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La Tierra Encantada: Poems of New Mexico

Updated on May 16, 2016
juneaukid profile image

Richard F. Fleck is author of two dozen books, his latest being Desert Rims to Mountains High and Thoreau & Muir Among the Native Americans.

Anasazi Ruins
Anasazi Ruins | Source
Spanish Bayonet
Spanish Bayonet | Source
Early Spanish ruins beneath the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Early Spanish ruins beneath the Sangre de Cristo Mountains | Source
O'Keefe's Black Mesa landscape painting
O'Keefe's Black Mesa landscape painting | Source

Poems of New Mexico

Indians Forever

When I look at Albuquerque

lying low beneath the mountain

called the Father of the Spirits,

pinnacles appear in haze.

City buildings, cars and streets

fail to cover deep red dancers

throbbing through the manholes

with a muffled, ringing rhythm,

fusing mythic past with present.

Winter Solstice at Santo Domingo Pueblo

Far below the Sangre de Cristo

in a place called Santo Domingo

chanters in dusty circle implore

spirit dancers to rattle gourds;

they swish and sway and swirl

in a world of pinyons and arroyos.

Red blankets or blue shawls

cover women clasping eagle feathers.

Men with naked chests and beaded pants

dance in rows with clowns in between

in rays of a happy December sun

returning north to popping pinyon logs

scenting plaza drowned in drumbeat.

Sandia Corn Dance

Thumping drums ring

from adobe ways

circling open plaza

where painted dancers,

men of copper, women of silver,

moccasins on men,

and bare-footed women

hop to drummers

dressed in white

ringed by procession

dancing with spruce,

dancing with headdress,

and gray-haired chanters

chant at skies

bare of clouds

blazing with sun

shining on corn

needing some rain;

gourds rattle sharply,

spruce branches swirl,

as children dance

with father's fathers,

dance for life,

dance for love,

dance for rain;

clouds slowly gather

where physical world

meets the spiritual

with thumping drums,

and pattering drops.

Thoughts Along a Canyon Rim

Who can say what you

think as you walk along

a ledge above the brink

of a deep abyss where

scores of Anasazi ruins lay,

but none is greater,

in the midst of Chaco

Canyon, than the ruins

of Pueblo Bonito which

gleams in a very bright

desert sun--

Climbing high above Chaco,

finally you reach the

highest point called

"Alta" giving you views

of ancient, wide roads,

like spokes of a wheel,

reaching far out to trade

south for sweet cacao,

north for tasty elk jerky,

west for abalone shells with

bright mother of pearl.

From Chaco itself other

tribes get medicinal herbs

and turquoise powder and

stones for magic and jewels.

Ageless spirits still linger

deep within the canyon rim

as you seem to float above.

Down in Chaco Canyon

I will arise and go

to enchanted New Mexico

and see the mysteries of

Chaco Canyon with its

pueblos of sandstone slabs

put in line with chips of

stone in a land as dry as bone.

Pueblo Bonito, Pueblo del

Arroyo, Casa Rinconada,

Cetro Ketl, and Pueblo Alto

so high above the moist and

stream-fed valley floor where

corn and squash and black

beans once grew so very well.

Who can ask for more?

But, of course, there is more--

black designs on white pottery

along with tall cylindric jars full

of dark cacao from old Mexico

under bright turquoise skies with

puffs of ever-growing clouds.

Oh Chaco, Chaco, Chaco

Canyon, place of trade, place

of worship deep within a kiva,

place of thunder, place of wonder!

Sunny Bandelier

Just northwest of Santa Fe

in the valleys of the Pajarito

Plateau lie the ancient ruins

of Bandelier where ancestral

people lived and thrived for nearly

three hundred years until the

Spanish came in the 1500's to

break them up into small pueblos.

Their dwellings, atop volcanic tuff-

cliffs and inside caves and deep

in the valley of Frijoles Canyon,

have magical names like Yapashi,

Tyuonyi, Otowi and Tsankawi,

all in a bright New Mexican sun

making sihouettes of green bayonets

and berried juniper that scents the

air along with ponderosa pines.

They gathered together in dance

and ceremony to pray for rain

to water their crops of beans and

squash and many-colored corn.

They collected berries and hunted

rabbits and deer and mountain lions

to supplement their vegetable diet.

At night they slept on turkey feather-

mats and peered out at all the stars

to awaken early and shield their

eyes from a bright and rising sun.

3 Poems on Georgia O'Keefe's Paintings

Georgia O'Keefe's Patio

How summer-like is

her hot patio with a

dark streak of shade

contrasted with the

heat of the upper walls,

and yet those cool

white clouds above

suggest that snow is

coming as it does with

her back door scene

in winter laced with

heavy, wet clouds of

the whitest of snowflakes,

but what is beyond the

Abiquiu patio is reddish-gray

desert ridges that rise

up high to touch the sky.

Black Mesa

There's something about

the desert that gets you.

It's a bit of outer space on Earth.

Green plants, black soil, red lava,

blue sky and a touch of mountain

snow makes for the stark austerity

of norther New Mexico that is

very truly la tierra encantada.

Ghost Ranch

Nothing like New Mexico

to make you mighty hungy

with its red-bean sandstone

streaked with pepper-green

and hills in the foreground

looking like frijoles refritos

and just a touch of

oregano green to cover

the rolled taco shell of earth.

New Mexico

Have you traveled in New Mexico?

See results

© 2015 Richard Francis Fleck


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    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you, we lived in New Mexico a few years back--in Albuquerque.

    • anemixflarie profile image

      Anemix 2 years ago

      loved it!! I was just in Mexico two months ago and I can say it is a very lovely place!, if you liked Mexico, you should visit Guatemala it also has a lot of magic, mystic and beauty. Great poems!

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you Gypsy Rose Lee, I appreciate it.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Really enjoyed this. Thank you for the poetic journey through New Mexico. I've added this to my poetry Pearltree.

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thanks whonu, I appreciate it.

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      Enjoyed your work here my friend. Well done and inspirational. whonu