“Eighteen Forty-Seven,” Ensign, July 1997, 42
A strong-winged eagle from far wind-worn cliffs
Alights upon a white-lined buffalo-skull
With these carved words like faded hieroglyphs
Above the cracked eye-sockets, meaningful:
“Camped here July the second, ‘forty-seven.
We made eight miles today.” The eagle unfurls
Its far-flown wings and skims and soars toward heaven
In easy sweep, where the thin-frothed cirrus curls.
The eagle labors aloft between the clouds
Which plunge their misty walls to the horizon;
Like bleached and billowed sails the sea-wind crowds.
And on the desert swift their shadows run.
But those slow wagon-wheels, tight-choked with clay,
Groaned beneath their loads—eight miles that day.4