I remember where I was standing when I got the idea for this poem. It was west of Logan, at a park on the banks of the Little Bear River. A summer night.
Nolo Me Tangere (touch me not)
We stand, close but not quite touching,
She with her back to me, watching
The darkness climb the mountain.
Arms crossed, curve of back, hips just so,
Head slightly to one side.
Soft as twilight
Calm as the river
Lovely as the sunset
Distant as the mountains
What if I should put my hand, palm out, near her back,
Just where the spine flows into hips?
Would lightning fly from my fingertips?
Would small arcs of fire dance about her back
Driving away the shadow that steals up the mountain?
Would she turn, give a slow smile,
Blank and compassionate, then
Turn back to the mountain?
Oh Lord, why so many nerve endings in our hands,
If not to touch?
Why the slow clip and mend of evolution
If not to bond person to person
With a stroke to a cheek,
Or a hand in a hand?
Or to touch a shoulder,
Look, point, there is a hawk.
I drop my hands to my sides.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
One of my favorite places in the world. The Bonneville Salt Flats is about as far from anything as you can get. The black line in the picture is about nine miles long. It's a guide for the cars that race at the salt flats, sometimes attaining speeds of 450 miles an hour. The mountain on the horizon is 13 miles away.
I love this picture. This is my daughter Sarah on her wedding day. She's standing at the top of a mountain that's the highest point in Benton County, Oregon. In the background, in the distance, you can see the fields of the Willamette Valley.
Perhaps no structure in the world is as storied and mysterious as Stonehenge. It's not really that large, but it is an imposing structure nonetheless. I wanted to capture the sense of mystery that surrounds it, so after I took the picture, I polarized it and added the "wind" feature. I wanted to give the sense of the dark secrets that Stonehenge holds, and also that it was gradually being eroded.
What is it about lighthouses? We are fascinated by them, and we preserve them, though they have no use anymore as instruments of navigation. Maybe it's the old hymn, "Let the lower lights keep burning; send a message o'er the wave; some poor drowning, struggling seaman; you may rescue, you may save."
This lighthouse is on the Oregon coast, toward the north. It was a Sunday, and there was nobody there but me and the gulls.
In the central part of Utah is a canyon that's been called the "longest art gallery in the world." It's Nine Mile Canyon, and it's much more than nine miles long. If you go, take a truck or a car you don't care much about, 'cause it's dirt road.