Weekly Poem: ‘The Picketwire’

BY Hari Sreenivasan  July 12, 2010 at 1:20 PM EDT

By David Mason

Call back the summer as it stood so still –
whatever your sore eyes and tired pores will
of foxtail barley, fireweed, sedge and thistle.

A river cowboys called the Picketwire,
because of the way it braided waters tighter,
ground its round pebbles past a low campfire

where fresh-caught trout were browning in a pan
and you were standing, radiant in sun.
Remember this, and you are overrun.

A second nature rises from the past,
just like the first in that it will not last,
and grips you as it slips free of your grasp.


Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and David MasonDavid Mason, who appeared on the NewsHour in April, was named Poet Laureate of Colorado earlier this month by Gov. Bill Ritter. In 1919, Colorado became the second state in the nation (after California) to name a poet laureate.

Mason says he hopes to bring other poets — and other artists — along as he travels the state’s 64 counties, visiting schools, libraries, hospitals and prisons. Seeing poetry as the “human voice, crossing time,” he wants to encourage other voices to participate.

At the announcement, Mason, who is a professor at Colorado College, where he co-directs the Creative Writing program, read the poem “The Picketwire” from his book, “Arrivals.”