Monday, October 5, 2009

Gateway to the West

On animal trails, aboriginal footpaths and settler traces;
men, women and children moved across the continent
Struggling through the narrow cracks in the cliffs;
twisting, winding, ever moving upwards into the clouds

Settlers trudging up from the lowlands;
into the gaps they came,
into the gaps and mountain passes,
through the open places in the Great Blue Wall

Animals and men toiling together up from the piedmont,
choking on dust, slipping on clay
Leaving the old life behind, looking forwards,
ever westward towards the setting sun

Families moving with packhorses,
sometimes a rickety old wagon
Moving a few miles each day,
making camp before dark

By the wayside, piles of possessions
folks just couldn’t carry anymore
Pass a battered dresser, an old shadow cut of grandma;
family keepsakes—left behind

Rising before light; fry some side meat, boil some coffee;
hitch up the team, move a few more miles
Each day a little closer, just a little closer
to that Eden somewhere far to the West

All those people, moving westward;
settling a continent, building a country
Would I have the courage
to do the same—today?

Chuck Connors, September 20, 2009

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