A Visit To The Lawrence Ranch - Poem by Bill Galvin
The allure of those Taos Mountains
Brought me to drive part of the Enchanted Circle;
Instead of a complete loop around Wheeler Peak,
I stopped at the D. H. Lawrence Ranch.
The property is at the end of a 5 mile dirt road;
Climbing ever higher up Lobo Mtn. to 8500 feet.
As high is can be livable, the cabins sit peacefully
Against walls of the peak above,
With tall ponderosa pine providing the shade.
Caretakers act as guides and narrate the history
Of the property and Lawrence’s time there.
I am allowed into the buildings to discover
The sparse, austere, and simple lifestyle of the artist
And his invited artist guests.
Thoreau of 75 years earlier would be proud.
Lawrence was there in the early 20s
And wrote two of his novels there.
One of his long term guests was an English painter,
Dorothy Brett, who stayed in a separate, smaller cabin.
The owner of the property, an arts patron from New York,
Mabel Dodge Luhan, lived 18 miles away in Taos.
Then known as Kiowa Ranch, the old trails to the cabins
Had been used by Kiowa to raid the Taos Pueblos.
Well, boys will be boys, and girls, girls;
So it goes that the 3 women, including wife, Frieda,
All competed for his attention.
Literally, (no pun intended) miles from nowhere.
Knowing the sensuousness of his writing,
There is no doubt he drew upon his personal life.
When Lawrence dies young in Italy at 44,
His ashes are brought to the ranch by Frieda.
She has a memorial chapel built to house his urn;
But the other two women want to scatter his ashes.
So Frieda dumps them into a wheelbarrow
Of wet cement, which is then used to make the altar.
“Now let’s see them steal this! ”, she exclaimed.
Frieda bought the property from Mabel,
And she donated it to the University of New Mexico.
Aldous Huxley visited; and Georgia O’Keefe painted here.
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