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white river poems 341
of a showcase, a letter
by Woodbury, your blacksmith.
He wrote it on the way home
to Greeley on vacation,
wrote it, perhaps, even as
(quite unknown to him, of course)
the massacre was happening,
some forty miles behind him.
I copied this, making out
the faded, fi rm words behind
the glare and the refl ections:'
At Hayden I fell in with the mail carrier and accompanied him as far as
Hot Sulphur Springs. This country was full of smoke from the fi res which
were burning in all directions; following the trail along the Bear River, a
few hundred feet above the river, the smoke was so dense that one could
barely see the water running below. The fi res had been set by both the
Indians and the whites. I was told of several large fi res being set by the
whites and lain to the Utes.
`His letter had been published
in the Greeley press, one day
before the massacre news
arrived; and was forgotten,
therefore it was not cited
at the hearings.' Meeker says,
`The letter out on display,
hard to read under the glass,
inconspicuous among
dozens of other items
indiff erent enough, makes
a nice image of the truth.'
And then a bit wistfully,
`Riding along the river
going home after a year
with us, for a vacation,