In what may be its least read issue.
A little more than a year ago we moved to Arizona. From the beginning I loved the four rugged mountain ranges surrounding the valley in which Tucson lies. They are mountains that change constantly as clouds cast shadows across them, storms illuminate them with lightning or sweep down to hide and then unveil them. Sometimes they are white with snow or red with the reflection of an incredible sunset. Always they are beautiful.
With the coming of cooler weather I walked through the desert scrub areas and along the washers, generally dry, but occasionally flooded by the run-off of a storm. I fell in love again, this time with the shrubs and unbelievable variety of wild flowers; the living things, scurrying about; birds and butterflies everywhere.
Now I am watching the desert die. The cars of men slip in to pile more trash on the illegally established dumps, and that is unforgivable. The homes and businesses of men encroach. Resignation to that, I suppose, is necessary, but it is a resignation to be accepted with regret.
So I am filling this issue of The Kitchen Stove with excerpts from my Arizona notebook. It is a product of those walks, recalling a vanished joy.
1. Desert Walk
Today the pipes of Pan are calling
Sweet and soft and far away,
Where petals on a stream are falling –
Sun and shadow interplay –
How strange that through the traffic roaring,
Transistor din and stereo,
The blast of jets away and soaring,
Still the pipes call clear and low.
And ever the song is the same to man:
Come back to the stillness where life began.
2. The Whole World Does Not Love Its Lover
St. Francis of Assisi I am not:
I speak but beasties fail to hear a lot.
And when I sing as Orpheus used to do,
The only birds I see are those that flew.
I cannot claim the gard’ners greenthumb touch:
Things grow for me, but not so very much.
I love the great outdoors, I freely state:
It’s sort of sad it won’t reciprocate.
3. Arizona Night
The world is old
But the land is new,
The first green blades
Come pushing through.
The sky is high
And the trees are small.
It’s many a year
Till they stand tall.
But this is the time
That Eden knew,
When the world was young
And the Lord just through.
When there wasn’t a past
For the first man yet,
A past to look back
And regret and forget.
4. Why Shouldn’t Everybody Have Fun?
It doesn’t bother a man at all
When he gathers his trash in his hand,
Old freezer and sofa and burned-out TV,
And dumps them across God’s land.
But the very same man is the very same one
Who makes with the tears and the moan,
When the Lord uses lightning, the winds and a flood
To litter a bit on His own.
The streams will all flow clean again,
The fields will soon grow green again,
When man has gone away.
The trees will hide the stars again,
The earth will heal its sears again,
When man has gone away.
For man, the last of all creation,
Is the first to plan his immolation,
And unrenewed, dies out.
6. Ave Valeque
Come quickly while the desert still is there.
Thread through its growth, watch tiny creatures run.
Look up where birds have caught a drift of air
And float across the sky. Too soon it’s done,
Knocked down, mashed flat, built up, till ev’rywhere
Harsh noises rise, square shadows mark the sun.
Come quickly now! The steps of men grow loud.
Men bearing in their arms Earth’s concrete shroud.
From the pen (and typewriter)
of Louise Lincoln
Tucson, Arizona 85710
Via the print shop of Alf Babcock