Neil’s Rock

I don’t, but I did: write poems. I was inspired over the Labor Day weekend, with a few images from Cedar Ridge and words from his family. So here it is, in memory of.

Neil’s Rock

by Kathy Rhodes

 

In the Farm Kitchen you stood pouring

Coffee into a Montana blue pottery Pollard Hotel mug

You got the summer we went to Red Lodge, then

You turned and took a step to the dark-wood window

That framed a view of the back pasture

Covered in morning mist and fog from Fountain Creek

Shimmering under new sun.

Not far inside the gate a gray rock rises up like a monument

Sculpted sharp at the top in a point to the skies far

Above the evergreens on Cedar Ridge.

Grass grows high around its base where horses grazed

And nearby, our writers group met at a fire pit on fall nights

For roasting hot dogs with coat hangers and reading our stories by flashlight.

At the window, you’d often flip open your cell and call:

“If you got a minute, I got somethin’ to tell you.”

You—part rube, part scholar—loved that place, that pasture, that rock,

And you’d speak of

Three brave deer that came up to the salt lick right by the horses or a

Rafter of turkeys strutting by as the farm cat paid heed or a

Cooper’s hawk glaring, or a red-headed pileated woodpecker, or a

Hound named for a Shakespeare priest’s daughter watching deer eat grass, or a

Doe and her fawn that stood in the mist by the rock and looked at you in the window.

Now you are scattered out there about that rock,

Looking in the window like the deer,

One with your land on the ridge,

In the dew-sparkle on blades of grass,

Under late summer sun turning leaves to gold to fall and blanket you,

Looking up at blackness of sky and twinkle of stars like fireflies, and

All day every day for all time, you remain at the rock,

Looking in, keeping watch on that log cabin built strong and sturdy to stand up

Down the generations after you,

Protecting all within.

 

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