Showing posts with label sierra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sierra. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mule Skinner

After five days at the fairgrounds
in Bishop California
finishing third and fourth
in a couple of calf roping events

and chatting with a small but steady stream
of strangers who strolled the rows of stalls
after days of bits of apples and carrots
for children to feed to his mule Sunflower

Henry was more than happy to lift
the heavy tongue of his dust streaked trailer
walk Sunflower up the metal ramp
turn north onto highway 395

and as the mountains began to tinge red
he looked to a summer of days in the saddle
and felt the knots in the back of his neck
two days drive to Bozeman Montana

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Safe Passage

I could write a poem
about epic adventure,
preparation, struggle,
final overcoming,
the tired entrance into camp,
with dawn just emerging over the far mountains.

But better to write about
a sunny summer day
on a well worn path above Bass Lake
following Willow Creek,
woods green with spring colors,
air fresh and cool and damp
like the moisture of fresh snow melt
still hiding in the dark recesses of the wood,

and the water high with the spring flood,
racing deep and fast through a rocky flume,
smashing into boulders,
foaming in deep whirlpools,
where the east side is hemmed in
by the vertical granite wall,
and the west side is a wide sloping granite shelf
warmed in morning sun,
an inviting deviation from the path
that loops away through still cool wood,

and how we walked along the shelf,
thirty feet from the edge,
and how the seeping water was barely noticed,
the algae clinging to the rock
so slick that we were without warning on hands and knees,
sliding, slowly, down the shelf,
and how each attempt to stand was unsuccessful,
and brought us closer to the roiling water,
and only the most gentle movement
made progress against the slanting rock,
twenty feet of passage
sideways, slow, slow crawl,
measuring each move,

and how the sun shone, and the birds sang on,
and the sound of water never changed.

copyright © 2011 Francis Kearns