Colorado

In 1919, Colorado became the first state to formally establish a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Joseph Hutchison, who was appointed to a four-year term in 2014. Hutchison teaches at the University of Denver's University College, where he currently directs two programs: Arts & Culture and Global Affairs. He has published several books and chapbooks of poetry.

In 2017, Assetou Xango became the poet laureate of Aurora, Colorado. She will serve a two-year term.

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Spirit that Form'd this Scene

Written in Platte Cañon, Colorado.

Spirit that form'd this scene,
These tumbled rock-piles grim and red,
These reckless heaven-ambitious peaks,
These gorges, turbulent-clear streams, this naked freshness,

These formless wild arrays, for reasons of their own,
I know thee, savage spirit—we have communed together,
Mine too such wild arrays, for reasons of their own;
Was't charged against my chants they had forgotten art?
To fuse within themselves its rules precise and delicatesse?
The lyrist's measur'd beat, the wrought-out temple's grace—column and polish'd arch forgot?
But thou that revelest here—spirit that form'd this scene,
They have remember'd thee.

[In Colorado, In Oregon, upon]

In Colorado, In Oregon, upon	
each beloved fork, a birthday is celebrated.
I miss each and every one of my friends.
I believe in getting something for nothing.
Push the chair, and what I can tell you 
with almost complete certainty
is that the chair won't mind.
And beyond hope,
I expect it is like this everywhere. 
Music soothing people.
Change rolling under tables.
The immaculate cutoff so that we may continue.
A particular pair of trees waking up against the window.
This partnership of mind, and always now
in want of forgiveness. That forgiveness be
the domain of the individual,
like music or personal investment.
Great forward-thinking people brought us
the newspaper, and look what we have done.
It is time for forgiveness. Dear ones,
unmistakable quality will soon be upon us.
Don't wait for anything else.

Devotee

for the wisdom of the Rocky Mountain National Park

what to call wild use
of nature
to the human
where character
is centered
entering like a devotee,
genuflecting, vast space
what to call drama
of containment edging
unknown? tundra’s
tenacious
front to the stars,
above all tree-lines
can you breathe?
what is your risk,
anthropoid?
to lichen, moss imbricating
delicate plants hundreds
years
in the making
shivery!  sweetest
tiny world
what’s next,
where is our ark?
all directions of space
glance across moraines
near and far to plunge
or fly?
gambol like a shaman with
mountain denizens
a raw and windblown
dance
of preservation,
let no one break or tread
rigor you barely understand,
o human rangers
guardians as keepers of
land’s vision
inside trembling
precarious
Anthropocene
make wonder, not wreck
things you barely
know of this world
bow down to
dark power’s
indigenous alchemy
wild basin
when I could see death
inside the camp’s firelight
night we sat vigil for our sick friend
in coma and
sun was strong by day
and later ice was blinding
(he lived a little longer)

ecology of mind!
“to preserve this
element of unknown places”
(Aldo Leopold)
when it was never summer
when it was timeless
Rocky spine cut a divide
touched a nerve
confluence of lines,
east & west
held a universe
let us in
Blake’s garden of love
and see what you
never have seen
marked out by the magus
trickster shaman
playing in
zone of the bighorn
there is an elk in your future
if you wait
there is a black bear in your future
if you let him live
beyond Illusion
of the poetic
not made in your image
for your pleasure
yet they are sublime
(beneath a surface
cities of discontent
go down)
walk climb stop stare
rake
mind’s neurons flashing
you stumble
you gaze
you touch inside loneliness
at 11,000  feet
moose and elk
in continuity
below
mirroring illuminating
a beautiful
desolation
outburst sounding
rut and passion
a circuitous present
where you
pick up
a shard of shell
back up
on the tundra
evidence of
once was ocean
wisdom
dakinis,
lokapalas, imps
mountain deities
nod and
bow, o gratitude!
without this
care
we lose our way
kill the thing we need, we love
you better know.



Aldo Leopold (1887-1948): American philosopher and ecologist,
best known for his book Sand Country Almanac.

dakinis:  female embodiments of enlightened energy

lokapalas: dieties of place