Rock of Ages | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Rock of Ages


A wrecked airplane
lies atop a Catskill peak
sheltered in a sepulcher of pines.

On the Escarpment Trail a hiker
tells us of finding silverware
on the grounds where the
Mountain House once stood,
where Theodore Roosevelt came
by single gauge railroad
to take in the mountain air.

Old farm roads wind
through the Shawangunks
high over the valleys.
What brought farmers
to such elevations?

I hike at the back of the line.
How will I ever see bears?

Bash Bish ululates still
but I did not know of
her sister down the ridge,
up Shakshober Road, until
I read of a trail leading
straight up the mountain,
and of a waterfall few people
know. I will go.

Rock of ages
Rock of upthrust
Taconic rock that rose and fell
Rock that spawned the Catskills
From debris, rock without fossils
Rock of all ages
Cleft for me

A rattlesnake suns itself
on a rock high over Lake George;
we shiver, not knowing which way to go.

The peaks of the Monongehelas hear
the slaughter of their brothers and sisters
on the other side of West Virginia,
slaughtered for the sake of coal.
On your day of mourning,
remember sweetness,
remember your mountain highs.

when it is time
take me up to the ridge
cast me down to the ravine
let my bones
find my mate
already departed
on a cold day, on a day
like today
when it is time
take me

Memories of you
lie striated like the rock
under the snowy branch.

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