Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sierra poems

blowing along

blowing along...

a little butterfly

-Issa, 1804

From the Sierra…

good news, a breathtaking abundance of wild flowers, now at its height in this late starting season. Just returned from two nights and three days in the Carson Pass area of the El Dorado National Forest, a few miles into the wilderness, off Hwy 88.

The flowers were stunning, walking through garden after garden of color beyond words; and at both of the peaks we managed to scramble, just below 10,000 ft., we were met by the joyous dancing of high mountain butterflies.

Lake Winnemucca,

under an arc of illumined star dust

--the Milky Way

flows over our heads, tossed

and turned by night winds.


Well, it was light,

before the sun, the sky clear

of everything.

So I went to the lake

to bathe.

Night winds

pushed the last of the ice

to rest against snow covered out crops

rising a thousand feet


the rushed and dimpled surface

now coming, as I,

under the early reach of the sun,

in witness—a kind word

for this kind feeling,

not to explain or capture,

but to respond in kind

to the love

therein extended.


All throughout the day and the night,

snow-melt cascades,

its mark, the silent stretch of granite

into the waiting sky.

Marmots appear with the first fall of sunlight,

young and old, each atop

a single of the scattered rocks,

each alone, to sit and listen.

A place of ancient prayers, a time

of refuge—wishes are sung here, hearts

offered over the lake in the many tongues

found in the winds—whispers, here received.

And as the birds, two of them, call out

three times, then turn to take their leave,

I turn to my bowed shadow to vow

not to go back to sleep.


Back in the low-lands, again…

Becoming not so certain

at all, of most things, any

thing, tentative steps become

the certainty, a certain

kind of dance, light, attentive,

wondering where the music

falling itself off the tongue

will lead, wondering whose heart

directs the next joyous step.

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