In Range of Light, Catharine Savage Brosman offers lyrical and narrative poems about the American West and Southwest, from Wyoming to New Mexico to California. She explores three different types of ranges—mountains, grazing ranges, and the scope and spectrum of light, a constant motif. Employing a variety of verse forms, she evokes the landscapes, animals, folk art, prehistoric peoples, and historical figures of this captivating area. Scenes and objects are not inert, but humanized by the action of past figures or by observers, seeing the West, modifying it through their presence and being modified in turn: "Green emotion binds / the muscled landscape to our gaze." The region as a whole, with its tremendous differences and varied history, but shared identity, comes alive under Brosman's touch—to be experienced and admired.
We found a campsite
near a brook, where two deer drank at dusk,
with groves of aspen and young pines, masts
and rigging bending in the wind, and long shafts
of sun-motes dappling us, as if it were a Gothic
chapel, or a Gaudí nave, all marvel and emotion,
textured leafily. Day melted down, flowing
into darkness, and the fading sky turned on
its beacon stars. We built a fire and, around
the branching flames, raised glasses of the Cabernet,
indifferent, a toast to our imperfect being. Later,
as we huddled in the chill, embers glowing
in the circle of hot stones, then whitening to ash,
it seemed that we had caught ourselves, mind
becoming what it held a moment: space,
tree, mountain, fire—the journey and its end as one.
“In the Abajo Mountains” published in Range of Light by Catharine Savage Brosman.
Copyright © 2007 by Catharine Savage Brosman. All rights reserved.
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