Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reddington Pass


"REDDINGTON PASS"
©2009 Bob Atkinson.......

Reddington Pass
the only gate
'tween the Rincons
and Catalina heights
..........
Reddington Pass
fate awaits
those who gave chase,
those who dared to challenge
ghosts with painted faces
............
.............
Gomez sent two
to the northern waters
San Xavier's protectors
the sons of daughters
.............
that two might be protective
against Apache insurrection
was laughable in extreme
and a bit reprehensible
...........
when the warriors did appear
what could they do
what would they accomplish
they weren't really fools
..............
there they stood by
living like kings
favored by priests
for protecting
God's plundered fodder
fruits of native labor
young women there too
a life of luxury
nothing much to do
...............
.
then came the dreaded raiders
for stock and other wealth
Apache warriors seizing things
as they had always done
..............
two soldiers watched the raid
in the shade out of the sun
tunics unbuttoned
never touched a gun
...........
the warriors smiled
the warriors waved
the warriors whooped and hollered
like coyotes they bayed
as the plied their native trade
............
horses, mules and cattle
had they collared
............
the priests watched too
they saw the lazy men
who didn't give a hoot
about the cattle being lost
or the maidens carried off
to be sold as slaves in Taos
...............
fate awaits
those who gave chase
those who dared to challenge
ghosts with painted faces
.............
.
the priest, he didn’t understand
it was but a game
the stock taken at this time
could be replaced
with no harm done
..............
animals would breed again
the bulls
that the natives took
weren’t needed
to breed the stock

the largest one was still there
not scared or bothered
..............
they wanted no harm to come
to those 
who fed their families some
but if a shot rang out 
from rifles long
and smoke rose above the lawn
there would be revenge to pay
if friends and family died that way
............

if they fought back
and killed a warrior
family would morn
and be outspoken
...........
“revenge this day”
would be the call
for relatives killed
someone must fall
............
the soldiers knew all of this
from years of life in frontier service
.......
how it worked
with no way to fix it
they smiled , they waved 
and said goodbye
to those with headbands
as they went by
...................
in lieu of slaughter
they did refrain
from action bold
which would cause pain
..........
.
Part 2
.........
the Chief
he didn't want to go
the men were with him
when he said “no”
he didn't want
to lose his life
fighting what he thought
was not his fight
.............
.
the priest livid in his response
his wealth was plundered
his flock attacked
his status within his realm reduced
he wouldn't let them off the hook
.......
.
the soldiers too
not ready to respond
with violence toward men of arms
no...they weren't of a mind
to recapture stock of any kind
..........
.
when men of good intentions
believe they are in the right
sensible and kind thoughts
don't go near them at night

their force of mind
their belief in power
upsets the natural order
and forces them to see themselves
beyond reality's borders
...........
.
a runner was sent
to the Presidio by the water
for instructions as what to do
who goes where
and what crew to use
.............
............
Gomez wrote a letter that
seemed to confirm what soldiers thought
further action would be quite fruitless
against the guile of Apache warriors
..........
.
the note came back
was given to
the ranking soldier of the two
by way of gold threads on his chest
stripes large on his jacket’s arms
hat tallest upon his head
when donned
..........
 
the man looked at the note
it seemed to him
quite pretty in its lines and twirls
but its meaning he couldn't find
as he didn't read, not one line
............
the priest was quick to grab the note
to read its lines
as if to quote
the Captain’s orders for action fast
as if an army were here at last
..........
at first the priest in disappointment
scanned the note for firm orders
when it didn’t give the go
he pondered how to move these souls
..........
looking up into the eyes
of those to be wasted by his brutal lies
he said as a matter of fact
what in his heart he wanted
not what the Captain asked
............
“two soldiers were to organize
a force of Pima’s led by the wise
Chief of their people
a fast enterprise”
.............
............
down the channel of the Santa Cruz
the party followed the cattle marks
to an eastern creek bed known
between the peaks they aimed
this is the way Apaches would go
........
the Pima Chief led the lot
with soldiers in the rear
for they had not
the will to start a battle hard
of which they knew
could not be won
..........
at the pass, among the rocks
by the water falling hard
in pools and ponds
with loud sounds
the Chief did walk
with wary eye
along the trail
left by Apache guides
............
all around him he didn’t see
Apaches hiding behind the trees
there beneath him on the ground
warriors still
who could not be found
...........
when they moved it was swift
his life was given in an instant
he fell like the water going down
making red the water pond
...........
below the red water flowed
alongside the Pima warriors’ toes
when the soldiers saw it too
their hearts ran fast
and their boots did too
............
.
but leather boots
cannot outrun
the lead bullet of a gun
or the arrow straight and true
that came from bows
with strings of sinew
..........
yet, that was the fate of Pima men
some, not all, as mercy came
when the soldiers stopped and stared
at their captors with long black hair
they knew that death would not come quick
or painless in a moment’s blink
............
it would be long, it would be hard
they wished the priest had been smart
when two sides played this game of fun
it was always a game the Apaches won

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