Once, a squirrel could travel from here
to the place the Kanienkehaka called
Beyond the Pines and never
touch the ground, not leave a track
for the People of the Flint to follow
like they stalked the white-tail deer.
From the River Muh-he-kun-ne-tuk
to Schau-naugh-ta-da the trace ran,
where I follow these tracks each day.
I see where the geese have penned
their cuneiform tales in the pond-side mud,
edited by the turtles’ tail-writ script.
I read the tracks of the students
on the running trail–the one
that runs for a time toward
that western place–like I’m one
with my Mohawk brothers,
trailing Englishmen from the Hudson’s shore
to where they’ll hew more and more pines
and tear down more of this
Do their heels weigh heavier
in the dirt than their toes? Walking.
How deep? Carrying books.
Are their toes dug in, tossing behind
a spray of the history of their passing? Running.
Narrow feet? Girl. A pair side by side?
Someone stood to watch soccer practice.
Four feet, two narrow, two wide?
Perhaps a longer story than this moment.
Two squirrels cross my trail,
skittering across the ground
into their place there
behind that one lonely pine. I stopped
to parse their tiny prints, and
wonder about who will pause one day
to ponder all this jumble of tracks
– Joseph Hesch
© 2014, poem and photograph (below), Joseph Hesch, All rights reserved
JOSEPH HESCH (A Thing for Words) is a writer and poet from Albany, New York , an old friend of Bardo and a new core team member. Joe’s work is published in journals and anthologies coast-to-coast and worldwide. He posts poems and stories-in-progress on his blog, A Thing for Words. An original staff member at dVerse Poets Pub website, Joe was named one of Writers Digest Editor Robert Lee Brewer’s “2011 Best Tweeps for Writers to Follow.” He is also a member of the Grass Roots Poetry Group and featured in their 2013 poetry anthology Petrichor Rising.
4 thoughts on “Beyond the Pines”
A thought Joe, that those of us who are older often have! I enjoyed your oneness with nature.
I’ve visited your part of the world many years ago and it saddens me to think of the changes that must have occurred in subsequent years. Poignant poetry, Joe.
Really liked this one! There are so many good images here, I could picture the scenes as I read. Thank you, too, for parsing out the Indian names – I’m usually pretty good at pronouncing them, but it helps to have them hyphenated, as you did. 🙂 It does make one wonder, doesn’t it, what the future generations will see and if there will still be any wild, untouched places for them to experience?