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Late Fall, Prairie Creek

Winter tiptoes silently on icy, sharpclawed toes

through the steep-walled mountain valley, over peaks now rimmed with snow

On the forest floor of Prairie Creek as afternoon withdraws

I wait, the gathering of shadows pouring night across my paws

Cathedral pines of Ponderosa, whispering of Firs, and the

clattering of streams whose mountain waters chill the Earth

Gone the chatter of the Magpies, gone the golden autumn glow,

just the silhouettes of Sawtooths and of antelope below

As the starlight thickens on the paths where elk have crossed,

in the shadows pools the silence, while the branches catch the frost

The northern forest bristles in these long, October nights

to hear the clicking nails of winter scratching daybreak into ice

What Color is a Mountain Stream?

Gawping, my words run
jubilant, downstream, a ribbon of
gunmetal insistent, persevering,
turquoise over a jumble of rounded
chattering, a clink of
magnesium, under clouds glowering
emerald flash, suddenly, the
sun - gone again, a pool of
navy, over slithering sandbeds, whisper of
trout, here before you, rainbow,
from the
shadows, twisting in a
silence the stars also speak round
midnight, into the soft ears of
black bears padding down to drink among
ferns, laced with morning dew,
ivory mist rising in tendrils of hissing morning
light cerulean in cold air.
Still, I'm speechless, my
tea cooling as I wonder what
color is a