Monday, May 24, 2010

sensing the ghosts


The Oregon Trail - Sensing the ghosts
of pioneers who traversed the trail
a century and a half ago:

Tall prairie grass, wind-swept and
burnished gold, whispers with the
long-dead voices of all who passed
on this trail in their dream journey
to Oregon, or even California, or who
died, disease-ridden, exhausted, to be
buried just off the rutted trail
under a lonely stretch of sod
or cairned atop a barren lava bed.

Hawks hover, then spiral effortless
high above, as they did so many years
ago, dark against a soft patchwork
quilt of azure blue sky and creeping clouds.
The occasional click of grasshoppers
is barely audible in the billowing, brittle
grass shaken by the interminable wind.
Dry bones of beasts and hapless humans
dot the edges of the trail, mute testimony
to the brutality of the westward rush
and the following of the Oregon Trail.


Kelly Marszycki said...

dry bones of beasts and hapless humans -- this is very powerful writing, sere and yet beautiful in its' spareness

Warren said...

Hi Kelly - Hey, thank you SOOO much for your comments. I wasn't sure this would connect with anyone. It's perhaps something one has to experience, standing in the ruts cut by so many wagons over a century and a half ago. The trail meanders near my home, and when I need to feel those ghosts again I just stand in the fading ruts, or knee deep in the prairie grass reclaiming its territory.


Bill said...

Here's a haiku I found in your poem

hawks hover
in an effortless spiral–
the Oregon trail

You've caught that eerie feeling we sense when we find ourselves on sacred ground.

Warren said...

Hi Bill - Your haiku catches it all, the agelessness of the hawk (nature) and dreams realized and dreams lost (humanity), all on The Oregon Trail. Gorgeous.

Thanks - Warren

Gillena Cox said...

haiku from your poem

soft patchwork
azure sky and creeping clouds--
Hawks hover

much love

Warren said...

Gorgeous haiku, Gillena - like all of your poems! Thanks for coming in on this one.


J.P.Christiansen said...

In this poem you've managed to make hawks
guard the ghosts of the dreamers
looking west for another life,
but instead had to give it up in the attempt.

Rich in bones and silence
is the Oregon Trail.

Warren said...

J.P. - Thanks for reading and commenting - your time and effort is appreciated.