Absaroka

These words are nothing
against a sky so vast no thought can harm it.

Listen, Absaroka
gone is the dawn
of horses, the sunlit hours
of long grass.

The windblown bluebird’s song
is soft and lilting now
with understanding,
like an awakening
from pain-racked night.

Time has carried us
into a newer place.
We shall not forsake
or humble it
with reasons.

Listen, Absaroka
the dawn was bad
that brought the day
for so long
when each night was bleak
with suffering
and one by one
the horses died
of winter
or wandered
the forgotten plain
where no man
could follow.

We are prisoners of memory.
the mountain, in her sweetness,
calls me now,
but it is only her call
that remains.

In my mind’s eye
she is tall
and stalwart
like a jay’s song
ringing from the pine tops
in the first breath
of winter.

Nothing more.
Nothing of this that went before,
the dying, sorrow,
words and hours,
miscreant dreams
driving men like wheat
before the wind.

Peace. In the early mornings
along the Niobrara
the robins call
as always,
the willows talk
amid the water
like women washing,
breezes bend the grass
like children running,
trout play across the stones
beneath the sunlight
not knowing of the change,
perhaps, or do they mourn
the buffalo, await
the antelope’s step,
the circling eagle,
god’s eye, atop the sky?

God assumes a different face
in concert with the times.
I don’t know why.
I try so hard
to believe
it’s for some reason
that I don’t understand.

See, I can sift the wind
for promise,
follow the hour
of the sun, content
to be but for a moment
without past or time,
always in my heart
pretending
that this is and only this
and not that other
which I know is true.

Soldiers, come capture me
at last. I am a remnant
of a dying people
washed across the prairie
by a war
that knows no end.

© Mike Bond 2012
First published in Montana Poetry Journal

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