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Robert C Howard Oct 2018
Above the caldera at Yellowstone,
a brittle soil-rock crust
caps a lake of liquid fire
with only fumaroles and roiling geysers
to stay its upward ******.

One errant step is all it takes
to breach that mantle's fragile seal -
spelling death by fire
to any hapless wanderer
who fails to guard his path.

Fragile calderas also roil
buried in darkest hollows of our psyches -
brewed of failures, slights and fears
dissolved in molten pools
of self-consuming misery.

To dress and salve our wounds
we sow gardens of reconciliation within
with beauty, trust and reason
and bow to gods of grace and solace.

But a despot’s studied eye
knows just how to tap our fragile crusts,
releasing acrid lava flows
from pools where fear and rage reign hot
and reason has no district.

Sisters and brothers of our flesh I pray
we find a holy and transforming alchemy
to convert our heat to light
and shield our sacred calderas
from enemies that stalk us from within.

July, 2006, revised December, 2014, 2015 and 2018
Robert Charles Howard
I decided to repost this poem because after scores of revisions over the years every stanza is substantially different than it was when I first wrote it in 2006.  Hopefully after 12 years, I've got it figured out.
Andrew M Bell Feb 2015
Have you ever stood,
craning your neck to look up into the canopy
of the ancient kauri, Tane Mahuta,
while peace and birdsong permeate your soul?

Have you ever felt
the crusty spray and the satanic whiff
as the Pohutu geyser shoots aloft
while a dozen languages bubble through te reo?

Have you ever shivered
in the receding darkness,
standing in the china-white sand as you waited
for the first sunrise over Makorori Beach?

Have you ever sat
on the summit of Mt Taranaki
and eaten a well-deserved sandwich
while cows grazed far below on the lush, volcanic-rich pasture?

Have you ever experienced
that mixture of fear and awe
as an orca’s dorsal breached beside your too-fragile kayak
in the shining waters of the Abel Tasman?

Have you ever paused
atop a ski run on Coronet Peak
and reflected on the reflections
of sunlight dancing on snow and water?

Have you ever felt sorry
for tourism chiefs and advertising creatives
trapped in offices in the Auckland CBD
dreaming up “100% Pure” and “Clean and Green”?
Copyright Andrew M. Bell

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