At the Gas Line Boulders, in Autumn

Poem Written in November, 2013
By Vern Crawford

Thick green moss, plush and soft,
Drapes down and over the Gas Line Boulders:
Mossy coats, surprising here in Southern Oregon–
Not a mossy land, not a rainy land.

The Gas Line Boulders loom large, some small,
Each composed of coarse volcanic tuff, Miocene:
Crudely split and tilted slabs, or solid monoliths,
Mossy hulks trailing out as two vague rows, hidden by the woods.

I park my car. I walk up along the Gas Line hill,
Then amble out among gold and russet autumn oaks–
A thousand boles of pewter bark–and lonely pines and firs.
I pause to greet the Gas Line Boulders. I press upon their mossy coats.

Boulders’ presence. Boulders’ bulk. Boulders’ firmness. Boulders’ roughness.
Semi-sunken into earth, some stand tall, some lie prone,
Some are congregated, some remain aloof, alone,
All of them muttering complaints about my intrusion.

And I, catching intimations of Old World megaliths,
Wander among these Stony People, this lurking lithic tribe
Secluded here by oak woods and lonely pines and firs.
I trespass their place of power, their precinct of autumn awe.

But I do not stay. The boulders would not have me, anyway,
Preoccupied as they are with gathering autumn leaves, russet, gold,
With storing up the sallow solar fire, with tucking close their mossy coats.
I leave. And they turn back to being the best boulders they know how to be.