Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ghost Pony

     The surrounding landscape is magnificent, but the New Mexico town is not charming. For Sale signs, rusty cars, a general store of old cans, old hardware nothing for us but Ice Sold, though we wish we could spend our money here, instead of the supermarkets  in Santa Fe. 

      An acclaimed Hispanic weaver has a shop here started by his grandfather, or maybe it was his great-grandfather. He shows us the traditional regional patterns his father wove, and I think I recognize borrowed Pueblo designs. He prefers the perfect stripes he creates on a hundred and fifty year old loom. An artist’s studio down the street has a mural marrying the Day of the Dead and the cult of the Penitentes in Pixar color. I was once warned that people here were unfriendly to strangers, but all are talkative, and they look us in the eye and say God Bless You when we leave - and we feel blessed. Bill photographs what-used-to-be, seeing art everywhere.

            Main Street eventually becomes a dirt road and Truchas Peaks and the deep-hearted fields appear. The clannish pines are arranged in family groups, and the air at 8400 feet is so clear. Open-hearted and exhilarated, we explore in the morning, imagine history in the old cemeteries, 

work in the afternoon.

We stay at an artist and writer’s retreat, a large adobe house we have to ourselves. It feels like a great gift. We are supposed to be collaborating on an art work involving his images and my poetry. The theme is India, where we spent a month a while ago - but how are we to concentrate on India, when the spirits of the Sangre de Cristo mountains are spinning tales for us, Coyote sings for his dinner, and a Ghost Pony flees his logo on the front of a store and appears in my dream?

          Ghost Pony

Ghost pony    you come to me
white as the dandelion
white as life turns
before it blows away

Take me back 
to when you cantered these lands
granted in the name of saints
in the name of mercy  in the title of kings

Blood of Christ they named their mountains
Our Father they would say   Holy Mother they would pray
There were looms then  there are looms now
there were carvers then   there are carvers now
It was spirit and necessity then
it is spirit and necessity now
There were ponies and stallions and livestock
there were coyotes and wolf and bear

Altars of saints met kivas of spirits
they danced around each other  they sniffed and
growled   Coyote and Corn Mother crossed over
Guadalupe and Jesus joined the stars and
the great raptors in the haunted sky

Some women lit candles on Friday night
because their grandmothers lit candles on Friday night
In October they asked their neighbors for forgiveness 
spun strangely marked tops before Christmas

Wrapped in silk  in a trunk was the mystery
an enameled hand  with painted eye 
and a six pointed star
from a previous history

Can you take me Ghost Pony?
Can you take me that far?