Summer Reading, Texas Style

Authors have created a literature around summer: at the pool, by the river, in the sweltering heat or in the shade. Whether it’s swimming, camping, hiking or just relaxing on the porch with a good book, summer is the season for enjoying Texas’ natural splendor.

Professor Emeritus Miguel Gonzalez-Gerth celebrates the season with poems highlighting the Lone Star State’s vast deserts, mountains, canyons and rivers.

He has been published extensively in anthologies and magazines, including “Looking for Horse Latitudes,” (Host Publications; 2008). 

Photo credit: NPS/Eric Leonard

Desert Sequence 
(Summer in the Big Bend National Park)
by Miguel Gonzalez-Gerth 
The sun descends
in layers of luminous air.
Through the Great Window of Chisos,
flanked by austere profiles,
the distance is resonant and misty.
On the other side of the river,
rises a northwest of sierra:
Undulant mountains floating night ward
with the incipient dark of evening.
An ether of silence burns in the sky, where the gaze
of distracted thoughts is lost.
The sun sets.
And something winglike flutters
amid purple music, as the turnings of vision and time are deeply sketched along the languid landscape.

In its azure height
The moon cradles nascent sleep.
Behind its back, Sirius and Procyon
bay in brilliant counterpoint.
Night lulls a slender breeze
with its fragrance of sage:
An extensive night flooding the world,
but at leaden gait.
Oh how many dead things
Are perceived in the air! Echoes in the wind and transient images.
The nomad redskin, riding the horizon,
anticipates my gaze with his falcon pupils.
…O Prophecy and Destiny! Gods
go up in smoke and other moons expire…
Night is slow
-like the wisdom of Man-; the stillness
so pure, made of shadows and sand;
a bird and its song perceive it, glissando.
Rain falls suddenly, with depth,
terse weeping from passive treetops.

Dawn winks behind the Rock of Casa Grande;
nebulous firelight glitters
along the burnished contours.
The sun blooms amid the clouds
and kindles distances to iridescence.
The sorrel mustang of morning
stamps upon hills, races through canyons,
sparks from his hoofs igniting
brush, cacti, sand and stone,
all in the desert silence…