Trail of Smoke

Stirred awake at dawn
smoke blanketed the island,
the forests of the Clackamas,
Santiam and McKenzie
lifted into white clouds,
passing on their trail
to the other side.
So many old friends
who knew my name,
sheltered me through
turmoil and grief.
I rose and walked
to the rock point
in early filtered light
to stand on the shore
and honor their journey.
Orcas exhaled
in deep bass sounds,
a line of them
near and far along
the smoke laden channel
signaling farewell.
Years of standing vigil
beside mountain rivers
leaving this life,
their mantle passed,
carried on the wind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading of “Trail of Smoke” by the author with music by Little Wolf


 


13 Responses to “Trail of Smoke”

  1. Lloyd Meeker says:

    “their mantle passed” — beautiful, inevitable, and still tragic. Thank you, Don.

  2. Rebecca Standish says:

    My heart is touched. I thank you, Don.

  3. Marco Menato says:

    What I celebrate is that I have a friend who
    “… rose and walked
    to the rock point
    in early filtered light
    to stand on the shore
    and honor …” his friends’ journeys.

  4. Don…poignant and stirring, this…..

  5. Leslie says:

    🙏🏼

  6. Eric Dunn says:

    Deeply moving Don!

  7. Tom Figel says:

    Don, in addition to liking the sentiment, the respect in the meditation, I admire the structure of the poem. You catch the thought and you catch the rhythm of the world you’re watching. Thanks.

  8. Geoff Tisch says:

    The trail of human enterprise passing.

  9. William Comer says:

    Here in the Helena Valley the Sleeping Giant quakes in dense smoke hailing from seemingly everywhere in the Northwest. I am at my station.

  10. Rose Meeker says:

    This brought a tear. I can so relate to this:

    So many old friends
    who knew my name,
    sheltered me through
    turmoil and grief.

    I had that experience with certain parts of the forest around the 100 Mile community…

  11. Jack says:

    Deeply felt poem Don….takes me to the depths of our connection and disconnection with all that is….I have a lot of your poems to catch up on

  12. David Barnes says:

    Perhaps a good metaphor for this living process of ascension and descension, with its glory and its grief and its magic — all of which you shape so marvellously here in the way of words — Through the Smoke Hole.

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