Vaughn Short – Old Grand Gulch at Night
It began with a little country boy burying his poems in a coffee can. His life ended the poet laureate of the Colorado River, troubadour of the desert, orator of the mountain tops.
Vaughn lived a long and full life with many adventures. From the ranch lands of Southeastern Arizona to the pacific shores and back to the lone mountain tops of the desert island ecosystems, but his heart always remained in the red rock canyon country of the Southwest.
High in the cliffs where the old ones dwelt
Ancient spirits rose and stirred.
They crowded about, their presence I felt,
Then their whispered words I heard.
They told of when the corn maidens danced
While the drummers beat and swayed.
Around and around they wheeled and pranced
While the hump-back flute player played.
Those were the days when life was good,
When there was time to sit and dream
While the soft winds played in the cottonwood
And the beavers dammed the stream.
When gold the squash lay on the ground,
Corn leaves rustled in the breeze,
And all about game did abound,
And there were song birds in the trees.
So when I look high on the wall
And the crumbling ruins I see,
Then is the time that I recall
What the spirits said to me.
Then I feel the drummer’s beat,
Hear the hump-backed fluter play,
See the dancing girls on nimble feet
As they circle, prance, and sway.
This to me is what the old Gulch means,
When I sit down here below.
And I know they’re true, these ancient scenes,
For the old ones told me so.
September-October 2007 Earth First!
Date: September 20, 2012