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About Jim Ross




Prayer on the Wind

How many souls have passed Bodie's way
To plant a foot in the dirt,
To gaze and shiver at unheard cries,
Of those whose feelings seem hurt?

A laugh and a shrug drive it away;
The town seems friendly enough
With silent mines and whispering winds
The spirits don't seem too gruff!

A zephyr screams and tugs at your sleeves,
Your hat tries to leave your head;
You scan for trees but only see scrub
And markers of lasting stead.

Where are their lives, those who came and died?
Not in the dirt at your feet!
Their souls ply winds, it's where stories spin
And in notes to loved ones, sweet.

"Please grasp my sense, it is here I count,
Here played my life's destiny.
Our goals were yours once, some of us stayed;
'Alone' screams our agony!"

Auras remain as you jounce away—
Mind views through poured window panes—
Walls tell their tales down wrinkled, stained trails,
In halls that creak and complain!

Who needs to know the number of souls
With new names always to add?
Your heart is held by the fervent knell...
"I'm here, come love me a tad!"

© 2008, Jim Ross
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jim comments on the poem's inspiration:

Some forty years ago I was caught off guard by the power of Bodie, California, to insinuate its being into my soul. How can some rotting boards do that? The faded echoes of that insinuation returned with symphonic bombast after I wended the washboard mountain road from Bridgeport, past Mono Lake shimmering below, and I saw the town again.

The poem began to form and flow after leaving 21st century trappings in the parking lot for a sage-scented trek into town. By the time I entered the cemetery, my kinship with Bodie's inhabitants was palpable.

I had been in their workplaces, touched their rest spots, visited their homes, businesses, schools, and remaining church. I had read their letters, laughed and cried over newspaper reports of their situations and events. I felt their days being played out beneath a relentless sun, fitful winds, thunderstorms pelting the treeless ground mercilessly, and snows turning two story buildings into a dazzling landscape of rooftops.

The voice of Bodie's interred announced clearly what they wanted from my pen; it is their "Prayer on the Wind."

Learn more about Bodie at the California State Parks' web site and at a site devoted to Bodie.




Last Ride

How many rides we’ve taken!
Scented life our joyous thread
along the mountain pathways,
wind-swept meadows up ahead.

Will you cart me to my grave,
nicker notions of the free?
Will you wonder where I am
as she ties you ‘neath my tree?

Again I sense your being,
I can feel it as I sway—
Let me thank you for your gift
as we take to separate days.

Tattoo, tattoo, the rhythm
of our rides that ring so light,
echo in this place I greet
in peace for eternal night.

© 2012, Jim Ross
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Jim comments: "Riding confers a lot of time for contemplation and reflection. Sometimes the fragmented thoughts land on the ride itself, if not in the present, in the past, and on possible future sorties. They all catch me by surprise one way or another. 'Last Ride' is no exception."



Time Travel: A Western Solution

Lasso Time! Wrest its moves from round the pen—
step aboard to tame the beast, at least to
set its corkscrew straight, guide its headlong plunge ...
Just pick a foxtrot, waltz or boogie, and
plug it in your ears to accompany
spinning skies, cheering, concomitant crowds
who clap for other contestants seeded
in a mix that Time pays no mind to know ...
Lasso Time! Lope tethered through the gate for
parts unseen, or known, down the powdered road.

© 2015, Jim Ross
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Jim comments: "Adventurous and fanciful urges arise from mysterious personal places and yelp for attention. Thank goodness for enough open space and good company to play them out in."






About Jim Ross:

I love to write. Always have. Finding words to rouse heartbeats with the passion of a tale is my pride and promise—wherever it leads. I have accumulated many "tools" over the years to achieve this goal—education of all sorts, formal and otherwise—and I still have room in the shed for more. "Can't ever," as my dad once instructed, "have enough tools! They're all precious and can all be brought to bear." One that never gathers dust in my life is the cowboy way—a little reflection on it and my focus is always restored, the haze blown from the horizon. I hope you enjoy the results of what I see.



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