Photograph of Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs‘The Garden of the Gods’ and Other Poetry by Elizabeth Spencer Spragins The Society January 23, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 2 Comments The Garden of the Gods A Cywydd Llosgyrnog When storm clouds hid the Manitou*, They cloaked invaders from his view: Giants* who engendered fright With fearsome height and thundered tread. Their horrid creatures ran ahead— Kindled dread and panicked flight. Before their jaws devoured the land, A shaman knelt upon the sand, Raised a hand toward sacred height— He chanted prayers and pleas for grace, Implored the God to show His face, And unbrace the giants’ might. The clouds dispersed; the Spirit spoke. The hostile race stood still as oak, Scorched by smoke that shuttered sight And burned their bodies into stone. The wind now whittles flesh from bone, Carves a throne where kestrels light. As vestiges of day unseam Within the vortex of a dream, Weathergleam* forestalls the night. ~The Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 2017 *An Algonquian term for a spiritual force that controls nature. *According to Native American legends, the massive rock formations of “the Garden of the Gods” are the remains of giants and their terrible beasts. When these beings threatened to devour the earth, the Chosen Ones prayed to the Manitou, who turned the invaders to stone. *Light or clear sky at the horizon. References: Gehling, Richard. “Native American Crossroads.” Ancient Groves A Tawddgyrch Cadwynog The bristlecones Endure the tine And icy whine Of wind that hones Its teeth on bones Of wooded shrine— Yet watered wine Of snow dethrones The ancient pines. When winters warm With sultry norm, The grove declines. Their twisted spines Decay, deform, And seedlings swarm To new snow lines: A deadly race Against the tide Of greed and pride That would erase This sacred space Where old ones bide And peaks collide With God and grace. ~~Inyo National Forest, California Notes: Bristlecone pines are known for their gnarled, weather-beaten limbs and their longevity. Some individuals are 5000 years old. These conifers inhabit the desolate mountain slopes of Utah, California, and Nevada, where fierce winds and extreme temperatures have rendered the terrain inhospitable to most plant life. However, climate change is expanding the range of competing vegetation. Although some bristlecone saplings have migrated to higher elevations, more temperate species continue to crowd them out. References: “Keepers of Prometheus: The World’s Oldest Tree.” Smith, Scott. “Ancient, Gnarly Trees Face Challenges to Survival.” Washington Post, 26 Sept. 2017: p. E2. Print. Elizabeth Spencer Spragins is a writer, poet, and editor who taught in community colleges for more than a decade. She writes in traditional poetic forms that focus on the beauty of landscapes and their inhabitants. Her tanka and bardic verse in the Celtic style have been published in England, Scotland, Canada, Indonesia, and the United States. An avid swimmer and an enthusiastic fiber artist, she lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Updates on publications are available on her website: www.authorsden.com/elizabethspragins. Views expressed by individual poets and writers on this website and by commenters do not represent the views of the entire Society. The comments section on regular posts is meant to be a place for civil and fruitful discussion. Pseudonyms are discouraged. The individual poet or writer featured in a post has the ability to remove any or all comments by emailing submissions@ classicalpoets.org with the details and under the subject title “Remove Comment.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related 2 Responses Carole Mertz January 23, 2018 The Cywydd Llosgyrnog is a great form, and The Garden of the Gods a beautiful poem. Thank you for it. Reply James A. Tweedie January 24, 2018 Each poem is elegant and as crystal clear as the White Mountain air that tickles Methuselah (Prometheus, alas, is no more). I am fascinated by how well archaic, arcane poetic forms are able to elevate words to such noble heights! They are like booster rockets that help carry us to the stars! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.