Friday, May 2, 2008

Three Passes

Aransas Pass

Aransas Pass* leads to a bay
On the Texas Gulf Coast. Every day,
In a salt-water file,
Ships will pass Mustang Isle
To the south; to the north, San José.

*Aransas Pass, a ship channel which leads from the Gulf of Mexico to Aransas Bay and provides access for all ocean-going ships to the port of Corpus Christi, lies between San José Island and Mustang Island, just offshore from the town of Aransas Pass, Texas. A free ferry connects this small town to the town of Port Aransas at the northern end of Mustang Island. Port Aransas advertises itself to tourists interested in salt-water fishing with the slogan, “Port Aransas, where they bite every day.”


Apache Pass, Texas

A pass is a way to get through:
At *Apache Pass, Texas, the view
Is historic—a stream's
Gravel crossing that gleams
With the dreams the old Spaniards once knew.

*In the years 1746–1749, three Spanish missions and a presidio were built near Apache Pass, a gravel bar crossing on the San Gabriel River, near the present small city of Georgetown, Texas. In 2004, the nearby farm road FM 908 was identified as part of the Upper El Camino Real, which is a National Historical Trail from Mexico to Louisiana.


Apache Pass, Ft. Bowie, Arizona

Named *Apache by Spaniards, this way
(Called a pass) through the mountains still may
Enchant travelers who go
Where its spring-waters flow,
At the crossroads of history, today.

*Apache Pass is located within Ft. Bowie, Arizona, where elevations range between 4,550 and 5,250 feet. The Spaniards had established missions there, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, because of the water available from a year-round spring. They named the place for the Apache people, within whose home in the Chiricahua Mountains it lay. In 1862 the Apache fought their only major battle against the U.S. Army at Apache Pass, being forced to withdraw in the face of the army's mountain howitzer. Ft. Bowie was built to protect this route for settlers moving west, and it is now a park, designated as a National Historic Site.


Ft. Bowie

When I went to Ft. Bowie, I saw
Living history that left me in awe:
A perennial spring
Where Apache would sing
Or make love or make war down the draw.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

An Intriguing Old Word: Cloke

Here's the tale of my cloking young cat--
How she clawed me and brought on a spat--
But the photo below
Is her housemate, although,
He, too, clokes at the drop of a hat.

Intent Kitty

First she cloked* me, left-pawed, for she thought
There was reason: Her yowl had not brought
Any catnip. Therefore,
By the open fridge door,
First she clawed--then she nipped—then we fought.

I am sure she'd not meant to provoke me--
With her head she could pleasingly stroke me.
Still, her quick feline mind
Told her not to be kind
But go straight for attention and cloke me.

Yet she soon sought forgiveness, so then
As she purred, I forgave her. And when
I had served her the cream
And the catnip, her dream
Had come true. So, she'll cloke me again.

Pet cats, like their presumed owners, learn by doing.

*One meaning of cloke, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is "to claw, scratch or clutch." The OED provides the following illustrative sentence, from about the year 1883: "The cat cloked me."

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