riding to Guaje,
a warm wind blew through the spruce boughs.
The snow ran in rivulets to the river.
Above the yucca
shone a vision of flowers.
riding to Guaje,
I saw trees mighty in girth, tall and cool-shadowed,
rooted in a black dome of rock once molten.
I saw the river
bent from its course at the place
where the canyon is narrow,
flowing between the dark cliffs.
in a canyon beyond Guaje,
I saw a deer flee through the pines.
I heard the wind on a mesa beyond
stride furiously from the mountain.
I saw swift clouds
darken the sun.
I heard the advancing rain.
At a cliff’s edge I saw a ruined city
whose name is now forgotten.
There were five kivas carved in the hard rock;
are they who fashioned prayers.
Not even high-flying birds remember these walls,
only the high-spread stars.
It is long in men’s memory since these cities stood
white in the sun.
Yet even then had the river carved this canyon
and the far-off valley remembered in these same shadows
the colors of an ocean.
Thus yesterday reaches backward and forward forever and disappears like the sky.
How can I say what I thought while riding to Guaje yesterday?
Peggy Pond Church
This Sunday I thought best to bring back to life the voice of a poet who's crossed over into the Elysian Fields, but hopefully New Mexico fields full of cowpen daisies like what we see now . . . Ms. Church was born in Watrous, New Mexico, in 1903, famous for her book on the Manhattan Project: The House at Otowi Bridge, but from the 1920's on she was a poet. See Accidental Magic, previously uncollected poems, Wildflower Press 2004. Peggy Pond Church died in 1986. "Yesterday" was written in 1926. Photograph of her is from the Los Alamos Historical Society, and we thank you.
Do see Sharon Snyder's article here. History of the Writings by Peggy Pond Church
Guaje Canyon, Los Alamos County, New Mexico
The stories the poet wrote for her own sons in the 1930's are now available from UNM Press, The Pancake Stories.
2013 Gratitude Award Recipents Mitch Rayes and I will give a reading performance October 10th, this Thursday at 6pm, Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. It's free but they need donations toward the 2014 Gratitude Awards. Other poets of the New Mexico Literary Arts will be reading so it seems like a gallant affair. I am so grateful for the award and it's an honor to read with Mitch and everyone.