Behind the Mask

Now there are left these broken sockets bare

Lost in the crumbling of the ruined clays.

As shattered bone, a broken claw or two,

Speak faintly of the leopard-footed grace

That walked these hills at evening, so must you

At some far hour, beloved, in my face

Seek for lost things and strive to know what ran

Furious and wild behind the mask you scan.

-Loren Eiseley excerpt from “Deep in the Red Buttes,” published in All the Night Wings (Times Books)

Image Credit: Bureau of Land Management, Flickr. Caption: “At 7,050 feet, Grayback Mountain is the tallest peak in the Josephine County. The spectacular Grayback Mountain Trail is open to hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. The trail provides a low elevation access point to thousands of miles of trail, including the Forest Service Boundary Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as access to the Oregon Caves and the Red Buttes Wilderness.”

Book cover: All the Night Wings, poems by Loren Eiseley

Originally published at Loren Eiseley Ideas.