Down the end of Clay Pit road

IMG_5794Matted down forest floor,
now the leaves have lost their shape
and rotting with the rest,
the color wicked out
no longer distinct,
not worth saving
in a book.

Gray light in the forest,
the branches the color
of bone, the streams
ruddy knots
along the path,
the quiet peeps of frogs,
a distant jet,
a truck.

Moss makes the branches
bearded men, bent down:
a beetle crosses
the path,
an army vehicle,
the time of year the gnarled
Devil’s Club thrives
like the victor
over some war,
and all the dead
laid out
without a word,
with only winter now,
what’s next—

Down the end of Clay Pit road
they dug out tons of clay,
burned it into bricks,
built ovens to dry it,
planted grass and made it
a meadow—but kept
the views
to the hills,
a blue-indigo-gray,
the color of a postage stamp
celebrating our history,
something we were proud of
once, majestic,
the songs we memorized
and sang, some days
in school.

I took the N9 off Clay Pit road
and when I turned east
the wind kicked up,
shook the last of the leaves,
and down by the ravine
the river ran high from the rain,
like the sound of kindling when it’s caught,
and you know it’s going to go.

I’ve come to this place before
where the forest drops to the floor,
there’s a boulder from the ice ages
but there’s nothing really, nothing
there to see—just the broad-leafed
maples hung in the branches
like bits of cloth, like rags
caught on razor wire
fading, flapping,
nowhere to go—

The sound of the dead leaves
beneath my feet, the same
as so many papers torn
and scattered—
and the sun seems
so far away
it might as well be the same
sickened eye of Saturn,
some cold, gaseous
knot, a fist
gone white that sheds
no light—

And I stood there at the end
of it
looking over
the pit and
how I emptied myself
out like that too,
but how much clearer

the view.


Categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Bravo! I showed this to my poet husband, Clyde Kessler, and he says bravo, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I’ll third the bravo. So many visuals and I like the ending as it relates to this time of year and how we get to feel sometimes too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That pit is off a trail in the Issaquah Alps I used to go to pretty often but now, only once in a while with the weather and the work. Does a world of good though, of course. I took my artist friend Loren out there once and we spent a solid hour just dinking around in the remains of the vast pit, some fragments of brick, kind of like a scene from one of those Planet of the Apes films. Appropriate now, maybe.


  3. Sweet. There’s a kind of reclamation going on between the lines, I think. Cycles of nature filling in. It’s like that big pit, Crater Lake, got filled up with water over the eons.


  4. yes, and we are indeed peering down into quite a deep pit these days –

    Liked by 1 person

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