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white river poems 401
Book Four
a gathering of shades
Once again silence, vagueness, a darkish atmosphere; in which after a few mo-
ments we hear jostling movements. Then voices grow audible, some heads and
shoulders can be made out, becoming just darker than the dark they occupy, men
distinguishable from women mainly by their hats. Meeker says, `Ah. The suc-
cessors.' Among them are the people who had been ready to reappear, in the pre-
dawn dark at the beginning, once Meeker himself had come forward, and who
were displaced by the voice of an offi
cial. All offi
cial voices have long since lapsed
back into the records and documents, and Meeker himself, it would seem, has
pretty well had his say; not that he doesn't still seem willing to off er a comment on
occasion, there being a certain eagerness about his continuing presence as he con-
templates these who came after, into the country in which he died. Old, they are
engaged in remembering, without nostalgia, and, as we listen, their remember-
ing has something of that clearness, separateness, and belongingness in the dark,
which the sound of crickets has on summer nights.
-- There shines in their
words that talent
for experience
one fi nds in
those who live
to tell such tales,
I say to Meeker.
He: Both tale
and experience
come by the way,
I think, to those
for whom life
is events. They
are participants.
One of the old men speaking
... next morning we could look down
from Rogers mesa to the lower country.
One could not help thinking of the story
of the Promised Land. But we had no Moses
however, he only saw the promised land,
you will remember, and did not enter it.
But we all did. Near the Smith Fork
we found camps where Indians had been
a few days previous, their teepee poles
still standing, and little piles of rocks
in circular form as if children
had been playing there, and I fancy they had.