The Sunday Poem: Bill Kight. . . Forest Ranger and The Blessing

photo by Valerie Haugen


Forest Ranger

vast expanse of primal wilderness…

viewed from my rocky perch atop the Crown

eyes close as I breath the past to life

see secrets these sentinel mountains guard:

rangers roaming the roaring river valley

riding from beyond the grave their horses hooves

paw at the smoky air full of fire

aware of a new age coming

replacing all but faint signs of their passage

with instant fleeting momentary messages

hurled through once empty space

filled with houses, highways and speeding steel

then for a moment I feel a shudder like thunder

from deep underfoot Earth shakes me awake

to this haunted future.


Bill Kight, Carbondale, Colorado, February 27, 2011


The Blessing

(for my Nuche friends Clifford Duncan and Kenny Frost)

the fan rose and fell in

one slow smooth steady motion

back and forth eyes closed

empty hands turned over

extended out and up toward heaven

eagle wing of sacred purpose

trapped by earth and air

kept with caged rainbow intent

incense rises like a feathered serpent

sage and sweet grass smoke

become one with his sing-song prayer

(it was the medicine mans day off)

heartfelt desire to walk the red road

breath upon breath as if

they were my last

i pass the test where magic

bends to common purpose

“we should live this way every day,”

he says smiling.


Bill Kight


Bill is White River National Forest Public Affairs Officer at US Forest Service, Grand Junction, Colorado Area. His work has earned his agency several awards including the Stephen H. Hart Award and an award from Colorado Preservation Inc. shared with the Aspen Historical Society.

Back in June 2011 when I invited him to one of our poetry events here in Placitas I heard something of his work as a public servant for our common good when he replied, "Thanks for the news. Wish I could come. Instead I am on 2 fires near Trinidad. Total acreage is 10,610. Burning in both New Mex. and Colo. I am Public Info. Officer (PIO) on the Rocky Mtn. Incident Mgt. Team A. 449 people on fires. 13 crews. 3 helicopters assigned as of tomorrow. About 19 engines and some 6 or 7 dozers. I lost count. Anyway, we are not able to be on [a website] yet but I am tweeting regular updates. . . Take care. Bill "

Recently he wrote, "I do continue to write both poetry and a column called Common Ground in the local paper the Sopris Sun. We also have the  Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival  in March here in Carbondale, Colorado. We also have a poetry group . . . called the Roaring Fork Poetry Cooperative." Note: I met Bill when he was living in Placitas many years ago.

Feel free to tell others about this Sunday Poem. And check out the poem in the New Mexico MercurySubmissions for the Sunday Poem are welcome. Send to or     Larry Goodell



Views: 189

Comment by Dee Cohen on November 24, 2013 at 9:45am

Very moving poems.  Filled with powerful observations and introspection.  Someone once said that poetry was windows & mirrors: looking out/looking in. These do that. Thank you. 

Comment by Izquierdo on November 26, 2013 at 9:43am

As a retired national park PIO in Colorado and New Mexico, I can identify with both poems. I know they are harder to write than a news release, but much more fun.


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