Cross Country Mass

by Leonard M Hawkes

Old Dairy Road--freshly plowed,
The path through the hills--newly drifted;
Saturday snowmobiles did well:
Sunday’s ski will be on a broken path--
And Sunday--Beethoven--Missa Solemnis.
“Gloria in excelsis Deo!”
Hills glisten in afternoon sun,
The breeze brisk, not bitter, restless-shifting,
“Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.”
Southern slopes are starting to bare--
February snow goes as fast as it comes,
Stubble from last year’s barley crop
Prickles up along the uphill edge.
“Laudamus te. Benedictimus te.
Adoramus te glorifica mus te.”
Intensified sun has stirred wildlife--
Tracks of coyote, raccoon, skunk, and more.
“Gratias agimus tibi propter
Magnum gloriam tu am.”
Snow is slow in the drifted track,
Different sometimes left foot from right--sticky.
Sage now seems greener, a livelier blueish-gray;
Willow twigs a redder hue of mauve.
“Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.”

Hills here take be back to Limburg:
In spring, the low hollow trail
(And this once wild and grassy),
The only visible sign of man:
Mountains too, here lost from view;
Small, but a world of only green hills.
“Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, misere nobis--”
Today a world of nearly endless white,
And in well established track,
I increase speed; my cheek points bitten
By the lingering power of winter.
“Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem,”

I love Earley Park best when it’s abandoned--
As though it belongs once more to "Us".
We often speak of Frank Earley’s philanthropy,
But those who knew him, know he loved
This solitude of his Sleepy Hollow home.
Yes, a moose again this winter--
Ideal here with creek, roses, and abundant willows.
“. . . Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitumm.
Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saccula.”

The bend brings me out onto the railroad grade,
Nearly level, largely untraveled, perfect skiing.
The historical sign needs a work-over--
Another summer project--and will this snow
Now be enough to keep us watered for the season?
“Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato
Passus, et sepultus est.”
Nearly a year now since I was in Lucerne--
I could live there in spite of crowds and touristed lake.
Still I wish I had first-hand, authentic knowledge
Of the family’s now-lost Swiss culture.
“Et resurexit tertia die secundum Scripturas
Et ascendit in coelum: sedit ad dexteram Patris.”

And this could be the last time this season--
I almost feel hypocritical sometimes,
Enjoying snow with spring just around the corner.
Down the hill now to the highway,
A ski-less crossing, then along the creek to home.
“Agnus Dei, quitollis peccata mundi: Miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei: dona nobis pacem.”


Author's Note: journal-poem fragment (Beethoven's Misse Solemnis and a ski through Beaver Dam, Box Elder, Utah)

Posted on 02/23/2009
Copyright © 2024 Leonard M Hawkes

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 02/23/09 at 02:05 AM

I enjoyed this trek with you very much. Almost a holy pilgrimage.

Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 02/23/09 at 05:41 AM

Chaotic and fun. It's definitely a journey through the mind.

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