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Walking in Palo Duro Canyon in Winter

Pat Tyrer

I like walking where the wind is rarely quiet

and the evening star glows brightly,

a consistent presence lying over the canyon

pushing the sun along, urging the moon

to follow its intense track like the creek now dusty

and disregarded until spring’s outburst of life.

Winter on the high plains is not an easy life

for anyone or thing or being driven mad by the quiet

whip of the wind as it crosses the plains flat and dusty

where only the aged mesquite blooming brightly

signals the end of winter, and the orbit of the spring moon

lights the crevices where the vulnerable hide in the canyon.

It’s fascinating to watch the snow fall in the canyon

covering flora and fauna alike with no regard of life

on varying scales of existence beneath the winter moon

crouching, hidden in crevices, waiting for the quiet

dampening the snow brings, where shadows brightly

dance against the landscape once dry and dusty.

I walk where the snow and the ground, still dusty,

wait for the drifts to descend the walls of the canyon.

Where the sun has long given way to sky brightly

lit by earth’s companion, a slumbering bath of life

flooding the floor of the canyon, hushed and quiet

like the foot of Neil Armstrong as it touched the moon.

In the crevice where the light from the full moon

has yet to reach the smallest of bobcats lying in his dusty

den, only his golden ocher eyes revealing his quiet

watch for an unsuspecting victim crossing the canyon.

In the depths of winter when the snow falls, life

is hidden or beneath ground, slumbering, dreaming brightly

Of warmer days and gentler nights where desires brightly

formed fill the arroyo with the sweetness of a summer moon

and aoudad sheep and diamondbacks hunt lesser life

themselves living on such as is hidden in the dusty

fissures of the Spanish Skirts high up walls of the canyon

their gray, yellow and lavender stone swishing in the quiet.

Imaginary dancers prance beneath a brightly shining moon,

their footsteps awaking the sleeping life from their dusty beds

and echoing the voices of long ago, now quiet, in the canyon.

Previously published in Creative Hearts, Path Publishing

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