November 27, 2008

Descent

I went on a hike into the Grand Canyon for four days in 2005. I wrote this while hiking in and out. Had it done in my mind by the time I reached the top. You'll hear my ever-present theology of the cross in this.


DESCENT

Flagstaff north to the canyon mouth:
we let ourselves be swallowed
trickling down like Pinot Noir
past the palate of the earth.

Slippage of the shale in sheets
careening off cliff walls,
rocks kicked and tumbling off the hoof trail,
red walls crumble in stop-motion destruction,
a frame a year becoming a film,
water springs through hard-carved gullies
taking trees, rattlers, artifacts of ancients,
whatever it wills and pushes and spills
into the river that makes sand of mountains.

The dilapidation of indomitable rock
whispered within this inner world
speaks in glossolalia and echolalia
we cannot but hear and decipher and know:

Everything around us is, with us, in descent.
The entire canyon is slowly falling apart in majesty,
and we, less slowly, and none less majestic.

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