Flight Off of Half Dome
below the blue
canopy of sky.
Leaves crunch beneath your feet.
Where do crickets go on cold
fall days wrapped up in brilliant hues?
Why do the horses romp in sunlit
fields of green with wind whipping through their manes?
Where do crickets go on chilled winter days?
Yosemite-place of the gaping
mouth-belonged to the Miwok
until the white man came.
they called it—God’s will.
The valley was
theirs to romp
under the black
night sky in silent
flight off Half-Dome or through
wet leaves that could not crunch. Their
tears fell into the dark chasm
drowning the crickets who hid beneath
scarlet shrouds of all that came before death.
The Miwok Indians, guardians of Yosemite and Tuolome Meadows were driven from their homeland under the guise of “Manifest Destiny.” There was an etching at the Nevada Museum of Art when we had a Yosemite exhibit titled “Flight Off of Half Dome” depicting their “eviction” as falling from the rock.
“Etheree” is a form in which the poet increases from one to ten syllables per line and then in reverse for as many stanzas as desired.
– Victoria Slotto
© 2014, poem and photograph, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved
VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page. Victoria’s poetry collection is Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012.
5 thoughts on “Flight Off of Half Dome”
Victoria, the story is the same throughout the country. The encroachment continues, and is heartbreaking and enraging to our people. While we are many tribes, we have, increasingly, one heart.
A serious topic, Victoria, that was sadly repeated all over the continent and not just the wilderness of Yosemite. One wonders what Half Dome and all those ancient Sequoia’s could tell us if they could talk and if we had the ears to hear.
Nice experiment with etheree. Bravo!
And we don’t learn. We just keep on destoying…..following our crazy thoughts. With desire and greed as our gods what else could we expect.
Thank you for your comments, Jamie and Michael. I wish I could have found the art that shared the name of this–absolutely heart-breaking depiction of the whole movement. Living in Northern NV, it is a very present reality for the many tribes in this area. (Washoe, Paiutes, more…)
Where do they all go…crickets, wolves, bison, first people? When all is dis-placed, where does the place go? I wonder…