Cañon City

I’ve been here in Colorado for the past few days. I hadn’t seen the Rocky Mountains in person in fourteen years, and they’re even bigger, even more beautiful, than I’d remembered. But there are things so much bigger than the Rockies.

There are things so big that one needs a whole new horizon in which to fit them. But the eyes it takes to see those things fit like new glasses. They hurt. That’s what this poem is about.


Cañon City

I.

Does everything die? You fool,
I went out into a field in the night,
and a chill wind blew through the grass,
and a chill wind blew through my bones,
and I forgot the life I’d lived,
forgot the life I’d wanted to live.

Today I climbed a mountain–
the scenery here was spectacular.
But in this dark, in this fog, I couldn’t see
more than a hundred feet.

Home tomorrow. A hundred feet, huh.
I can’t take the rocks with me, can’t take the cactus, the blue sky, the Rockies, only memories . . .
I forget.
Tell me: does everything die?

II.

Lord Jesus,
tell me: does everything die?
I am the grass. Green and fresh now . . .
Generations go, and the Rockies are eroding.
I, I am the fool.

Home tomorrow. I am a fool,
and my works follow me, and my hands
hang down. Only one Rock in this night
stands firm, Lord Jesus.

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