Language

For a second

can’t remember

what country I’m in

or if I’m even in

a country

or the world of

confounded language

on a day of shining sun

lost in

my own body of experience

regardless of home

sound of English singing

in Portuguese

Language

“Poetic Twists & Turns”

Poems twist & turn like rivers

flow smooth then forcibly

overflowing its banks

determined strong

even when still

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Wish you were here

watch sunrise onto the south rim

woke early first ones on the trail

hard to see the river

yet knowing it is there

with its twists & turns

through the canyon

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Alpenglow on stone walls

make new colors

shadows roll up the cliff face

brings out the song

of canyon wren

each note a twist then a turn

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Cut to the core of it

down to the base — the heart of it

was the water forming

then released never knowing

it would someday be a trickle

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We leaned towards home

like rivers —

where to bend

where to spill over

where to stop & pool

how to reflect

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Looking up towards the south rim

we could see people

were they looking down at us

so very small

in this vast canyon

riding the twists & turns

of the river

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Not all rivers run fast like this one

here in the canyon

you can tip go under

swim for your life

some rivers run slow—

take on the sun—

good to swim

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Row and row and row your boat

gently—

gently I say

down—

down the stream

merrily—

merrily—

what is life but a dream—

dream of a river

rowed midstream

gently—

gently—

life is a dream

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Sometimes we must portage

— take higher ground

— study terrain

while others go fast

straight over the waterfall

into the still blue waters below

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Sometimes

the waterfall is fatal

rips off the life jacket

takes me under

sometimes

the waterfall is thunderous

can’t hear myself think

sometimes

the waterfall is so moving

we stand for hours

to contemplate

to explanate

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Path of the river not straight

full of twists & turns

erosion and change

and it goes on catching light

as it goes

carves a new shore

creates sand and gorge

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We wanted to know more

about a name

how to the water it went

creeking

shaped its course

carried debris and treasures

fed ferns

listened for the return

even when dry & barren

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Who remembers

what we ate for dinner

in Poncho’s Kitchen?

tucked under a rock ledge

in the Grand Canyon—

fed by the crew who cooked

and carried our shit

back to the raft—

on we floated

knowing the biggest rapid

was in going forward

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Looking up

we could see the rim

both north and south

where the Navajo Bridge

connected sides in Marble Canyon

further along

the footbridge

where hikers can cross

from one side to another

Colorado River flowing below

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I want to write about

the weather—

how the rain came

and put the fire out

just when we thought it was hopeless

I want to write about the river—

how it moved volumes of water

beneath us

and carried us along

with its blessing

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I want to write about how the sun

comes up

lapping waters with its rays—

I want to write about

how in the predawn there is a mist

that clings

nothing can be seen on the shore

only the light that begins

to settle on that mist

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As a little girl I walked in the creek

to search for agate & salamanders

built curbside dams

when the rain came

mixed flower soup

my father never taught me to shoot

I feared his gun—

prayed he would never

turn it on me

like the defenseless jackrabbit

he killed one day for sport

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There is only so much to be said

about rivers and poetry

yet we keep writing

watch the words stumble

onto paper— ink flowing

some kind of meaning

comes out into the open

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“The moon shimmers in green water. White herons fly through the moonlight.” Li Po

There is always something more

to say about rivers—

how we step into its waters

sure of foot

fish flee then nibble at the feet

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“Light of unspeakable richness…”

John Muir

There is light in the NW

speakable gloom

someday I will endure it

I will winter over and count

the continual days of rain

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“To lovers of the wild, these mountains……” John Muir

Yes, England has mountains

you say & a legacy of poetry—

words that still toll through time

— more renowned for its poets

than its mountains

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There is sorrow for a state

that doesn’t have a mountain

oh Nebraska you flatland

we drove you all day

in a rain storm

you are plowed straight

yield much

feed many

but where are your mountains?

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We hiked Saddleback

Little Colorado in the Grand Canyon

dry even with water

Palo Duro Canyon trails

great day hikes out of campground

love the trails of Zion

so many slot canyons

yet to explore

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“Every trace of dimness had been washed from the sky; the mountains were dusted and wiped clean with clouds…..” John Muir

Oh Texas

you have your mountains

Palo Duro Canyon

second to this Grand Canyon

we hiked for days there

the wind stampeded over my tent

Mt Davis campground

where the acorn woodpecker

fed its babies

retreat to Indian Lodge

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Oh New York

you have your mountains

snow covered in winter

a black diamond marks your slopes

sound of snow on ski—

speed and skill

but no time to stop

on black diamond trail

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“Light of unspeakable richness….”

John Muir

I am trying to understand

how light falls on Alaska

how hours are gained in light

how hours are gained in darkness

and that one point where

there is always LIGHT

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Last April I climbed the staircase

of the Desert Watch Tower—

the way was narrow

I had to hold on

I made it to the top

with other tourists

I snapped some pics—

miles of canyon could be seen

and a storm coming in

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Today the sun shines—

castes shadows that fall

towards winter

tomatoes hurry to ripen

leaves brown

I pick cucumbers & peppers &

squash & eggplant to stir fry

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Each stanza was written on a postcard for August Postcard Poetry Festival – the postcard was an artist’s rendition of the Grand Canyon painted from the south rim called “Poetic Twists & Turns”. The artist is Serena Supplee.

“Poetic Twists & Turns”

I Saw My Mother Dying

I saw my mother dying

Can recognize when someone is about to give up life

“That’s life” an old woman says at the library when the copy machine won’t copy

“That’s death” I say to myself

in between is limbo

Her strong bones frail now

meds keep her under

she wants more

skin pocked with injections

she doesn’t want to know me

what’s the point

she is dying

it can happen to anyone

at anytime

you don’t have to be old to die

I Saw My Mother Dying