by Leonard M Hawkes

Were it that fall,
We would be out by now,
Walking through sagebrush, looking,
Senses sharpened, blood-lust sensitive,
Tense in the pursuit of game,
Aware of manhood—aware of our manhood,
Weapons in arms—life or death
Literally in our hands,
Anxious for opportunity, but
With that constant threat of
Indecision, inability, or failure:
The masculine association—
The hunt.

And were it that fall,
I would be dressed as a minister,
Riding a used bicycle on a narrow path
A path, perhaps, beside the ancient Rhine,
History, geography very much a reality, and
Seeking, ever seeking “the True,” and
Distracted ever distracted
By the beauty of “the Continent,”
By the charm and dignity of age,
Sensing the solidity of Classicism,
Allured by the tenacity of tradition, and though
Strengthened by faith and devotion, yet
Burning still with the passion of youth.

And were it that fall,
I would be sitting in one of those automobiles
Glistening now across the valley
On the foot of Mount Ogden—
My morning break spent with
The more comfortable oak covered side-hill,
Wondering why I felt more for the mountain
Than for my fellow men,
Wondering if this humanist education
Would someday pay the bills and
Allow the freedom to seek the wooded trail,
Smell at will the damp fall leaves and
Follow the wanderings of my heart.

And were it that fall,
I would be one of those
Adult figures I see now organizing,
Directing, looking ahead, worrying,
Analyzing the scene and situation,
Knowing that “pay”
Is much more than money,
Teaching with books,
Teaching through living,
Restraining wisely the inappropriate
Enthusiasm of youth,
Guiding choice, leading--
Having the final say.

And now this fall,
Armed with both pen and brush,
I watch the sun break
Over the top of the Wasatch peaks,
Feel the warming of the morning
As I walk beside the river—
Golden leaves both overhead and under foot,
The balsamic scent of
Cottonwood in my nostrils,
Each varied scene, raw beauty
To be savored, preserved and crafted into art--
My art—and wondering, ever wondering
Who too will know; who too may seek,
And too, who will ever care.


Author's Note: Started along the Weber River, Ogden, Utah.

Posted on 10/27/2019
Copyright © 2024 Leonard M Hawkes

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