Across a palo verde covered mesa,
Alone I take a sun baked trail.
Animal trace disturbs the path,
There is only lingering residue,
Contemplation is gravel underfoot.
Where does it lead?
Who is to know?
Not a visible sign is seen,
No cairns to mark the way.
Before me a faint depression,
An imprint upon the ground,
Ancient, beckoning, leading on,
My steps shuffle across the stone.
Pressed against a rocky face,
I clasp the life chiseled there,
Tiny hand holds smooth with use,
Spiritual guides shape a soul’s journey.
Am I being tried, tested?
Am I worthy?
One more step and the way is clear.
Before me rises a cavern of my beliefs.
Filled with the shaped stones of memories,
Secure from the outside,
Guarded from the invasion of time.
Ghosts haunt this place,
Voices speak from a gurgling spring,
The laughter of lives echoes the canyon.
The walls an art gallery of dreams,
Painted images forgotten in stillness live.
Stepping through a doorway,
It is now as it was then,
As it will always be.
Implements shaped of clay and wood,
The broken pottery of creation,
Scattered pieces of passage,
Primitive and pure the moment looms.
Sadness fogs my heart,
A great aching pain of loss.
I weep for their passing.
The wind whistles through ancient stone,
The people whisper with it.
They are watching.
Or, is it the heat of the day,
Shimmering visions to trick the mind?
The walls of this citadel
Silent witnesses to the ages.
My presence a violation,
I have lifted the sarcophagus lid,
Peering in at a desiccated corpus,
A reflection of tomorrow.
With a heavy heart head bowed,
I retreat as I had come.
Making sure my passage is unseen,
Only footprints left in the dust.
Footsteps will be eaten by life,
What the soul knows cannot be devoured.

Copyright: 2008, Donald Harbour

5 thoughts on “Carins

  1. i really like this poem a lot. i love the way you start from direct observation, then begin to gently mix in introspection. (“contemplation is gravel underfoot” is my favorite line, and now that you’ve written it i have the words for a feeling i often have when hiking 🙂


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