The Canyon de Chelly Poems by David Chorlton

The two poems draw on a trip through the northeastern part of Arizona and to our well known Canyon de Chelly, the jpgs are of some watercolous that are “abstractions” with the red rock landscape in mind that match what happens in the poems. David Chorlton

 



Canyon de Chelly


The rain turns around and begins

to flow back into the sky. A low cloud

grips a mesa with its talons

and pulls it from the surface of the Earth

revealing one more red rock canyon

filled with souls. The walls are marked by clawing

where they tried to climb out.

                                               History
curls up at the edges

and the open spaces tear apart as easy

as ripping up a treaty.

A dark heat settles over the land.

There are no ladders any more

to reach houses built into

the walls, but those between the houses

and the sky

                  remain in place

for access to join a hawk in flight.

Easy now to navigate

the cliffs, circle columns rising

from the stony ground, and balance

on the heat. To fly

and not be followed, settle high

where nobody can reach

and be a spirit leaving when

the body can’t hold on.





Navajo Landscapes

 
The road remembered glides

with no effort across

flat country that ends in a brushstroke dragged

along a sky soaked in water

where the weight of it

rests while the edges bloom into the land’s

imagination.

                   Rocks the ground

can no longer contain

stand up as landmarks for anyone

who needs to know

where they are going,

                                   but which

direction hardly matters.

The landscape’s inner life reveals

a kind of loneliness. It’s easy

to feel lost where the Earth arcs

and the sun is balanced

on its highest point

                              like the destination

at journey’s end, when the way

there is by holding

to the underside of a cloud

as it follows the broken yellow line

to infinity.

 
 

 
 
David Chorlton is a transplanted European, who has lived in Phoenix since 1978. His poems have appeared in many publications online and in print, and often reflect his affection for the natural world, as well as occasional bewilderment at aspects of human behavior. His newest collection of poems is Unmapped Worlds from FutureCycle, and The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, his translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavan