by Thomas Davis
You feel them still, the desert ships:
Ocatillo, candle flame, white canvas rigged
Like sails triangular and luminous
Above the rose of wooden cabin blocks
That sail the mesa, bright ephemerals
Light driven, taut against the desert winds.
You walk in desert silences:
Sand, rock, a shimmering of heat,
The tall saguaros dark as masts against the sails,
The light blue of an early evening sky,
And feel the ships as desert devils dance
And time warps up an ancient ocean floor
Into these mountains dark with earth
And blue and lighter blue with distances.
And then the human metamorphosis:
The dry rose blocks of wood become the wall of stone.
The canvas light becomes the light of glass,
Of roofs that slant toward the magma heart of earth.
I sit alone beside the stones
That make the medicine wheel turn.
The ironwood, palo verde, barrel cactus, cholla, dark mesquite
Surround me, wrap me in the light of sails,
White canvas luminous with flame.
I bunch my muscles hard against the mountain’s slope.
A mountain lion’s paws leave marks upon the earth.
Note: This was written a number of years ago when I was peripherally involved with the Frank Lloyd Wright Fellowship. This poem is about Frank Lloyd Wright’s creation of Taliesin West in Arizona.