Songs for the Sierra Nevada

I wrote these poems in the last few pages of a brown, tattered old pocket journal that I kept with me as I started into the Sierra Nevada, heading out of California and toward the east coast; seeing for the first time everything from General Sherman Tree to Yosemite Valley and the Tuolumne Meadows.  I wrote more poems as I continued east, but I thought these first few made for a nice little collection to get rolling.

Sincerely Yours,
Ren Michael

General Sherman

In communion with You
Good General Sherman

We stand silent in our own space and time
hearing everyone
and no one

Great guardian
King in the mountains
Surrounded by the young
Dwarfed and yet defiant
A giant
Equal to the sun

Meeting with you,
following momentary rain
I genuflect in your shadow
Bow my head, and pray

I give thanks

I can still smell the rain

Morning Creek and Moro Rock

The sun rises from the mountaintop
And reigns over forest trees
River runs through,
This secret morning
My place

On top of the world!
Climbing Moro Rock
A man declares “I’m on top of the world!”
I know the feeling
Out of breath and full of joy
Trees below me like a holy congregation
Rushing, singing
Bowing, basking in the first light of the sun

Half Dome

wind blows
half past noon
sky and unseen moon
all croon in honor of You
lone mountain
Half Dome
great captain of the skies
a solitary bird
flying high

the blackbird
the dark child of night
sharing in thy might
though immortal you stand
over your valley
a lord, so alive
A protector through time

An emissary divine
Born from on high


El Camino Del Sol

An ancient creek
breathes brand new
Strayed off
far enough
found you
eternal child
lived a thousand years
oblivious to the war
the crime
Do you know of time?
Have you heard the news?
What say you?
What’s to come through?

Or do I ask too soon?

Ancient creek
softly echoing mystery and flowing
Knowing what will come to be
On the trail, I can’t feel my heartbeat
I’m a ghost on the pathway of the sun

El Camino Del Sol (II)

Atop the waterfall
From which everything
falls, cleansing
from within
Spirit sings
A man born
A child again
Keeping close the ghost
My quiet host

Picking up, I move on
The valley alive, like
church bells ring
I stand to rise,
Man, I’m ready to sing


Is this the same state?
The same scene?
That’s home to my city streets?
Before me, awestruck, and a parked
Jeep, lies the Tuolumne
Waiting for me
Before our own
sweet evening
Clouds rise, high up one
And I park aside and gaze upon your wondrous being

And you look with your eyes so warm
And tell me “everything’s gonna be alright”
For your spirit lies within me
Within me
Great Tuolumne

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