Our Valley

Our Valley

We don’t see the ocean, not ever, but in July and August
when the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay
of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchard
when suddenly the wind cools and for a moment
you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almost
believe something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,
something massive, irrational, and so powerful even
the mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.

 

You probably think I’m nuts saying the mountains
have no word for ocean, but if you live here
you begin to believe they know everything.
They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,
a silence that grows in autumn when snow falls
slowly between the pines and the wind dies
to less than a whisper and you can barely catch
your breath because you’re thrilled and terrified.

 

You have to remember this isn’t your land.
It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived beside
and thought was yours. Remember the small boats
that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men
who carved a living from it only to find themselves
carved down to nothing. Now you say this is home,
so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust,
wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.

Philip Levine

our new poet laureate.

 

from Meags, who I do love so very much, and who I wish I was having adventures with, constantly.

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4 thoughts on “Our Valley

  1. This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I’m putting this into text edit in my computer so I can read it over and over…Listen, when you make your way to Vancouver eventually so we can hang out and play music, can Meags come too? Sounds like another kindred spirit….;)

  2. another beauty from P.L.:

    Llanto

    Plum, almond, cherry have come and gone
    the wisteria has vanished in
    the dawn, the blackened roses rusting
    along the barbed-wire fence explain

    how April passed so quickly into
    this hard wind that waited in the west.
    Ahead is summer and the full sun
    riding at ease above the stunned town

    no longer yours. Brother, you are gone,
    that which was earth gone back to earth,
    that which was human scattered like rain
    into the darkened wild eyes of herbs

    that see it all, into the valley oak
    that will not sing, that will not even talk.

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