Sunday, August 06, 2006

Light

This evening I stepped outside to take out the recycling, and was absorbed totally by the spectacular evening light. The sky to the west was mostly clear, but to the east a storm was building, drawing near (and is above us now, the thunder rolling and rolling). So I grabbed my camera for some backyard photos, and then was talked into walking down to a pocket park for a better view of the mountain/clouds by my older daughter. The last photo in this group is by her, in fact:






If that doesn't inspire verse, I'm not sure anything will. To that end, I offer a poem about light, the poem that closes out Riverfall, in memory of an archaeologist I used to work with who passed away when he was younger than I think I am now, now that I think about it:
. . .

Coming Into Premeditated Light

And up from Navajo myths, the sandstone
sliced a scar that is my back, then crumbled

into a geometry of broken pottery.
This could be a trail, but I’ve become confused

by the painted walls, the architecture of caves—
here a bighorn, there a rigid warrior.

Only the red paint of my blood has touched
these broken walls since the Indians sketched

their script. Now my brushwork has added
new verses—a riverfall cascading onto hunting

grounds, a large ram drowned by my fresh blanket.
Up there, Shiprock rises like a thousand broken spears,

but beneath the dust, their gods must have commanded
worship in the form of fire, canyon, sacrifice.

And now, tracing the faint steps of this
subterranean trail, I press myself

through the grimace of the cave’s exit
and hear the grinding of black clay for the kiln,

the rhythm of the pre-hunt chant,
and the slow echo of stone chipping stone.


-- in memory of Ben Phillips

3 comments:

LB said...

Thanks for the glorious photos of Tucson! I miss seeing those sites, but I know where to log in to get a fix of some awesome Tucson shots. I will get some neighborhood shots for you soon - by special request ;)

Hope you're getting excited to start back to school! Looking forward to hearing how you like it.

Best, Lauren

Matthew Thorburn said...

These are gorgeous! I always enjoy your photo posts, but these are really amazing.

The Mr_Baby Hour said...

oh man how i miss those skies...that light. beautiful. nothing compares.