The Journal of Leonard M Hawkes

Draft Journal Poem on a Trip Up the Bear River (UT, ID, WY, UT)
08/22/2010 04:54 a.m.
Up The Bear

Slow, green, nearly channel-less with reeds,
Carp infested, spattered with salt cedar;
But for the diked manipulations of "man,"
Choked with salt brine into which it flows.

Now creeping through well established bottomland:
Stable banks mark the edges of fields
Weedy non-natives hold firm the slipery clay;
Its rhythm irrigation and power.

Then stagnant and shallow and polluted:
Culter Marsh: recreation for locals,
And an unpleasant, honest reflection
Of an agricultural past in Cache Valley.

But beyond Preston, approaching The Narrows,
Large, flowing clear, filled with trout
Reminiscent perhaps of Liechtenstein's Rhine
Yet, geothermally warmed by Mother Earth.

And those same forces formed the Black Canyon
Turning her southward from the Portneuf,
Near Sheep Rock and Beer Springs, still another dam,
Round the mountains that for her are named.

Measured again, controlled and canalled
Blended with water from “the lake,” but once
A wild oasis of the Oregon Trail, Bridger’s bullboat path,
Passage to the Shoshone winter valley.

Then harsh, bleak and open, with high squared rocky buttes,
Hay land, good grazing for cattle; very Wyoming
With cottonwood groves, and south
Bare Uintas in Utah haze.

On the edge of the bad lands below the high mountains
Evanston still splits the trail: railroad and freeway
Lie west down the Weber,
Yet the Bear forms the heart of the town.

Wide, wild and rocky it ambles through the ranchland,
Upward through aspen parks to pines,
Pocked by recreation, too scarred by the scouts,
And finally to summer ice and stone.

Eastward the pink-purple quartzite thrusts up,
Westward a bald boldered knob,
Gouged once by glaciers, now skirted with fir,
A mere meadow of sedge, shrub and flowers.

I am currently Reflective
I am listening to the clock strike eleven

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