I stopped to stoop,
And stooped to chop,
Then clipped to scoop
The lettuce crop.
In the rain tent
Long after dark . . .
My mother bent
Like a question mark.
Observer of the shifting shape,
Botanical and desertscape,
I and my orchids might have meant
To call to mind a continent
Of love. The space of Western skies
Is fixed in the longhorn’s empty eyes.
Romantic vistas hum out loud
Beneath the mesa’s patterned cloud.
I gave bleached bones and ancient skulls
More life than living animals
That haunt the still and soft light show
Of my beloved New Mexico.
What is it if it is not art
That turns the handle of the heart?
—J. Patrick Lewis, Westerville, OH