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Poetry Friday: Thybony Reads 'Perhaps in a Crown Royal Bag'

Scott Thybony

Anyone familiar with Scott Thybony’s Canyon Commentaries knows the Colorado Plateau is the landscape of his soul. That’s probably why the poem “Perhaps in a Crown Royal Bag” by Arizona writer Amy Hale Auker speaks to him loudly. Scott recites it for us on this Poetry Friday.

"Perhaps in a Crown Royal Bag," by Amy Hale Auker

Sometimes I forget where pieces of my life are stashed.

I know that my rope and heavy gloves are tied onto my saddle

But I’m afraid I’ve forgotten how to use either.

By the end of September I will have forgotten every poem I know

But regain the muscle memory needed to rope big heavy calves.

Cool desert nights keep my wool stocking hat from getting lost in the layers of the bedroll.

And my drive to put the words on the page before I’m too old keeps my journal and pen close at hand.

But what of the potato salad recipes? And the fairytales? And the lullaby?

What of the formula for playing nice?

I’ll stay organized and keep my mess kit and first aid bag in pieces of wild with my pack

In the corner of my office through the winter.

Or so I vow while the waterfall freezes in sheets of white ribbon

And I am miles from that place.

I always vow to remember the sentences and the threads of stories as I sweep the barn

And then come into the house with my hair smelling of, well, barn.

But they disappear with the domestication of keyboard and heavy lidded eyes.

So I write of baby swallows learning to fly and the old cat who sits close to me but I have never touched.

My hands know home row and my heart knows the creak of that windmill at camp.

I’ve refused to name the old grandma cow with the wide horns.

But I am afraid I will forget scouting a rapid.

Or how my daughter’s hand looked when she was an infant.

Or the way I fell in love with that collection of songs once.

I keep putting pieces as a reminder in a bag

But I refuse to tie it shut.

Gillian Ferris was the News Director and Managing Editor for KNAU.
Scott Thybony has traveled throughout North America on assignments for major magazines, including Smithsonian, Outside, and Men’s Journal. An article for National Geographic magazine was translated into a dozen languages, and his book, Canyon Country, sold hundreds of thousands of copies. He once herded sheep for a Navajo family, having a hogan to call home and all the frybread he could eat. His commentaries are heard regularly on Arizona Public Radio.
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