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Soul Stance River - 22

The Great Falls of the northern Plains is actually a chain of five seperate waterfalls
varying in height and majesty extending over 12 miles,
they also confirm that the right river was chosen,
we had hoped that the necessary portage of boats and supplies
would take no more than a single day, guess again,
after hauling everything the expedition has over 17 miles of terrain
that assaults the feet and punishes the pride of stamina
with summer's blanket of humidity, nats that nibble away on nerves
and perfidious pathways that preheats everyone's impatience
we've ascended to the tier of tranquility after 15 days of drudgery,
this sheet of river is smooth like Spanish glass and clear as primal poetry,
Sacagawea's illness of fever, erratic pulse and twitching has finally abated after five days,
initially Clark bled her to no avail
but my application of Peruvian bark poultice to her pelvic region
along with sulphur water from nearby quickly brought her halo back,
she is already gallivanting for fruits with "Pompey", her boy in papoose,
she can make a cold man warm with just the touch of her smile,
its already mid July and my stupid insistence on making the iron frame boat water worthy
has been a fatiguing failure in time and energy,
the stitching and tar sealant that we've prepared for it
has achieved only humility and lost labor for the mission,
now its a wreckage of my naivety on the river's bottom
nothing but a rusting dream for the fishes,
we are fortunate that a cottonwood grove is close by
two large canoes will be cut and carved out of them in a day,

Mountains know only one way to welcome strangers
they look down, you look up
they breathe out you breathe in
they stand on stone you balance on bone,
this is the Rocky Mountain womb
birth canal of civilizations and source of the Missouri River,
we've entered through a gateway of gargantuan granite
symmetrical on both sides of 1, 000 feet, gargoyles of a million yesrs
appear perched and intrigued at random vertical intervals 
atop the dark, graduating wrinkled spires of this incomparable cathedral of geological worship
crafted by artisans who had no care of completion
knowing it is a work that will age itself into perfection every moment of exposure,
the mountain's foundations are beginning to spread sharply and shattered
as they root into a crust of a carbon debris
that knew the upheaval of our planet's pregnancy
pinned by primordial pines and skirted with shores of glacial gravel,
snowcaps that spear the sky, bleach the belief of how bold gravity can be
as pockets and ribbons of quartz tinsel the ridges with blinking sparkle in the sunlight,
an eagle glides so high its small enough to land on an eyelash
yet is only half way up the prettiest peak,
this is the spine of the Continental Divide,
the Columbia River is on the other side, somewhere, ready to race us to the Pacific,
fatigue cannot compete with our excitement, 
I spot a distant column of smoke in a remote valley
surely this is a native signal of warning to others that strangers are approaching, 
it may be Blackfoot Indians, a trapper party, but is most likely from the Shoshone people
the tribe we are keen to meet for politics and horses for the mountain passing,


Copyright © | Year Posted 2015

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Date: 12/26/2015 11:02:00 PM
Simply incredible, Justin. Each sections fills me with such excitement! I love your vision of the eagle, and the language therein..and the mountains...just everything... so perfect! Makes me thirsty for nature, to see something grand again! "snowcaps that spear the sky, bleach the belief of how bold gravity can be"..beautiful! Always, Laura
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Justin Bordner
Date: 12/28/2015 2:36:00 AM
It was a very special moment as a poet and lover of natural wonders to know that I revealed the power and majesty of those mountains Laura, it was such a thrill describing the Rockies in such a spiritual, gothic and rugged way. I feel I did them justice, and your sweet comment convinces that I achieved something beautiful, and powerful that assists the reader in being there with me, and the Corps of Discovery...J.A.B.