Devils Park Shelter
The path here is edged crimson
with the leaves of huckleberry,
and down by the creek the willow
is yellow. A cloud spreads across the sun
after weeks of perfect weather,
a suggestion of winter sure to come.
Not that this shelter would be much help
against sleet and snow—too many shakes
on the roof are gone or have shifted
marvelously askew. Still,
it is a thing of fallen beauty, poised
on the edge of a meadow that rises on and on
amid shapely stands of steepled fir,
far-flung churches of the mind.
And I’m glad the shelter is still here,
for some like it have been burned down
in compliance with the Wilderness Act,
fifty years old this month and counting.
The White Pass Shelter by Glacier Peak,
for example, visited by Gary Snyder
and Alan Ginsberg, was done to ashes
by a regretful trail crew
who sent them their apologies.
In the hour before Ginsberg died,
he set about building the shelter of a poem.
I guess I can understand that.