Canyon Canticle

Mike Meyers | Grand Canyon

Canyon Canticle
How did I get here?
Answered a phone call,
an unexpected journey
through a river’s soul.

Hopefully prepared,
we put on, seeking…something,
adventure, answers,
challenges, peace.

The canyon closes.
Sun stays high, we stay shadowed,
nights clear and cold.

River’s pulse runs deep,
ancient power even now
new. Feel it inside.

Eddies grasp, boils bounce,
progress ever elusive.
Stay in the current.

Look around, and up.
The walls glow pink, then orange,
high snow racing stripes.

Grandeur overwhelms
our boats, so tiny beneath
cliffs filled with frozen

shores, bright seas now dry.
Oscillating pulses washed
clear sand, now blood red,

delivered by streams.
Hear the river now, and then.
Is it the same song?

Within the canyon,
there is no name for the more
that’s always present.

Perhaps an echo
reverberating through gaps,
momentary sun,

do the rapids call?
Can we feel the earth’s own pain
recorded in stone?

Unrelenting force
shattered strong islands, aligned
blades of stronger schist.

Long will the river
polish her fluted back jets,
tempered through hell’s fire.

So what attracts us,
primal poetry, wet dance,
elemental joy?

We pause to explore
some deep, unhealed wounds, slices,
dark and narrow, cold,

in the moonlight, blue.
Dawn, Zoroaster rose quartz
twists through Vishnu Schist,

so quiet, wet, close.
Listen. Walk softly along
a slippery ledge,

dusky ebony
above Suessian stream chasms.
Welcome to the slot.

Climb out up old steps
to sunshine, sage and sandstone.
Breathe. The river roars

behind you. Big waves
chuckle “Tomorrow, swimmer.”
Quiet laugh, let’s go.

Where’s the trail? Up. Sun
feels good. Peel, stretch and amble.
Look at where you are.

Wheel around. It’s the
Grand Canyon, baby! Yeee-hahhh!!!!
Vibrant emptiness,

silence filled with light.
Listen. Breathe. Smile. Climb, alone
in a full throne room,

over warm boulders.
Sentinel raven perches,
watches you stumble.

Days develop rhythms,
moments of flurried focus,
easy silences,

a knowing smile, peace.
Conversations drift across
the boats like a breeze.

Stillness in motion,
could be centuries ago.
The waves look the same.

Now read the currents,
find the tongue, keep the boat straight
watch for pourovers

Hang on Bull Rider
Yes Sir! Nailed it! F—in’A!
Here comes the duckie,

popping like a pro
behind the badass kayak,
six rafts, all in line.

Superglue, onesies,
cactus shadow dance, beer pong,
moonlight cherry s’mores,

everybody brings something to the table,
experience, firewood, stony fables.

Where’s the trail? Scramble
up a sheer wall from the boats,
drop into a pool.

Drysuit balloons. Float
across an aquamarine
wet jewel. Slick flumes

await. Slither up.
Follow a faint pastel trail,
pink limestone aglow.

Forever blue sky,
happy stream sings pool drop song,
dances, swirls, tumbles

in turquoise glory
over rocks, covered in clouds
of reflected light.

Stroll through cool glades, long
green grass. Canyon Wren’s sweet song
invites us to stay.

How perfect it seems.
Do we really have to go?
Yes. Where is the trail?

Back out in the sun,
dusty prints on hot bare rock
pass through cactus stands

and thorny thickets
chilly in the shady breeze.
Happy pool drop song

filters through the air.
Catch otherworldly glimpses
of silky currents,

travertine mosses,
life frozen in liquid stone,
smoothed over, aglow.

Now cross through the stream’s
strong flow, slippery steps unsure
of this final stage

and behold the falls,
aquamarine majesty.
Slide off the hard ledge,

sink down and float up.
Electricity tingles,
clean, cold, oh baby…

Follow the faint trail.
Head through pastel fantasies,
seen through sacred eyes.

In a darkened tent,
the river sings within me.
Gentle rollers soothe.

Eddies, waves, boil lines,
energy most visible,
dance across closed eyes.

Tomorrow’s rapid,
Hance, or maybe it’s Granite,
whispers “I’m still here.”

Dreams, or memories,
replay, until nature calls.
Outside the tent, stars,

constellations lost
among too many to tell,
alight ghostly walls.

The river still sings.
Glimpses of tomorrow’s drop
beckon “Bring it on.”

Rhythms rock in sweet
reverie. Heaven faintly
glistens. What will be?

Stir before the sun.
Last night’s laughter bubbles up
and awakens breath.

Stretch and dab lotion.
Above, cliffs collect soft light
before the stars fade.

Big water today.
We all know, but no one says
“What happens if…?”

Rigged to flip, we scout.
Even from this cliff, those holes
still look freaking huge.

Got your line, Boat Man?
Let’s go. Here comes the sun, sure
sign, a piece of cake.

Push off, kiss the ledge,
currents grab us. Five monster
waves await. Here’s one.

Punch the water wall
spin left deep trough uh-oh Splash!
Brown nasal douche blue

sky hang on highside
then cough out Colorado.
This is why I came,

to feel pure power,
to learn Her true name.

Mike Meyers
April 8, 2016

Written after an 18 day private raft trip

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