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Clear the Path

clear the path

here comes the truth

from the community mountain

across rolling plains

the medicine grows

enough to go around

slopes from valleys run through it all

other shrubs, a tide of them, lapping

are by no means sheltered

by rocky pinnacles

but flow out, excluded, over trees

exhibiting dots and ridges

in a simple arrangement

of zones and sections

lodgepole, silver, and Jeffrey pines

the different species are found

in the deep canyons that extend from the axis

or on the upper pine belt, which sweeps up

green plants imitating

the strands of the food web

your taste

sweet medicine

it is very


rabbitbrush, sagebrush, buckwheat,

serviceberry, granite and other gilias,

desert sweet, desert peach, wild current,

and bitterbrush

the scree jumbles are

barren of such growth

not one-twentieth of the surface

is in shade at clear noonday

you enter the lower fringe

of the forest

command superb views

of the park-like surface, strewn

with the variations in color

edge of the timber line

faceted by the numerous canyons

eroded into its face

a charm of moss attached in blue cloth

brings the forest, as a whole,

within the comprehension

above the waning sea of evergreens

the rocks of the summit peak

in a dwarfed, wavering fringe

now you cross a wild garden

next you come to the silver fir belt

a broken line of contact wavers

across the sierra

all the way

up to the storm-beaten edges

and ever and anon you emerge

through brown needles and burrs

sweet medicine

grant me two wishes

I wish there might come to me

an otter-skin quiver

I wish that I

were tall