A Trail West

It is rough hewn

and vague of form,

but it will serve.


The words are primitive,

but genuine

and honest.


The act is brutal

and violent,

but we are still alive

and we will be so;

inelegant and wild.


New horizons dawned

with every sunrise.

Strange peoples

welcomed us to their lands.

Never refined,

or adorned

as they are in stately circles;

we learned that extravagance

is a sign

of confinement.


What we could make,

or barter for

would clothe us.

Coyote skins

do just as well

as fine linens

at keeping us covered

and even better in the cold.


We learned that plain speech

is better understood

than all the filigree

and dialects

so smugly prized

by hangers on

of the Lords and Ladies back home.


One misunderstood word

could spark a fight,

or communicate bad instruction,

leading to injury, or death,

or hurt feelings,

or betrayed trust;

none of which are welcome

on this frontier.

Out here,

not even words are wasted.


As we cut our path westward,

we hears stories

of strange oceans

and giant beings,

creatures that beggar the imagination

and fertile lands

and mountains veined with gold.


But we’re not the same

as we were

when we started.

We are better at hunting,

better at defending ourselves,

better at killing.


For whatever evils

this land breeds

in its peoples,

we brought with us

evils greater by a score.


We’ve killed those

who would raid our camps

by nightfall

and dealt swift justice

to those with us

who would turn to the fold

for prey.


We no longer hesitate

when threatened;

we attack,

with skilled efficiency.


Without violence,

we might never reach

our new home

in the lands

between the mountains

and the sea.


Already the land changes,

from plains to rolling hills

and the spires

of Earth’s majesty

rise up to Heaven.


Father says

that we must winter here

and we will make the pass

when spring comes.

So now this house

of rough hewn logs

will be our home

until we press on once again.


We too,

have become rough hewn people;


like the land

we now call home.


HG – 2017

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