Canyon to see
the great, green Saguaro standing as guards,
in the thousands along the valleys in this
canyon, each one
The Tohono O’Odham call these persons,
and so they are, arrayed in arroyos
well pocked with nests for cactus wrens or owls.
Ah, Saguaro, you live longer than the
people, whose years
flowering and the fruiting, the hungry
times, the longest nights, the coldest, short days.
The people come
to make wine
to give thanks in the proper season and
to dance safe, under your sheltering arms.
Octpowrimo's prompt today was to take an old poem and play with a new form. I chose this poem, written in January 2011, after a stay near Tucson, immersed in desert culture, because the order and harmony of the form made me think of the order and harmony found in Native American beliefs and nature itself.
The poetic form (found on Shadow Poetry) is a Tetractys. In its shortest forms, syllables for each line must measure 1, then 2, 3, 4, then 10. Here, the form is extended: 1,2,3,4, 10, 10, 4, 3, 2, 1, and repeated again. Somehow the lines on the page remind me of the arms of the Great Saguaro, the name itself a poem.