Gone West - Poem by gershon hepner
Abandoned gas pumps, and saloons
where cowboys used to go to drink,
endless highways, country tunes
as earthy as the kitchen sink,
mountains rising to the sky,
chaparral where oaks survive
although it hardly ever rains.
See them dry-eyed while you drive
past churches where no people pray
and mines where no men dig or toil,
and drive-ins where no movies play,
and rigs that idle without oil,
and wonder where the Indians are
who thought themselves to be a guest
upon this land. Don't leave your car,
for, like the cowboys, they've gone west.
Elizabeth Heilman Brooke writes about the western painter Don Stinson in The New York Times, January 26,2000 ('Home on the Range, With Drive-Ins and Gas Stations') . Don Stinson lives in Evergreen Colorado, where he paints 'culture in repose, ' by which he means 'portraits that record human passage and its effects across geography and time'. His paintings are as romantic as those of Bierstadt, Church, Homer and Moran but he introduces human additions to the land: 'abandoned gas stations, eerily silent drive-in movie theaters, roads that seem to go on forever and roads that actually end.' He shows how 'we as humans have become almost a geologic force on the land'.
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