Bear Lakers

by Leonard M Hawkes

There’s often a look—
Men: a type of Mormon farmer face,
Women: an essence of archaic grace,
Both seldom seen now;
The farms gone (land prostituted),
Families scattered (gone to the city),
And the valley’s full of
Move-ins, city people, weekenders,
And the omnipresent California cousins.
That one-generation-from-pioneers
Culture of the land, lost--
To motors, to crowds, to haste, to waste;
The nurturing lake turned to a frivolous toy,
And those who knew the authentic,
Passing on now, year by year.

But the greatest loss is
That self-reliant-homespun-individual-industry:
(Grandma had it, she was born there)
That, “if you want it, you’ve got to make it,
Fix it, do it, create it—prosperity’s
In your head and your hands;
If you don’t do it, it won’t get done.”
Glamor and culture, music and art,
Surviving the elements, the flourishing farm--
With God’s help and long labor, can be real.

“Bye, bye, Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry,
Them good ole boys ‘r drinking whiskey 'n rye,
Singin' this'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die.” (Don McLean)


Author's Note: Sketched at the funeral of a "Bear Laker."

Posted on 02/27/2017
Copyright © 2024 Leonard M Hawkes

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by George Hoerner on 02/28/17 at 02:14 PM

I like your piece and there certainly is truth to it. I also think though that it has to do with the complexity of 'things' today that are made for our use/convenience. There are such diverse 'things' in existence today that we have become specialists in one thing or another. Maybe that is not a good thing and maybe it doesn't even make things as easy, or as good as we think it does.

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