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Robert C Howard Mar 2014
homage to Wallace Stevens

I - My Focus pistoned up the rise
      and all at once, the Rockies -
            silhouettes against the western skies.

II - On the road to Boulder
      a pleated ridge crawls north
            like a blue whale bound for the open sea.

III -  Appalachia's intoxicating verdure
      never fails to induce in us
            a certain mellowing of the spirit.

IV - You 'conquered' my North Face, did you?
      Why, I should skewer your arrogant ***
            like a holiday lamb culled for the sacrifice.

V - Lewis and Clark looked west
      surveying the Bitterroots' frigid expanse.
            Farewell Northwest Passage!  

VI - Pueblos stranded on Enchanted Mesa -
      their rock stairs crumbled to the valley floor.
            Should they dive to their death or starve?

VII –Touristas at Big Bend Park
      wonder at its pastel window -
            its romantic haze a toxic gift
      from stacks across the Rio Grande.

VIII – The once mighty Ozarks humbled by age,          
      dwarfed by the youthful Rockies.
            Listen up, youngsters, your time will come!

IX – We de-bussed to seize the dolomites
      with our hyper-kinetic shutters.
            Pausing for a draught of Italian air,
      I felt the whack of an Alpine snowball.

X - Before Oregon's crater had its lake,
      the mountain scorched the village below.
            Today its azure waters preach only serenity.

XI – Looking down from Shissler peak
      to the golden meadow below
            where the elk herd calmly grazes.

XII – Do mists veil the Blue Ridge Mountains
      or are there really no mountains at all -
            only clouds decked out in mountain attire?

XIII – They say that peaks more steep than Everest
      soar up from the ocean floor.
            Who will scale their sunken heights?

May 28,  2010 – Boulder Colorado
Included in Unity Tree - Collected poems
pub. CreateSpace - Amazon.com
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
Western Sources

Mist, rain and snowmelt gather
And soak the Montana crests.
A trio of rivulets carves the slopes,
Grow to rivers that braid into a single course
And the Missouri is born at Three Forks.

Shoshone and Hidatsu rest from the hunt,
Kneel and cup their hands
To raise life giving liquid to their lips
While horses bow beside them
Bellies filled with the refreshing waters.

The river flows north dividing the tall grasslands,
Plunges over the cataracts at Great Falls,
Churns on the rocks below
And drives inexorably toward the sea.

*Mandan and Sioux


Soft flute sounds drift from the Mandan village
Intertwining with the riffling music of the river.
By its banks a coarse French trapper roasts a rabbit
To share with his Shoshone child-bride.
Sacagawea sings softly beside him -
Charboneau's son stirring in her womb.

Sioux warriors on horseback
Stand guard by the shores.
How many travelers have passed?
How many are yet to come?
Beyond the rolling hills
A buffalo stumbles and falls
Pierced by Lakota arrows and spears.

Boats in the Water

At *River du Bois
where the Missouri
Collides with the Mississippi,
Forty men slip into boats and take to the oars
To interpret Jefferson’s continental dream -
Their keelboat laden with sustenance,
Herbs, weapons and powder.
They carry trinkets to dazzle the natives
And cast bronze medals to give them
Bearing images of their "Father in Washington"
That none had asked to have.

*May,  2004
John West Oct 2015
Dog
Woof, bark
His name is Clark
He has dark hair
And runs like a bear
dear clark,
rip off your suit and save me already.
i'm lost.
love, lois

— The End —