Quarter moon

over Calf Creek,

a stand of pink tamarisks,

3 straight

cottonwood, 4

arched, 7 by

lightning split.

The steep

walls of Escalante

rise up white,

red, clay,

brown, now streaked

with black. To

the north, Death

Hollow cuts wild

salt cedar shadows

from out the sun

washed plateau.

Thick green

moss adorns a

riverbend. Old

Man Sage fills his pipe.

The air blows sweet

across the red bench.

A small black

snake scrambles

into beaver dam.

Long green snake

marries its

tread to sand.

With violet-green

wings combing

the rock, thin-shouldered

swallows loop down

on the fly. Is

any color

more pleasant than

their blue-green

back? Not

silver green

cool of sage &

Russian olive. Not

dark green of wise

juniper. The

feminine yellow-green

of willow &

tamarisk. Deep

green of oak

& cottonwood leaves.

Not bright green

of horsetail, cattail,

or rosemary, not

blue mint

ricegrass in

my palm.

Wind blowing

in from far

off Texola,

but soft, gentle

as apache plume.

Around the first bend,

after Sand Creek,

up high, on the ridge,

a natural bridge

carved by who? One

more turn &

Escalante Arch

swings into view,

its flight of

swallows, memory

of ice––the

loss, beauty’s gift,

as mountain and

desert are Nature’s

fiction, but, the

arch is her poetry,

her startling

compression of

clarity & depth.

What says great Eternity,

her blue mouth of sky

flashing through

arch’s dark lips?

Who is speaking?

Whose breath do I feel

as the endless

river cradles

each long

weeping storm.

The heart

is an arch, a

subtle &

exquisite form.

Thru it, see

the Summer Triangle.

In that, the Northern

Cross. Always

more snow, rain and

clouds, the literature

of hawks.

Not a tiny pear cactus

shall pierce

the emptiness within,

yet makes way

for what is to come.

Stone expands, always

moving further out.

It is our crumbling

opens up the arch, &

we are put on earth

but a little space

that we may

learn to bear

the beams of Love.



Escalante Canyon

25-28 June 1990



[Published in Grasslands.

© 1994 by Jim Cohn.] 




(Writers & Books Publications, 1994)