voices out of the West, mostly poetry, personal to planetary...

May 17, 2014

Chris Ransick

poet, author, journalist, editor, professor & speaker

Englewood, Colorado

Denver Poet Laureate (2006-10)

Three Poems by Chris Ransick

High Above a Nameless Tarn


limestone boulder perched

for millennia at the pass

slowly tilted and fell, urged


down the cirque, its echo off

lakeglass answered by thunder

fading and finally still


and we stood on the summit of

Square Top Mountain

under thickening skies,


silent with wonder, nourished

from climbing August slopes

above treeline, our big dog


delirious in a riot of

wildflowers, white sun, wind

pouring over the divide,


everything one thing,

the virgin wood and the

raised ancient seabed, the


nameless tarn a dark mirror

spun with the blacker shadow

of a spiraling raptor




The Sand Road

 for Sean


dune so steep the old dog stops

Médano Creek spills a dark braid

cold over hot sand and burning feet


great groves of pine snag low sun

copper melting on grooved bark on

deep green needles on crowns


full of cones on amazing ravens

perched high and hacking

conversation out of the space


spin the wheels and you’ll start

backsliding the key is finding

friction’s efficient edge


put that thing in superlow gear

let torque slow chew the slope

drive while the daylight lasts




Your River Has a Beautiful Town


Bright trout among smooth rocks agree,

as do the dun and redheaded wrens.


Sunset on the current-rilled river

must be the star’s best ritual.


Nomads and bar-haunters

kayak home under cottonwoods


and do not regret wind and whisky,

nor forget how a soft embrace


banishes the done day, transports

the traveler to well deserved dreams.


Rough winter leaves as always

and exposes the brown hill has again


hidden its green intentions. What

can poor men and women do


but find one another and insist

trouble be silent at night. This spring


same as the first and the last to come.

Even among cinders of the railyard


black-poisoned with industry, purple

will appear, yellow and white,


colors that can’t stay but come anyway.

Your river has a beautiful town, so


sleep well as dark enfolds white peaks

and rocks slow-release their stored heat. is a non-commercial project, an online anthology, to share a poetic vision of the land we love.

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