Thoughts of the Ancients

Thoughts of the Ancients, Written
At Mesa Verde

The day the ancients left was
By all accounts a sad, still,
Quiet day, full of reckoning.

They left the dwellings,
They abandoned the canyons,
Leaving them to time,
And the wind.

Stone axes used lovingly for
Years were left in corners.
Old jugs and holders left
Propped up against stone walls
Slowly and meticulously put up
Through the years, and filled
With mud and stray bits of
Stone and dirt. All left
To time, and the wind.

The rooms where babies had
Cried, and were raised up the
Red canyon walls were walked
Out of by feet that will never
Enter them again.

The carefully cut foot-holds wear
Down. The ladders rot. The old
Signs and symbols on walls wear
Away, falling
Away into the dust.

And… the kivas where once the
Clans met in subterranean gloom, and
Where once an elder I think
Sat by the fire, crackling
And billowing up smoke, once
Told tales of winter winds on
The mesa-tops, and walks along
Cliffs cut from the pinyons. Or,
Waving his hands, when the
Birds cawed in his youth and
He remembers them still. The
Night-smells. The bonfires in the
Distance. The distant thunder and
Rain that once came glowing up the
Crystal canyons. All of this is
Left behind. All…

They walked out and never
Came again, these ancients.

13 thoughts on “Thoughts of the Ancients

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 24, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    Oh you brought me back to my visit to Mesa Verde many years ago… unfortunately there were too many visitors there to really sit down and fantasize about the people living there before… so many mysteries on why they left with only echoes of their presence left… fantastic reminder for me.


  2. thotpurge April 24, 2016 / 4:08 pm

    Makes you wonder doesn’t it …everything so ephemeral, so fleeting. ..a lovely contemplation.


  3. Sherry Blue sky April 24, 2016 / 5:43 pm

    You took me right there, to the lives of those long ago days, and today, all deserted. Wonderful writing.


  4. Donna@Living From Happiness April 24, 2016 / 7:30 pm

    A fascinating thing these ancients who left many dwellings in the SW…some of which I have visited and wondered who they were and why they left….I loved being transported back in time to be with them.


  5. Kerry O'Connor April 24, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    Such a haunting scene so well described, I felt I had visited there myself.


  6. Mary April 24, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    And it makes a person wonder just where they went…so many cultures just seemed to mysteriously disappear.


  7. J Cosmo Newbery April 24, 2016 / 10:43 pm

    Come on! You can’t just leave like that! Or is there a sequel?


  8. Wendy Bourke April 24, 2016 / 11:06 pm

    What a wonderful storyteller you are to have taken the vestiges of this place and rendered such a haunting piece. I enjoyed reading this!


  9. C.C. April 25, 2016 / 1:04 am

    I took an archaeology class once and found it inexplicable to imagine these apparent ‘disappearances’–you have depicted well those moments of desertion that seem so sadly haunting, “All left to Time, and the wind” + “Red canyon walls were walked
    Out of by feet that will never
    Enter them again.”


  10. oldegg April 25, 2016 / 4:49 am

    How beautifully you relate this piece of times and people so long gone who through some unknown event just walked away.


  11. Myrna April 25, 2016 / 2:35 pm

    Lovely how you describe this mystery. Your poem honors their existence.


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