Up Over Our Shoulders The Mesa

Corrales— east of ditch, west of road © 2004 Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

Up Over Our Shoulders The Mesa

We are in Corrales.
Village where my grandma
lived her best last years
for us as little girls.

Close to sunset,
late summer
sun streaming through tree trunks
light dancing through so many green leaves,
long shadows next to golden greenrows of sun on grass on alfalfa.
Tall lushness blocks
glare of the sun on
valley floor.

We know by going back over the tiny ditch
with Grandma carrying the matches and bag of trash
to the blackened burn can
that there’s a dirt hill above
and then a hundred miles beyond
that sun is setting over
homes of meadowlark in juniper
bluetail lizard in sandstone sandy dirt
and yucca, purple sage.
The sun sets over wilderness.
And we know it’s up there, beyond
this lush valley.
Over our shoulder
up over the mesa
we don’t see but a few houses.
And then know it’s wild.

That our home in the valley is bordered by this other place
brings a settled yawn,
a quick jump in our galloping.

Music from guitars and voices singing
laughter and lights glowing
late in the black night
through wooden gates over mud walls
out the low window of my grandma’s one-bedroom.

The plowed and planted field,
the stacked wood,
the path to the burn barrel,
the conservancy district ditch,
and steeples of the old church over yonder —
Humanity done good in this valley.
But it’s the connection above —
up over that horizon
to the wild land of the mesa
territory to the west
land belonging to the mostly much smaller
beings stink bug rattler cottontail
jack rabbit tarantula stones and rocks
smoothed from rains in ravines arroyos
sage brush rabbitbrush 4wing salt bush
chamiza —
But it’s the connection above —
brings a settled yawn,
a quick jump in our galloping.


Copyright © 2004 Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

[thanks to Santa Fe Poetry Broadside for publishing this in its online poetry "broadside" website - issue #40, May 2005 - www.sfpoetry.org]

5 Responses to “Up Over Our Shoulders The Mesa”

  1. May 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Cirrelda: Quick jump in our galloping, connection above, up over our shoulders the mesa, know it’s wild. All so meaningful to so many people and meaningful to me. To have lived so close to the wild, up over your shoulders the mesa, was a enlightening, daily process, that I see in your work and art and postings. A sense of place. You write so well, so very, very well. “Humanity done good in this valley.” Yes, yes and yes again. Thank goodness for your grandmother.

    Time is fleeting, places are changing and not usually for the better. You have preserved a jewel in your poetry, something that lasts and lasts. You wrote one time, I think, that if we treated the land and wildlife and plants like our relatives, we would be better off and have less tragic destruction. I believe that with my whole heart. Each animal, insect that you mention shows me that mentality, your approach to life that is wise and artful.

    You impart this in your poetry. It saves the world: the connection up over your shoulders, the mesa. More, Cirrelda, of your writing, when so moved.

    Your friend in kind, Jack.

  2. May 10, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Oh – you know how to respond to writing. See, I thought after your last reply you would get this poem.

    Solidarity of like thinking – hooray for it!! Especially when we seem to be ‘losing ground’ at a fast pace the race of expanding population of humans, the effect humans have on their planet overtaking the balance.

    Many Thanks, Jack.

  3. May 14, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Cirrelda: I failed to mention that I like the painting at the head of the post. Very much the trees and shadows of NM. Your painting or watercolor, Cirrelda? And, I did get the poem–quite deeply and moving.

  4. May 14, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Yes, Jack, it’s my watercolor. Thanks for responding to it.

    Off to lead a hike with 5th graders.
    aka cirrelda

  5. June 6, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian,Earn Free Vouchers / Cash

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