August 18, 2009

Johnson Canyon

This has always been a favorite place. Only about a mile from home, part of my late father-in-law's ranch.

The deep canyon opens to a small seeping pool
ringed by cottonwood, filaree,
and wild desert willows.
Their spent purple flowers
Cover the ground like confetti.

It’s considered to be a seasonal spring
and some of those seasons
are years in between. But the
toads come here, hide in the sand, waiting
for water to rise, and places to breed.

Settlers came here when the Indians fled
and built their life
among pottery shards,
They hand dug wells, built rough wood shacks
and stone corrals to hold in or keep out.

Wandering here by those long ago walls,
we treasure found horseshoes
and bits of lavender glass. An old iron shovel
still leans on a ledge, waiting for
a past rancher with fences to mend.

Today people drive in and
dump piles of their garbage.
Old mattresses, couches and washing machines.
In next generations, will those visitors marvel
on treasures now left here to litter the ground?

1 comment:

  1. That opening stanza sets such a beautiful backdrop to the poem. To which the last stanza works as a strong contrast, emphasizing degradation courtesy of man.