Inspired by
That Two-Thousand Yard Stare, 1944

Ghosts at Noon Came Riding, 1967

once the river lazed dreamily
through a forgotten valley
past "a lonely town sleeping"
where to my youthful eye
even a hill of embered slag
sparked a yearning heart

after classes the historic river
became metaphor of separation
shadows on the desert echoed
the long low moan of conquest
and a dramatic peak spoke
in the curve of a fossil shell

then the desert's desiccation
found its voice no longer mute
awakened to the elemental flow
over surfaces labeled brutal
(though humans be the brutes)
as words deepen the gift of light

now the riverbed is not the river
the peak not a half-buried reef
the desert not an echo chamber
here I dance among the lines
of this energy that binds me
to what we may call creation