“Sequel on the Night Trail”

Returning to a scene for longing eyes,
our inspiration at once resumed.
A midsummer’s walk under majestic night skies,
the monster of years now in full bloom.

With river calm and weather fair,
starlight presiding over water’s gleam,
we skipped along the trail with nary a care
on a night hike fitting for a dream.

Rapidly sensing we were not alone,
like the Hobbits approaching Mordor’s gate.
The path established by creatures unknown:
take heart, traveler, and pursue your fate.

Whether spurred by Gollum, ever hot on the trail
or nature’s more wistful call,
only rhythm can guide our petrified sails
as sight recedes quickly before nightfall.

First, we heard a hissing in the weeds,
anonymous critters never showing face.
Cicadas were bellowing their song in the trees,
a rare treat indeed for the taste.

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River otters surrounding their mesmerized guests,
orbiting the realm at warp speed.
Exploring every habitat — even the nest —
and our lonely imaginations to feed.

Though the avian interest would surely resist,
were any competitor to challenge their reign.
While geese and ducks slept underneath the mist,
the nobles gathered to survey their domain.

Read “On the Trail.”

Mighty eagles assembled a council of flight,
calling all constituents of mountain and pine.
City hawks made quorum under waxing moonlight
as the night owl kept eyes on the time.

Order, efficiency, and transparency were found
before the council dispensed of its lofty chores.
Securing the airways and preserving the grounds
that the waters may flow ever more.

This river kingdom on magnificent display,
if only we have the patience to hear.
South Platte, once more, our hallowed pathway:
through the darkness and despite our fears.

For challenging days surely lie ahead,
as the 5G tower keeps watch above.
With endless rancor and turmoil to tread
this will be no habitat for the doves.

Yet as the Hobbits evaded that vaunted gaze —
Sauron’s eye ever fixated on the prize —
perhaps we can decipher this heartless maze,
opening green pastures and clear blue skies.

A passerby from time to time,
goodly neighbors of transient home.
Under a cover of darkness to avoid the blue line
and society’s judgment tone.

Each side now unfairly maligned
upon a glimpse at the reflecting pool.
Thoughtless exceptions to fill the headlines,
destroying reputations and obscuring the rules.

Viral attacks continue upon innocent hosts,
tragedy befalling a time of militant strain.
Then a contest to spoil our primary hopes
that a nation may unite again.

Such lamentations will sway our gullible minds
to the opportunist’s manipulative call,
as we fight both bias and the limitations of time
through a gauntlet imposed upon all.

In this battle only compassion prevails,
as every pretender takes an ill-fated turn.
One by one they all succumb to the trail,
usurpers deceived by Sauron’s burn.

Powered along by such fearsome lore
until the trail crossed under the tracks,
for a potent reminder in the railway’s metaphor
that civilization, like nature, calls us back.

Only solace in this walk, or that of any other
shows her grace more often than the toll.
This, our most wise and nurturing Earth-mother,
ever resilient, and always in control.

Thus, a night theme concludes our saga year,
fitting for darkness and false connotations to play
upon our minds before we stand and conquer the fear:
as yin and yang become one, and together guide our way. 

Michael Sage teaches political science at Community College of Denver.