Poems by Tom Goff

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Feather Falls

by Tom Goff

From Canary Autumn 2009

Tom lives in the Lower American River watershed northeast of the Sacramento River delta.

We opt for the shorter, steeper trail
to the waterfall. Our legs and backs
burn all the way for our choice,
swigs of water, gobbets of food
assuaging the ache. Pine aroma, manzanita’s
reddish black twists under soft green,
redbud’s astonishing violet sprigs,
and Indian Paintbrush in concert salve
the granite-and-white-dust glare. We trudge
towards the waters’ echoes as soldiers guide
on the gunblast: Frey Creek,
the Middle Fork of the Feather
turquoise and slow in its green-tufted ravine
(our view from aloft sees only the largo
truth of the current). Then, revealed at last,
the Fall River plummets daggerwise
to the crash of the gorge: fell, maniacal;
sublime, Burke would tell us,
in its terrors. Granite and basalt
shoulders direct the eternal outpour,
water upon water, and, in the heart
of the ablution, plume after plume:
this many-foliate Heraclitan arrow,
feathered to shoot god-straight,
explodes boulder all about us
to rainbow, pine duff, and nymph-slender
lavender butterfly; food
a great weariness desperately needs.


Reprinted from Sinfonietta by Tom Goff ( Rattlesnake Press, 2009)



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