Norman (Grandfather Bowen's "lost" uncle)

by Leonard M Hawkes

Norman, I sought you today
As I crossed once more
The vast free lands
Of Nevada--
Green this year
From an adequate winter--
And crossing it all
In one easy day,
From the Humboldt Wells
In the East,
To the Sierra watered
Meadows of the Truckee
In the West.

Yes, Norman,
In a century-and-a-half
The way West
Hasn't changed much--
We crossed The Bear
Just below Hampton's Ford,
Following still
Hensley's route west
North of The Lake,
Then along The Humboldt
Toward the gold fields.

Was that, too, your route
With that herd of cattle? And--
Were there rustlers?
Were there poison berries?
Was your life taken?
Buried unmarked
In the Nevada desert?
Or were you too lured
By the beauty
To the wealth of California?

We, the Utah children
Of Elias and Cynthia,
(Surely in the thousands now),
Have not forgotten you, Norman--
The handsome but blind son,
Healed by God’s prophet,
Only to be lost,
A young prodigal?
Swallowed up mysteriously,
By the wild, Wild West.


Author's Note: An expansion and an edit of my previous poem "Norman."

Posted on 05/23/2022
Copyright © 2024 Leonard M Hawkes

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Linda Fuller on 06/08/22 at 06:43 PM

Very evocative and moving.

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