Spring Snow

Great, cruel storms that sweep
Down from great lands somewhere
Up North pile up and stain a
Vibrant white door, chairs…
Stools foolishly left
Outside. How it

Coats walls and reminds me of
That great, lone house in Dr.
Zhivago. Out in a lost
Country. Full of frozen statues,
Quaint chairs pulled up beside
Frozen fires. A winter-land
Inside. Snow backs by dinner
Tables. Chandeliers of ice and
Old fires. While in

A locked room upstairs the
Snow swirls and slaps but
A single fire lights old thoughts and
Gives a place for poems and love and
A safe spot amidst the storm,

As it runs down from far off
Places and piles up near once
Warm lands of still ponds and
Deep, lurking streams.

Up the Nile

Great fires that light
Nights of storms and flashes
In barren lands. Where
Hot sands melt and stain
Hats a pale green. But

Waters are fresh and pale
And hide ancient statues of
Unknown pharaohs that I
Learned of once from worm-
Eaten books.

Wild Horses, Spotted Once

I see them in dark
Ancient forests, nestled
Up against bright, old
Pines. These

Horses these beasts that
Roam and wander roam
And crash through snow
Crests where an old trail
Once led to summits by
A cabin left abandoned –
The home now of the
Wind and weeds. Ah,

Horses spotted in the distance.
The only sign
Smells and hoof
Prints in dark earth. The

Whine on a winter morning when
Woods are covered in mist and
Somewhere out
There is an echo an
Eerie sense of calm as
Plumes of hot breath break
Up through blue, bright
Blue sky. Such

Freedom I
Think. Such…

In European Cathedrals in…

Churches crept through on rainless
Nights. Images of age and dust
Clinging to corners I
Cannot see. Candlelight.

Murmurs and Hymns
Sung, somewhere, in
The distance. While

Soft steps echo down aisles trod
Down by countless feet through
The long years. Handprints that
Run deep into walls, a
Mark, a
Plaque of people that once came…
But now sleep, somewhere,
Below broken stones of
Broken cemetery lawns. Yes,

Light rises up and the smell
Of incense lit by
Young boys that pay a dime
By smiling saints. Ancient
Women smiling down as
Glass shards of color
Fall on fragile floors of

Whispers I gaze up at
Paintings that
Chip. That creak with age but
Impart something beyond
Us as we…

Pass, crawl on knees across
Tired stones to
Tired men that read by candles that burn
Beside quiet eyes of women who
Mumble and whisper…

Mumble,
And whisper of
Time and death and
Age?

Caving in Altamira

Descending once in sub-
Terranean gloom you notice:
Cold and heat and tall points
Of stone that reach up to
A sky, never seen. Such

Darkness here. Rocks that creep
With moss. Tepid puddles of
Water in distant corners. Then

I imagine a torch in hand, fingers
That grope knowingly across
Rough walls. To a spot to a
Place where chatter is heard and
The stillness of tomb-like quiet.

Hearts beating you can hear
Hearts beating here.

Then you look up and see an
Old man I think with his
Frail hands against the wall. The
Torch lights it up as
Bright colors blow from hollow tubes –

Red. Deep reds that
Emblazon the rock, leaving a shadow
Of a hand that reaches out to us
From across time, from
The mist and madness
Of ceaseless centuries.

Note: At the caves in Altamira, Spain,
Prehistoric hands appear on the walls.
Signatures from the past.

The Cowboy’s Lament

Gone are the days of
Wild fires on moonless
Nights – by rocks that
Rise up to lone,
Starry skies.

Gone. Gone are the moments
On open ranges and times
By streams that whisper
To sad men that look out
To mountains and trees:

Ridges and aspens that
Quake in breezes on spring
Days when you awake to pure
Smells and embers that still
Burn from fires lit
Long ago.

Gone. It seems all
Gone and the lament of horses
That pick up clods in forests
That wind and twist up steep slopes
And I can’t help thinking that
Once we reach the top there

Is nowhere to go
But down. Below to valleys with
Streams that float across stones
Miners picked up once and tossed
Back to the past, to moments

When the wind was all you heard and the
Firm feeling of horse was all
You needed as you rode off
To lands where storms spoke of
Truth of whispers of…

Immortality. I seek

Ranges. I seek mountains still
Left untouched by the hands
Of shallow men.

Dry Thoughts, Spoken Aloud

“I can think back on that time as a stay
As a pale thing that tightens and sits
In dark corners, but that comes to play
With us, us who complicate matters with wits
That cramp styles, that lurch in fits
To dances, to songs of long forgotten comedy:
Of ballets, of dancers, of she who flits
Across broken screens that showed us tragedy:
Of people and laughs and… an eye
A yellow eye that gazed out at smart
Scenes of ancient lawns that would cry
Like broken dreams and like the dark hearts
Of things that sit and moan –
That sit like a smooth, soft stone.”

J. Humbert Riddle’s Mountain Letter, Unaddressed

Editor’s Note:
I found this nailed to
A cabin door once owned by
J. Humbert Riddle. The
Cabin, by all appearances, had
Been long abandoned.

Somewhere, lost perhaps is
A sound in a quiet, still
Forest. Of trees. Of words

Whispered to the earth. To
Wind that whips trees and
Calls to black birds that fly

Off to the sun sinking… sinking
On ridges that still cling to
Bits of brown snow. Yes,

An absence shouts. Yells at
Quiet and calm and the smell
Of water melting and growing

Up again in leaves that sing in
Breezes and that
Call to us to come from…

Far away… to come to
Me…

A Rocky Mountain Song

Great are the places we know
But know as if
For the first time.

The sight of rain on hills
With barren peaks. The
Roar of memory that
Mingles with songs sung by
Steeples once, so long
Ago, when young

And an Indian with friends and
Runs down hillsides and smells
Of fresh air that I seem to see
Through days of fatigue, through

Stars so clear you can reach
Up to them and sift them out
Like hot spaghetti. I

Have been here once, I
Have come back to places once
Thought lost… too far gone
To return. Like

Mists on hillsides and antiques
In corners with dust and names
That almost fade away. I

Am here. I have seen things
So beautiful I cry at ridges that
Rise up to starry space in a
Place where ranges roam free and
Streams still whisper of families
Who lived here once… So

Long ago. In Rocky Mountain
Spaces. In places of
Red dirt on shoes. On
Memory. On home
Among peaks. Among

Wild distances… this
Rocky Mountain home of

Mine?