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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Way Through


.

File:Cherokee Pass2.jpg

Camp 59: Cherokee Pass, Rocky Mountains: Daniel A. Jenks, June 1859
(Library of Congress; restoration by Lise Broer)


In a heavily

forested pass
beneath snow

covered peaks
on the way
north

toward the Oregon
and California
trail

-- Our wagons
had to be
chained

to keep them
in their
places

the hillside
was so
steep --

Jenks made camp.



http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/at0048a_6_04809r.jpg

Camp 23: Arkansas River River, on the Santa Fe trail: Daniel A. Jenks, April 1859 (Library of Congress)

File:Humboldt River Papa 2.jpg

Camp 100: Humboldt River, on the California trail: Daniel A. Jenks, July 1859 (Library of Congress)

9 comments:

billymills said...

Terrific drawings, with something of Japan about them, and lovely poem as ever, Tom.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

"Jenks made camp" says it all -- Camp 59 at Cherokee Pass, before that Camp 23 on the Arkansas River, then Camp 100 up there on the Humboldt River. What a guy he was, you are . . . .



9.28

red-orange glow of sky above still black
ridge, red-tailed hawk calling on branch
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

“aspect” of painting on view,
continued to be part of

figure and ground, shape and
field, restrict pattern

silver of low sun reflected in channel,
moon in bright blue sky across from it

aditya said...

Wonderful poem Tom.

billymills is absolutely spot on when he alludes to the Japan in these paintings especially, Camp 59: Cherokee Pass, Rocky Mountains.

There is something so much enigmatic about a pass in the mountains. There is this overwhelmingly unadulterated sense of relief once you reach.

Everything up there is ... and is.

You reminded me of Tanglang La and the small time we'd spent up there.

Upon fiddling around on the web for Mr. Daniel A. Jenks, I did hear you hammer the nail on its head with the last line.

Wonderful. Thank you for these two posts Tom.

curtisroberts said...

I agree that this was a special find (and with Aditya about hitting the nail on the head). Did you uncover Jenks in your Cape Horn research? When I read that line of his (regarding conditions at Camp 14), "more snowing and blowing", and looked again at these pictures, I really felt connected with the man.

TC said...

Jenks set out twice from Pawtucket, in '49 (as a young man of 22) and then again in '59. On that second trip he ended up in Yreka... gold country, but none of it there for Jenks.

He died at 42 in 1869.

In his party there were a number of middle class couples and families from New England. They gathered at St Louis and went into the wagons beyond the railhead.

The tenor of the party seems brave throughout. Dangers from Indians were often present. But there were campfire scenes of singing and storytelling, etc. Jenks has a good deal to say about the role of the women in the party, and you can see their presence in the sketch from Camp 100.

By the way, there's a courting scene going on in the wagon just beyond the right border of the picture; click on the image and you will see it.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Jenks found the way through, various ways on multiple journeys, way back then, way out there . . .


9.29

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, motion of green leaves on branch
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

wind that in landscape “look,”
composition “everything”

sense though in various ways,
what has been, where it

cloudless blue sky reflected in channel,
waning whiteness of moon across from it

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

And yes, how to look now again at that "forested pass/ beneath snow// covered peaks/ on the way// north" --

9.30

light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, black shapes of leaves on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

spatial without its being it,
so many dimensions that

between green and white look,
out of what, to see how

grey-white fog against invisible point,
whiteness of gull on tip of GROIN sign

Elmo St. Rose said...

"and seldom is heard a discouraging
word...and the skies are not
cloudy all day"

"the west is the best" blues
guitarist who od'd

Did the Donner party really say
Yum....I doubt it.

Wouldn't it be great to get in
a wagon and go to a new land?

Chakra up and Chakra down
Cabbala in and Cabbala out
you better not pout
Santa Claus is not in town

the only new land
is in the mind's hand
and the poet,the poet
can see the whole world
in a grain of sand
so they say

TC said...

As Daniel Jenks would probably have testified, without a bit of help from the company there'd certainly be no "Seeing the way through...".