The mid-sized Ancestral Puebloan site sitting up on that €œerosional layer of lower strata € (love that phrase) of Crossfire’s east cliffs is one of my favorites because of the serene view it offers down-canyon. From what I’ve seen of that portion of Crossfire, including about a mile or so of what lies below the €œNo Drive Zone, € the farther south the canyon runs the wider it opens out and the higher the cliffs soar above its floor. This Pueblo II-Pueblo III site’s impressive field of view takes in several of the canyon’s other ruins, including the first site across canyon that the archaeologist and I visited and, possibly, the tower. An ATV trail, badly eroded now as its illegality has come clear and nobody wants to risk keeping it up, crosses this site and runs onto the mesa east of Crossfire. Sometimes I climb just above the ruin and sit on a flat rock jutting from the canyon wall out of which the trail was carved. It’s nice up there, the size of the place intimates itself more deeply, and I feel the canyon’s inclusiveness fold me in. Continue reading “Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Five”
by J. Max Wilson
East of the cemented waste, the aspen stood, a sapling still,
And there a few aphidian peasants leeched their lives from phloem’s rill.
They lapped the aspen’s sweetest sap; rapt in bohemian blissmare, blind €”
And sapped the sapling of its health (though still it prospered of a kind).
Then came the Bishop Barnaby and Stinkfly Deacon forth to feed,
And sanguinary sermons spoke with lurid liturgy and creed.
And so, by priestcraft’s gory glut, their doctrine inadvertently
Restored the tree to verdant form, though only temporarily.
Then from across the crackÃ¨d desert came the Piss’myre army, strong €”
The €˜nighted nibelungian host marched one-by-one as €˜counts the song.
And up the sapling, up they marched (still one-by-one-by-one) until
With formic might the pissant host subdued the lesser peasants’ will.
The dreaded deacons then received the doctrine they themselves had taught.
The bloody bishops banished were, to starve to death for all they wot.
And in their place the Piss’myre lords set up a new society;
A kingdom grand, a great machine of order and efficiency:
€œDivide, assign, to each allot a place, a part, a role to play;
To each his branch, his twig, his leaf, an overseer to obey.
Revoke their freedom every whit, yet to their vice impose no let:
To cultivate and harvest more their sweet, mellif’rous excrement. €
And gladly, gladly did submit the chattel to their slavery,
Contented only to be free to wallow in debauchery.
So nurtured by their overlords the lech’rous population waxed,
And €˜neath the load of sponsored sin the aspen sapling’s blood was taxed.
Through sun-scorched day and dark new moon, the kingdom throve thus for a spell,
And still the tree, all wan the leaves, drew strength from root’s deep, clonal well.
€˜Till on a night an august storm with thund’rous wind €˜rose from the west;
The trees all danced €˜fore God’s great breath; from each its wrath obeisance wrest’.
The scent of dawn hung o’re the earth, while sun’s ascent revoked the night,
And lo, what new apocalypse dispensed now was by mourning light?
The jagged edge of xylem cracked; the leaves pressed wet against the ground;
Behold! The Kingdom down is cast! It’s unseen canker now is found!
There! bored by pissants through the pith, an hidden tunnel had been wrought
Up through the trunk, through which the yield of sin-crop might be swiftly brought!
And compromisÃ¨d thus the constitution of the sapling’s core,
The aspen could not then endure the storm and tribulation sore.
To ev’ry kingdom, vast or microscopic, certain laws are laid,
And exhortations, prophesies, and types and shadows in them played.
And so a warning sign is raised to kingdoms great and persons small:
Beware the taste of honeydew, lest thou like Piss’myre also fall.
For helpful notes on this poem’s content, go here.
J. Max Wilson’s personal blog, Sixteen Small Stones, may be found here.