Bent Trails, by John Huey

Bent Trails
by John Huey

As the summer progressed we wandered past
the lower hills and found a path at the peak.
Broken walls and stony farms, land reclaimed
and lost, drawn down, the silence here, the ridge
dwellers thinking of the frost to come.

Undemanding, these times challenged the atheist,
as if the purely material could not be infused with
beauty in the turbulence of the end of the decade
where belief in all its shadings was modified by the
shelter of contradiction as there we stood, with
absolute certainty, locked in affirmation, one hand
in another, the scent of freshly bathed skin and a
turning in the summer bed at twilight and in the dawn
the shift of limbs and the discovery that the fantasy of
what had passed no longer shadowed you as some sort
of requirement for belief.

So, the atheist said, struggle is struggle, the morning
light that strikes up the day being sufficient, flowers
in the field just so, a color burst on the retina and all
energy is equal as it crosses over to the brain for the
thinker and the dreamer alike.

And the hippies up there with bell and incense, fake
Indians, suburban shamans, bogus vision, picked up their
foggy tools and ascribed this real day to something or
someone else with evasive fictions to go with their
holographic nonsense to create something from vacant air.

The truth being that light is light only and is heat from the
sun expressed as breath, impulse and illumination,
this from within that is as actual as chemistry,
one cell in communication with another across an electric grid,
without external mediation, complete, present in the conviction
that what is seen is what is real.

And so, with these struggles, we still made it to the top of
Putney mountain and saw the valley and the green tops of
the native hills and felt the roar of the glaciers from tens of
thousands of years and saw the sun on the ice long before
the arrival of men in these parts and took in the breath of
science, a pure air on the top with the assurance
that one human thought communicated with grace
was enough for all the days and means and times and
that their distorted cosmologies missed the fine mornings
on the mountainside and failed to regard the sight of
the spheres above at night, as later, toward morning,
we saw the breath of the owl blown as mist from the crest
of the first winter tree, moving all these distortions aside
and making the facts sing.

John Huey’s student work of the 60’s-70’s was influenced by teachers in Vermont such as John Irving at Windham College and William Meredith at Bread Loaf.
After many years he returned to writing poetry in 2011. Recently he has had poems presented in two issues of Poetry Quarterly and in the Temptation anthology published in London by Lost Tower Publications. Work has also appeared in Leannan Magazine, Sein und Werden, at In Between Hangovers and in The Lost River Review. His first full length book, The Moscow Poetry File, has been accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press and it will be out in October 2017.

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