The clouds of Saint George, Utah

The clouds of Saint George
Play with the colors of rocks
In the Virgin River gorge
That carries the river and the road
South to Mesquite and Las Vegas.
The clouds of Saint George
Appear in the afternoon.
They begin small and rapidly enlarge.
They block the sun that colors the rocks.
Cumulus clouds grow quickly immense,
Thunder growls and lightning flashes.
Like lacey veils, virga hang from the clouds.
Rain drops seldom reach the thirsty earth below.
If rain drops do survive the drop in dry air,
They are few and large and evaporate instantly.
They return to the sky and rejoin
The clouds of Saint George.

This a reposting. August is monsoon season.

Why Iraq?

Little George W
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating his grits with whisky
Along came Saddam,
Who sat down beside him,
And frightened George W with WMDs.
To return the favor
Little George W threatened
To send in the Marines
He launched shock and awe
Bombing Iraq since there were
not enough targets in Afghanistan.
Can’t bomb a country back to the stone age
If Afghanistan is already there
Alas for poor George W
Saddam had no WMDs, a losing hand
Little George W called his bluff
Won the empty pot
Only cost America a trillion or two.

Edgar Lee Masters

Edgar Lee Masters was an American poet, playwright, novelist and historian who spent most his life in Illinois and for five years was a law partner with Clarence Darrow in Chicago. Masters’s most famous work is the Spoon River Anthology, a book of poems about a fictional small Illinois town, as told by the ghosts of former inhabitants. Many of us read excerpts from the Anthology in high school. I have just finished reading it in its entirety, approximately 130 pages.

Another of his 21 books of poetry is entitled Starved Rock. Published in 1919, four years after the Spoon River Anthology, the title poem is about a rocky butte and state park along the south side of the Illinois River between LaSalle and Ottawa. It was a popular day-trip destination for school field trips when I was in elementary school. We made at least two trips when I was in school and I later visited myself as a young adult. It is 85 miles from my former home in Elmhurst. Now with the Interstate highways, it is a 90-minute trip; back in the 1950s, it took longer each way.

Starved Rock State Park preserves a rock formation that served as a refuge for Native Americans in times of conflict between tribes. One legend tells about the Illini tribe trapped on the rock without water to drink which they could see below them flowing past in the Illinois River.

7 Up day

I celebrated a birthday yesterday, and today, the first day of the rest of my life, turned out to be a 7 Up day. Crisp and clean with no caffeine. 7 Up days were relatively common in Santa Barbara if the morning coastal fog had burned off by 11:00 am. Here is Saint George, they do not occur as often, but are just as welcome. Let me describe a 7 Up day: blue skies with just a few wisps of clouds, temperature of 71 degrees F., no breeze, cool air and a warm sun. It is just intoxicatingly beautiful.