A Visit to Basque Monument at Evans Creek
I. Basque Monument Evans Creek Reno Nevada
One early morning wandered out to see
a rising sun upon a monument
gone green with oxidations installment
of man protecting sheep from what could be.
The text on English side of plaque opened
here Basque sheepherder sculpted by the wind
a solitary man who would not bend
a laborer who kept his flocks well fed.
Upon these vast hills he once journeyed forth
from Pyrenees onto this sparse wooded land
his only goal to raise a healthy flock.
His eyes in clouds his feet upon the Earth
this culture part of what makes our world grand
a history carved out of solid rock.
II. Family Heritage
When young raised in a small Nevada town
my father helped the Basque to move their sheep
from pasture to a barn with sheers in Jeep
to collect wool and leave nothing but down.
In sheepherders basement sat salon chair
where I would sit while my father helped
sometimes the silence broken when sheep yelped
while both of us would wait to trim our hair.
Back when our Basque neighbors would help us thrive
by bartering our skills as neighbors do
at least back then when we lived off the land.
Through marriage now the Basque is kept alive
my children grow as strong as this statue
culture part of what makes our world grand.
III. This Modern Shrine
So still I sit next to this modern shrine
with poem etched in Basque upon the front
this art an instrument that’s firm and blunt
the bravery of immigrants in time.
To move my fingers over heritage
and feel the ridges caused by engraving
an alphabet whose foreign lettering
will lead my hike through canyon and on ridge.
Our history found in these used hiking boots
my eyes in clouds my feet upon the Earth
the only goal to raise a healthy flock.
To hike the Pyrenees and find my roots
upon the hills I’ll search and find my worth
maybe to carve a history out of rock.
IV. Grandpa At Thanksgiving
Our children’s great grandfather would join us
for supper, we would sit around table
in silence due to language, unable
to understand he never made a fuss.
He would ask for some wine and pet our dog
and laugh at humor no one understood
or share his stories while he’d carve soft wood
we couldn’t understand a word through fog.
His place still sorely missed when he passed on
this one immigrant Basque man from Empire,
a mining town out in the desert sun.
A solitary man who is not gone
for generations he will not expire
his carved history weighing metric ton.
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