Saturday, 20 of January of 2018

Tag » Utah

Vaughn Short – Old Grand Gulch at Night


Excerpt From The Memorial to Vaughn Short (1923 – 2010)

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.

Once when the moon hung big and round
In the old Grand Gulch at night,
Eerie the shadows on the ground,
Uncanny was the light.

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.

These are the things that were whispered to me
In the old Grand Gulch that night,
Not of the droughts or the misery
Of survival’s struggling flight.

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.

Vaughn Short
September-October 2007 Earth First!

Susan McCampbell Ring – Chipmunks Of Trial Lake

Chipmunk PoetryEver since I was a little girl I fantasized
about little wild animals running up to touch me.

A steely-cold High Uintah morning:
and I’m twenty-six, sitting on pine duff waiting

for the sun. When finally it peeks
over the far mountain and through

the canopy of tremendous old firs dripping lichen
it wakes an excited tribe of chipmunks.

I decide that if I can sit still
enough–and THINK like

a boulder–they won’t mind me and they’ll
just go about their October morning

rituals. I am stone, I say to myself,
over and over, clearing my head

of artificial chatter and the “civilized”
things upon which I dwell. I am stone.

I keep my eyes lowered, trying not
to watch their striped antics and

velvet acrobatics, trying not
to smile when one is chased into my leg,

and trying not to laugh out loud when one
hops to my Levi-clad knee, jumps to my

sweatered arm, scurries up to my
neck and tickles me with tiny

flicking hands. Soon the others
catch on: a grand idea! Running

laps on my shoulders and back,
across my elbows and cross-legged

lap, and once or twice even perching
high on my winter wool cap.

I don’t dare blink. I try to breathe
slower than the trees and I try to stay

as still as granite. The chipmunks frolic like
tiny clowns–testing me, mocking me?–

and then chase each other away. Now I feel
lonelier than rock and I think

I understand how the Earth must be taking
the news of mass extinction.

15 VII 94
Susan McCampbell Ring

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