Phantom Canyon Road

I drove a road too narrow
up a mountain
that crossed
fifteen cold streams.

The speakers
pushed Bach
into the cabin
and out the windows
to tumble
into the rocks
and clouds

There was
no way around
the mountain goat
who won
the staring contest
with the jeep’s

When I opened
the door
to shoo it away
my first step
would have been
my last
if I had taken it.

The goat
drank its fill
and moved
up the rock face.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


1987 was the last time I drove Phantom Canyon Road (Colorado Tourism Link) up the south side of mountains leading to Pike’s Peak and into the town of Cripple Creek. I am sure they have made improvements on the road over the years. Back then wide or tall vehicles could not take the road because low and narrow tunnels prevented forward movement. There were few turnouts to allow passing and turning around was impossible once you started upward.

Great Work

I wanted Dora here with me
for the very last moment.
I thought we could sit together
and listen to Bach on the stereo—
vinyl, the London Symphony,
diamond stylus in the groove.

I thought we would
leave the doors open,
so butterflies and birds
could enter the house
at will.

The dog nudged
butterflies off of flowers
and lets them perch upon her nose.
Paw prints marked the yard
where the thin grass
gave way to dusty soil.

Dora and I shared
a pot of ginger tea and the last cakes
as the sun set on the final day.
When the fading glow
gave way to stars
that instantly recognizable
universal voice
let all creation know
Okay, everyone, everything,
that’s a wrap! Great Work.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


The day I wrote this poem’s first draft (9 Jun 2019), my mind was on the end of the world. Not a scary end of the world of asteroids crashing into the earth movies, but a conclusion to Time end of the world. I pictured it like the end of a long labor, in this case God’s movie making cast of trillions, and the final scene and last lines are spoken, we learn that everything (with a few retakes) was done well.

I guess I was feeling my age that day.

On a tangent—156 years ago today about 4pm eastern time zone, outside the town of Gettysburg, General James Longstreet launched his afternoon attack that made places like the Devils Den, Little Round Top, the Slaughter Pen and the Wheat Field famous. Union forces under General Meade repulsed the attack. Thank you First Minnesota Infantry and everyone else who pitched in.

The Colors Of Courage, by Margaret S. Creighton is an interesting Gettysburg book that focuses on diverse people living in and around Gettysburg and how the coming battle affected those folks.

It is a lovely Albuquerque morning for bicycling and I must away before the sun makes the air too hot.

Love & Light