Copy-Change A City: Rancho Capistrano

Mexican Land grant,
      Ancient Indian settlement, rural, remote
      Home to ranchers, gardeners and retirees.
      Rabbits, squirrels, raccoons.
     Community of Workers
They tell me you are wild and I believe them, for I
     have seen your bobcats and coyotes walking the roads;
     your rattlesnakes golden brown gliding in the grass.
And they tell me you are strong and I say: Yes, with
     the strength of ancient oaks rooted deep in the dry earth
     and mesquite bent by the wind.
And they tell me you are eccentric and my reply is: I have seen
     the residents fight like cats against conformity.  I have seen
     teepees and a Statue of Liberty.
And having lived on a dirt road, recently paved, I say
     keep your suburbs and neatly manicured lawns.
Come and show me another place with desert heat, coastal fog and mountain frost
     that scrapes out beauty and fights against boundaries.
Joining forces to clear the brush and fight the
     wildfires; here are people braced together
     against the Santa Anas blowing fierce in the fall.
Scrappy as the sage clinging to the hills, thirsty
     as the dry arroyos waiting for rain.
          Sunburned
          Calloused
          Sweaty
          Building, clearing, mending.
Under the sapphire sky, dirt in his jeans, working with
     horses,
Under the blazing sun working as a rancher
     works,
Working even as wild oat grass reclaims
     the empty lots,
Sweating and working that under his shirt is the heart,
     and under his hat the determination  of the people,
                    Working!
Working the cottonwood studded land, carving a home
     for ranchers, gardeners and retirees
     in the rural, remote ancient Indian settlement.

This poem was written as a copy-change from a prompt by Margo at Wordgathering.  The original poem is Chicago by Carl Sandburg.

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5 thoughts on “Copy-Change A City: Rancho Capistrano

  1. very powerful, one of your best poems yet. it really describes where we live, how we live, who we are, and the community around us. excellent job.

  2. Yes! You should be very pleased with how this turned out. I love the lines 'Come and show me another place with desert heat, coastal fog and mountain frost that scrapes out beauty and fights against boundaries'.Well done.

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