One Last Try
By g.l. bass
(The ghostbear still lives)
for Jeanie
6/86 ed. 5/05


White gravel roads
Twist and wind,
Like veins strung across
The palm
Of a lifetime,
Cut back through hills,
Race down across
Spring fed streams,
Over cold rivers,
These lifelines
Sew seams,
Hand made,
Of lives
Built here,
And tales of those
Now gone,
Of dreams survived,
And dreams past on.
They thread together
Those secrets,
Those wills,
Carved from the rock
Of these Texas
Bluffs and hills.

You and I
Spend the time
Of our lives,
Following these trails,
In search of secrets,
Where others have risked
Their every wish,
Their every prayer,
Where others have ventured
Their lifetimes
In hopes
Their purpose,
Their dreams,
Were meant
To be discovered
Where rough, rock hard land’s
Claimed its toll
In river floods,
Well intended
Lover’s plans.

The struggles
Remain scattered
Amongst these bluffs,
Along these rivers,
Aside these roads.
Written in worn,
Gray, aged lines,
And the weather-beaten faces
Of deserted places,
Just left behind.
The traces?
Abandoned homes,
Broken down fences
Of stone,
Windmills left,
Standing and alone.
Rusted wagons,
Collapsed barns-
Forgotten and abandoned,
Refuse of the storm.
These lifelines
Left behind,
These secrets of time,
Tell us of dreams
Run dry,
When summer heat
Turned dreams
To stone and bone
Beneath the sun
Of July.
These lifelines,
These struggles
And thirsts,
Tell us of rivers,
Not to be trusted,
Of twisted fences,
Dams broken,
And Lives torn apart,
Wasted and “busted.”

Cloudburst of an August storm,
The Medina, the Frio, The savage
These rivers,
Become takers,
When storms become
And lay waste to homesteads and farms,
When the rage
Of fifty foot walls of flooded fury
Roar down through bluffs
And over cliffs,
When giant cypress
Are ripped
Up by root and limb,
All is washed away,
Little is saved,
Little is left unharmed.

Signs of these Texas times
Now remain,
In abandoned faces,
Hidden places,
Who have reached
The end of their lifetime,
Who now are forgotten
And left behind.
These are those
Who show no more pain.
They wait now,
Only for time,
Sun and yet more rain.

Room to room
Our escapades
Through these
Rough carpentered
Floors and walls,
We try to tie
The signs
Of who and why,
Of lives and times,
We venture to find,
In these scrawls
Of mysterious lines,
The tales of those
Who were strong,
Of those who were wrong,
OF those who came
Searching dreams,
Those who won
Against the river and the sun,
Those who lost their dreams,
And just moved on.
The rivers sing
Forever their song,
Legends of warriors,
Soldiers and
It echoes down these
Limestone canyon walls,
It roars across this land.
In these abandoned lines,
We gather and understand-
This Texas
Is meant
Only for those
Strong at heart,
Who carry courage
In their hands.

You and I,
The secrets held
In the palms
Of this land:
Are all these

Aged lost lines,
But pages of
Abandoned lives
And abandoned times?
Are these stories,
Of lovers,
Of dreamers,
Whose hopes
Were burnt dry?
Of gamblers,
Of discoverers
Who chose the toughest land
For their “One last try?”

On a hot,
Desert, dust-bowl day,
Did a family pack-up
Their old pick-up,
And leave this windblown
Farm behind?
The last entry of
A woman’s diary-
“After cholera,
Had taken our son,
We couldn’t change
Our mind….”
After the river
Had climbed the bluff,
Run rampant,
Killed cattle, sheep,
And man,
Did his family
Give up,
Move on,
And leave behind
What the river would
Only allow to stand?
Was this stone marked grave
How they forsake the land?

You and I gather what we can,
What we learn,
What we feel,
What we understand,
From the ghosts of these places,
From the abandoned haunts
Left like markers on the land.
We ask ourselves,
More than each other,
Are there lessons here,
Written in these lifelines?
Are there lessons in
The struggles across this land,
For us to remember,
When our journey’s
By drought and flooded times,
Is this place beyond
The strength and heart
Of a woman and a man?

This Texas-
This land-
Men struggle
Their fortunes,
Lovers gamble
Their lives,
Hard rock destinies
Are won
By tools gripped
With heart and hand.
These vows
We can understand.
This Texas-
This land-
Made more of
Muscle and bone
Than water and stone,
This is where we chose
To be reborn.
We are settlers
Who have found a home.
Along these roads,
Among these hills,
Our lifelines have
Struck a vein,
This is where
We choose to begin again.
We venture our dreams,
We venture our lives,
In this rugged land-
You and I
Have bet
“Our One Last Try.”





Website Copyright Alannah K Ashlie 2005