Captain Lewis at the Great Falls

Poem by Aaron Poochigian

I was the first to spot that glory flowing
From cliff to basin, coupling cloud and land—
A godsend for my journal, but rough going.
 
I was the first to note in a clear hand
Its height and spate, certain my words would claim
What savages had only scratched in sand.
 
I was the first to fix a Christian name
On the great hindrance we had hit upon—
It vexed us like a heathen all the same.
 
The damned thing beaten, I sat up till dawn
Ignoring what was missing, since I knew
That part of me had quit the corps and gone
 
To serve there, hushed and worshipping the
No matter what we went on to subdue.

 

American Arts Quarterly, Winter 2010, Volume 27, Number 1