Visions of a West, Lost

So much and so
Little like a lone and
Dusty road you come
Down from mountains lost
In snow and rain and clear
Cascades of sky that you

Look up to and out on days
And nights with smoke that
Billows up into a clear
And cool campfire sky. I

See it as small, wooden works
And wood that creaks under boots
With mud and chills and looks
Out to hope and songs that we
Hear on nights when all there is

Is us lost,
Somewhere high
Up.

Black Birds and Mountains

January, 2017

The black birds come
Down and by large, white
Windows with views out

To mountains that back to
Mountains that stretch to
Lakes up tall pine roads.

These black
Birds. They do not
Stay but squawk and perch
With such menacing eyes. While

Out beyond are hills and
Streams and paths that line
Up to mountains that stretch
To mountains I just
Cannot see.

In Praise of Simple Things

Observed on Summer Nights

I.

So often I think
Of vast expanses of
Blue that
Comes up on us

Like storms lost somewhere
In the distance.

II.

The soft, steady
Pellets of rain that
Fall like

Evening shadows across
A red canyon wall.

III.

Birds calling. A
Sweetness of smell as
Wind picks up dry dirt and
Tosses it

Off in bug-filled air.

IV.

Longings and whispers.
Silence and the break
Of branches off
In calm, cool,
Wild woods.

Thoughts on Open Places

The vast openness of space beyond
Space. Roads that flow on
To towns I see by
Signs bent along broken,
Rutted ridgeways. Yes,

Open spaces and places. Views
To mist-covered rocks that make me
Think of some lone man
Climbing up and up
To views of distant longings.

The pristine glimpse,
Of side-views over spaces…

Water pools that come out
With a shock on
Such clear days of sun and mist –
Slight drops of rain that dust
A car moving down
Through passes that twist and wind,
Careen over to a soft place of songs
And silence to openness and… yes,

A lone man walking with a stick, moving
Across an open meadow
On a clear, cool morning high up
In this mystic place
Of long,
Quiet views.

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…

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.

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?