Curious cattle

come to wonder what we’re about.



Last flash of limbs

in a pagan dance

as shadows crawl

across the creek

to pull night’s curtain up

into the stars.


The canyon has come to life

with promises of spring—

birds and trees are talking

above the bulls’ primal bellowing—

tension spills with energy.


Shrill yips and howls

in every draw ignites

another all-night

canine celebration

to exasperate the dogs.


Even the old flesh perks up

with fresh strategies,

just in case the market’s up

and we get more rain—

just enough to do it over again.

Bulls to Greasy

Allie and Terri coming out of Sulphur after driving the bulls with Robbin to Ragle Springs.  The sycamores are turning, brief yellows and oranges before settling on a rusty brown, the leaves will cling until the first good storm—but nothing in sight, feeding more hay.   




Naked girls reach for the light

                    stage right,
                    day’s end:

with alabaster limbs washed
after a good rain, leaves
puddled in the shadows
at their feet as the sun sets
a little south of the western myth
and the three hundred pagan souls
that owned this canyon,

hills worn smooth—
centuries of cobbles seized
by knotted roots
chasing water
still claim the creek.

A battered jeep limps
home for repairs
down the road between us,
a day at play
in fresh mud and snow

and the girls keep dancing
unconcerned and unafraid

                    of time

                    for me.





Crawling between the cobbles,
the creek begins to run again
lifting a discarded cover of leaves

into fragile rafts downstream
in the prolonged undressing
awaiting a freeze. White flesh

shows on some, bare limbs
reaching outward like flashers
in open russet trench coats

having shed their blush of crimson
weeks ago—slow and deliberate
provocations for hundreds of years

here, of frolicking sycamores, naked
nymphs dancing across the creek
when no one is looking.





Three hundred rings along the creek,
five months dry—another chance
to live, another chance to die

marked with autumn’s fleeting
splendor. Soon naked and lithe,
these old sycamores will cavort

the winter long, memorize and
improvise each lunge and pirouette
until the dance is crystalized

within my mind. Blessed be
the seasons as examples of
yet another chance to get it right.


Grass and Rain




Not quite déjà vu, Saturday’s sun set under clear skies after another half-inch rain, illuminating the sycamores again, but with less intensity. This is the perspective I wanted for yesterday’s post, but by the time I got to this position, the light was gone. When you’ve got grass and rain, you’ve got time to think about other things.


Between Rains




The light changes quickly after breaks in the weather. We had just received a half-inch of rain by Tuesday evening as the sun was setting behind the ridge. Overcast in the canyon but clearing in the valley west of us, the sun found a thin slot between the ridge and clouds to spotlight the sycamores along the creek, our dancing girls.






On the weather map,
a week of storms
four days out

turned down
to a heavy mist
to quell the flames

before the downpour,
wind and rain—
a tame disrobing

before a shower
of leaves that leave
the road between

barbed wire fences
full to the hubcaps
with bedclothes.






Show starts at two
across the road
with wind and rain—

girls shedding
enflamed leaves
in a slow strip tease

of fire exposing
long white limbs
in a chorus line

of dancing nymphs
along the creek
all ready to go

come hell
or high water.