Monday, March 14, 2016

A Rare Look Back

I rarely look back... especially on my writing... but every once in a while I will open the files of poetry that I wrote under yet another pseudonym, Bridgewood. Now Bridgewood is a family name. It came from my maternal grandfathers maternal grandmother whose maiden name was Bridgewood. And, since I like to compartmentalize my writing personas, it seemed appropriate to choose a British name for poetry. After all, weren't Shelly, Keats and Byron among the greatest poets of all time? Not that I could ever aspire to their lofty status... my poetry is more earthy.

Now, since spring is upon us, I thought I might share one of those poems from my days in Montana's Bitterroot Valley. The poem is old, but the subject is timeless. So, I give you:

         
      THE SPRING OF '74
                © Bridgewood

        It started in the mountains
            where winter's cold snow fell,
        and grew from awesome beauty
            into a raging hell!
        Forging on with purpose,
            it left behind its path
        the terror and destruction
            unleashed in springtime wrath.
        A swift and cutting thing,
            the rape of springtime ran,
        and laid to waste old sentinels
            rooted in the sand
        and cast them up, unwanted,
            further down the stream
        where children will sit beside them
            dreaming summer dreams.
        Not soft, nor quiet,
            but with ice to rip the shore,
        and savage, even wicked,
            came the spring of '74.
        But as the serpent shrank,
            its banks were draped with green,
        the plain all covered with soft pastels,
            the prettiest I had seen,
        and though the land was cloaked in beauty,
            nothing was the same
        in the valleys or the mountains
            when summer fin'lly came.
        Gone the trees by the banks
            where once they stately stood,
        their limbs all stripped and broken,
            now they're merely wood.
        The willows, too, those fragile homes
            where little birds once nested,
        that stood up proud before the flood,
            like soldiers to be tested,
        lay covered now by silty slime
            and slowly caking mud,
        all smashed and bent 'neath summer sun,
            oozing sappy blood.
        And 'neath the heavy verdant cloak
            the summer land still bore
        the open wounds and scars
            of the spring of '74.