The inspiration for this poem came from a discussion. My friend Catherine was making a contribution to Mary Lee Hahn@ A Year of Reading blog. This is National Poetry Month, and Mary Lee has made an original poetic commitment:
This year, my Poetry Month project will celebrate the myriad wonders of our world. Every day for the month of April, I will share one of “The Wonders of the World” (selected from a variety of lists) and an original poem inspired by that wonder.
Catherine and Mary Lee’s poems are both on the Grand Canyon, a wonder assigned for April 20th. I have seen the Grand Canyon and also Yellowstone Canyon. I also celebrate those wonders, but I have one “breath taking” memory that stays with me for reasons other than the breathtaking beauty. Here is my original poem, Canyons.
We stood together, quiet for a moment,
mesmirized by the play between
sunlight and clouds
firing the colors of the the canyon in rolling 3-D.
A breeze gently cooled the sweat on my neck.
But bored again, the boys took off.
Confident with athletic pace,
they disappeared down a worn trail
on the right side of the lookout,
their feet beating against the hard terrain.
torn from the splendor of ancient wonder,
I gave chase.
Only when I came to the sudden end of scrub brush and sage,
the hidden stop of the path,
did I see the sheer drop-
a gash of empty space torn into the earth;
a dizzying hawk view of the canyon floor-
and the boys together
shrieking and laughing on an edge
of a footpath only a sneaker wide.
They scrambled back towards me
and set tiny pebbles in motion
that skittered along the rim of the crevice
rolling helpless to their deaths while
my sons roared past,
back to the lookout and
the protection of the Park Service approved railing.
They left me trembling
unable to stand
propped against a painted canyon wall
that throbbed with my heartbeat.
Sometimes in the weight before sleep…
Sometimes in the muddle before waking…
I feel that rush of sweat prickling.
I hear those pebbles screaming
with my heart pounding,
a pulsing loud enough
to echo across canyons.
©Colette Marie Bennett, 2014