Grand Canyon and Other Selected Poems by Amil Quayle
Born in Henry’s Fork, Idaho in 1938, Amil Quayle grew up along the Snake River, working on farms and the ranches in Idaho. Amil started with playing in and rowing on the Snake River in his backyard, later becoming a boatman in the Grand Canyon. Amil went on to earn his PhD in English, teaching English at Utah State University and the University of Idaho, but his heart was and still is always on the river. This book of poetry and short stories highlights his appreciation of not only the Grand Canyon, but also his interesting life in the rugged outdoors and growing up in the great open spaces of the west in a bygone era. Below is one of his Grand Canyon poems.
I speak now of that Grand Canyon
which lies within each of us. There
are pre-Cambrian rocks at the center,
the core, and talus from yesterday’s fall;
marble and granite grown hard from the
pressure and heat of heartbreak and
passion; crumbling sandstone, layer on
layer of sediment, sentiment piled on
over a lifetime’s experience. The sun
bursts on us each morning then dies
and we are in darkness, but moon shadows
tease our walls. We listen to the pulsating
rhythm of time’s river lapping at our
shores. The sandy places slide, diffuse,
move closer to the sea. A billion years
of erosion is magnified, demagnified into
sixty or seventy years as we measure time.
Perhaps in a million years your shinbone
will be a fossil in another Grand Canyon,
cold in a bed of rock next to mine.
By Amil Quale
This poem and many more can be found in this touching little book.