North Rim: Poem by Miriam Sagan

From a recent visit to the Grand Canyon.


North Rim

it’s not often I can see like this
sitting beneath the twisted pinon tree
that breaks a stone boulder
it’s a far view in both directions
appears as mineral
layers of the Colorado Plateau
cut like a surgical patient
to reveal
a slow intensity
of hope

tourists pass going up and down the trail
snapping pics of themselves, each other
wide open meaning of earth

it seems simple
to be either
at the rim or the river
but it’s not…

psalm of updrafts
raven’s flight
these wings might have created wind
roots might just be another way of saying branches
the fire burns and burns
leaves charred trunks and small aspens
clusters of little sisters
girls of the trembling leaves
turning yellow, orange, autumn
equinox sitting cross-legged
cradling my cane
who sees me, sees just another person
feels cold, heat

give me a kiss

Turning by Linda Whittenberg–a poem written at the wetlands


Asters’ seductive lavender, endless varieties of tawny grasses,
sunflowers bobbing across an open field, cottonwoods
already beginning to yellow, chamisa radiant along every road—

here it is again, that raucous parade that leads only to barren limbs
shriveled petals and cold. Here it is again, that familiar jumble
inside that comes with autumn. Until this season has wrung me out,

there’s little solace in picturing next spring’s garden or remembering
life goes in cycles. My grandfather would conclude most meals
by whipping butter and honey with his fork

and spreading the mixture on white bread. I can still see that whirl,
that spinning, his big hand stirring, the sweet smear on his plate.
I am that stir, nectarous and melancholy,

when autumn thrusts upon me scarlet vines, orange-red mallow,
graying mullein. I’d like to flee with the migrating birds,
but I am exactly where I’m meant to be,

wrestling with beauty that heralds endings. It was spring
when each of my parents died, winter for my brother.
My dearest uncle left just at harvest time. Perhaps that’s where

the sadness lies, for autumn was especially beautiful that year.
All I know is with the first turning of the colors, this mood
comes, a riddle so old you forget where you first heard it.