Blue Valley Island Home


This is the 24th poem in Valley of Blue Hope: Poems Before and After Diagnosis of Cancer.


In this poem, I realize that you’ve got to love the place where you will die and pass from this earth. I acknowledge a sense of rootlessness–that I, like my immigrant grandparents and even my second-generation parents, will not return to the place of my birth. The poems express my love as a sojourner for the Montana mountains, valleys and streams where I live my life, even after being diagnosed with a blood disorder, in gratitude and fullness.



Blue Valley Island Home


I live in this valley like an old islander.

The blue hills are my ocean horizon.

I see in clouds roiling island gods, Lono

in the short cloud, Lono in the long cloud,

Kamapuaa the pig god, Hauwahine

the mo’o lizard goddess of the Kawainui.

In daylight, Lake Helena becomes the big waters

of the royal fishpond I once rafted and the mo’o

protected. At night, driving west along the lake,

the lights of Helena reflect the lights of Honolulu

seen from a landing airliner. I must do this,

paganize my Montana landscape before I die.

Here I will be buried, or scattered, where

waters do not lap the shore, but stream

down blue mountainsides, here in my

blue valley home.