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Jon Horton

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Descent of the Seasons

jackson hole blog

by j.r. horton

october 2005

it’s the end of the vital seasons, Spring and Summer, when grass jumps out of the ground, trees wave green banners at the world, and waters that were recently snow cascade down to impress the folks who ordinarily have little connection with the real world. now is the time of the waving seas of grain described in America the Beautiful. that anthem was written atop Pike’s Peak, which i am looking at this moment.

This is the month before my birth month and it always describes itself in a slowly descending flat spiral that lasts until December and the the advent of the holiday, holy day, season of many of the world’s religions.

Not to be lazy, but October is usually the time when poetry begins to wend its say through my mind. That and May, when lighter thoughts bubble up.

Here are a couple that illustrate those feelings.


Harvest moon above the Tetons

Copses of yellow autumn aspen
stand on the golden stubbled hills
below a chilly and dusty sky
below the pink plump harvest moon
below a lambent lavender heaven

In the orange and crimson western sky
the purple mountains show a ragged smile
and yellow dots of light waggle
through silvery vales of cropped barley

Huge machines and their dusty people
crawl onto the roads

Groaning trucks of grain
coaxed by tired kerchiefed women
the steering gear gripped by dirty hands
lumber down the darkening highways
running before the chilling moon

God! the smell of fresh cut grain and dust
the musk of beaten earth and the song of tires
whining on the narrow blacktop roads
rises to heaven itself

Surely this song of machines and hearts
these smells and these people’s work
please God

All these strong men and good women
the fine boys and gleaner girls
these industrious people
girding themselves for the night work
that still lies ahead

Surely they please the God
who has given them this light to work by


I want a garden

It is winter and i am tired
of shoveling snow
chopping wood
living alone
eating pasta, beans, elkmeat
half of which is finally fit
only for the neighbors’ yellow dog
so it goes in the snow
for her to glean as she forages by

Listening to the radio in the night
I drift to dream

There i find Dutch scenes of flowers
alive with summer butterflies
worms, water snakes and birds
beetles, bugs and more

I put my fingers in the ground
it moves
I turn up last year’s leaf, manure
gorge my memory with smell
of monthly slough
a perfect little ear
in moonlight shelled and troughed
winking circlet gold

I remember the flesh of flowers:
tall Iris
dark ocean blue enough to dive into
striped by a strand of gold on white

Pansies bright
varied as bikinis on a beach
bitchy little faces
turn to whisper: “A five, tops”
as i stroll by

Thin climbing Clematis
running up the wall
gathered to gossip giddily
shaking their heads in the sun

Down on my knees in dream i divide
the huddling Hyacinth
and memory of myth fills up my mind
with a perfume clean and like no other

The yellow Mormon Rose bush
with smiling little Janus faces
two and two and two
are polite as ever
bright as the mountain air itself
they always say: “Good morning”
especially in the evening

And on the north the captive Columbine
brought here from the wild, they mob
turn their secretive little heads
plot their flights back to the hills
to the green glades where they were plundered
plotting little shits, I’m sure

And Poppy
bright but not too bright
always sunny, talks only of the weather
understands even less
good company for a morning moment’s chat
but very little more

Finally i go to Begonia
to lift her heavy head
sleepy, pouty, pliant as a whore
at eight of a morning
her flesh in my hands, willing
warm in the early morning sun
she whispers sleepily: “Okay.”

I roll, and wake
it is night and I’m alone

I prise the blinds above my bed
see snow is dumbly falling still

In the garage
leaning against the wall and waiting
the spade folds imaginary arms

I want a garden


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