June Camas Lily, a signature species of the Northwest [ click photo for next . . . ]
(Camassia quamash) (VI.2.2008) . . .

Quamash, a pit-cooked bulb similar in taste to a
sweet potato, was offered by the Nez Perce to a nearly
starved Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the men of
the Corps of Discovery in 1805 after a snowy September
crossing of the Bitterroots. It probably saved them,
and yet few of the present inhabitants of the same
country 200 years later know either the plants, the
story, the food, or the even incredible beauty--just
the color is in a singular, signature way, unique--
of this remarkable species.

On the road in the American Northwest.


for raven

The raucous sounds of birds burned
black with rage,
banished forever
to a cage
with fear for bars, victims of
their own inauspicious presence
on battlefields past.
Sensing what

was to come.
The smell of rotting

flesh. (Did they know who was to die?)
Ah, but this unbearable silence
filled with
thought’s ravenous flies
biting at the brain’s tender meat.

Such a bird
is no friend.

But who is lacking in light? Is no
rapprochement possible? Do we
not feel for
this creature
whose wings
must fly through
clouded with
death’s image?

See the clarity of their calm

Soaring quietly now from
their high place of safety, a day-


to our ancient dread of night.

from ON PATHS)

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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 2011 picture-poems.com
(created: VI.1.2008)