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Vision Quest-poem

Updated on January 12, 2012

The sunset seeps into trees

spreading reddish gold colors

from leaves, to branches, to roots –

the fanfare of every dying day.

Underneath the blushing sky

in the shadow of a cottonwood tree,

a teenage boy patiently waits

with legs crossed and eyes closed.

Hours float by,

and he worries that his blood,

watered down like cheap whiskey,

has forgotten the way.

Long ago this trial was common,

his ancestors journeyed under similar trees

to find their names – their paths.

Now the boy seeks their wisdom – their aid.

A burst of violent wind

showers his onyx hair with leaves and twigs.

With a shake of his head,

he opens his dusk colored eyes.

A translucent old man

flickers before the boy,

points toward a clearing,

and ignores his blatant disbelief.

As he moves to the clearing

his sneakers melt into moccasins,

while his rough denim jeans

transform into softened deer hide.

The wraiths appear from all directions –

ancestral spirits clothed in hunting leathers,

armed with spears, bows, and knives

alert and watchful for their prey.

Thundering hooves of spectral bison

kick up nonexistent dust to cloud his eyes.

A wooden spear is placed in his hands

as he is pulled into the hunt.

With little hope of striking anything

his spear careens into the herd,

but encounters nothing – the buffalo are gone

and the spell is broken.

He opens his eyes to a changed world

full of firefly stars and cozy, twilight skies.

He sits, surrounded by silent trees

and whispers from the spirits

that beseech him to “come home.”

But their home is gone,

lost like the great herds of buffalo,

taken from their lands

and forever changed.

Now he understands that the world

is different and the same;

He is different and the same,

And he accepts his name and his place.



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    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 

      4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      To me it hangs with his quest still lingering, a wanting of acceptance to what has changed, yet not really. Great job...

    • Casey Cooper profile imageAUTHOR

      Casey Cooper 

      6 years ago from Collinsville, Illinois

      I like your suggestion. I think that is a stronger end. The last two stanzas seem to me a bit heavy-handed now that I look back at them again. Thank you for your input. Honest constructive criticism is always appreciated.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Well this is just me but the "He opens his eyes" verse is so good I would want my poem to end with that verse so I would shuffle to make dramatic last. Since you asked that is my honest opinion. I do that in many of my poems. Voted up anyway though, you have a talent.

    • Casey Cooper profile imageAUTHOR

      Casey Cooper 

      6 years ago from Collinsville, Illinois

      I think the ending is a bit weak. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


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