Ted Kooser

Return to White Mountain

From Prairie Schooner.

Long twilight fading into granite and cedar,
here in this later moment

the young years done
camp and trail
worn-out boots
tramplings
crawlings in caverns
all spent for a fleeting passage on a page of print,

I still remember your grandeur.
Inhuman wild gods begot you;
inhuman wild gods that the Indians worship in beast masks
keep you.

There is nothing in all this I have won
to make a pebble fall in the late light.
There is nothing but the silence of the dead
in the mesa rock-towers
in all the leaves I have turned.

Reprinted from Prairie Schooner Vol VIII No 3 (Summer 1934) by permission of University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1929 by the Wordsmiths of Sigma Upsilon.