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boots by Rick Mobbs; poem by Art Predator

July 21, 2008

painting by Rick Mobbs

there were shoes on this trail
first one tennis shoe
a running shoe actually
a left left behind
along the cottonwood lakes trail above 10000′
a lonely place for a left shoe
someone placed it neatly on a rock
as if its owner might jog back for it

too big for me
i keep walking

next a flip flop
a large flip flop
a giant flip flop
so big that its leaving of
its owner had to be noticed
on a rock on the right side of the trail
it sits
an arrow it

points downhill
waits

a river rests still where it landed
who said that? why?

one time hiking north hungry
post bear dinner taking
we found
three small yellow crook necked squash
apologizing to the deer
we cooked them in our soup
grateful to whoever it was
who grew them

who left them along the creek
in the high sierra

another flip flop found
this one small:
why bring a flip flop for a child?
after hiking, this small foot should wear
more, something warm, something to protect toes from
stubbing, feet from mosquitoes

years ago we found a tiny leather sandle
on the Pacific Crest Trail
we were sure it belonged to Jesus
we picked it up and attached it to a pack
carried it across Oregon
carried it across Washington
figured one day we’d catch up with the baby Jesus
return his sandle to Mary

instead we found Canada
and one day lost the shoe

a river shoe my size is lost
out on the trail to North Dome in Yosemite
did someone find it–
gracefully place it on a rock or log
leave it there for me to never find
did someone claim it like i did this green shirt
i have just taken from the line
folded and placed with my clothes
camp kern it says 1996
bald eagle’s yellow talons clasp a tree branch
a sequia behind it rising up against sierra flanks

its mouth open–
hello hello hello

For other poems with paintings check out readwritepoem. For other poems, take a ride on the poetry train. For more stories about hiking in the west, check out other posts in this series (for example, Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 which are previous, and Days 8, 9 and 10 still to come!)

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2008 8:06 am

    Fascinating story! Just this morning I drove past a park and spied a pair of lonely shoes on a boundary rail.

  2. July 21, 2008 10:01 am

    I enjoyed this. Your imagination ranged far and wide from the initial image. As it should be.

    By the way, your link isn’t working on the prompt site.

  3. July 21, 2008 11:53 am

    Great structure of images here. This gets at that mixed sense of isolation and the presence of others one has on a hiking trail. I love your voice here too.

  4. July 21, 2008 2:34 pm

    The way that shoes shape themselves to the wearer leaves them such intimate reminders of humanity and personality when found upon the trail. Who came this way? Why? When? For what purpose and what became of them? Thank you for the story and for doing something with this neglected painting.

  5. July 21, 2008 10:08 pm

    isn’t it funny, Brad, how when someone points something out, we start seeing it everywhere–like shoes?

    thanks, Anthony, for letting me know about my link trouble–I went back and added another comment to fix it i hope.

    yes, nathan, so often we have this false sense of being alone yet we are surrounded by the traffic of others in the form of footrpints, paths, shoes, squash, you name it…

    thanks, rick–i love this painting so much–i hate to think of it as neglected! maybe i should acquire it somehow! btw, how’s that baby?? she learning to cry yet?

  6. July 21, 2008 11:39 pm

    That is a cool walking poem. Shoes reflecting souls. Great rhythm and a great idea.

  7. July 22, 2008 3:08 am

    I love this:

    ‘a left left behind’

    But this really got me:

    ‘years ago we found a tiny leather sandle
    on the Pacific Crest Trail
    we were sure it belonged to Jesus
    we picked it up and attached it to a pack
    carried it across Oregon
    carried it across Washington
    figured one day we’d catch up with the baby Jesus
    return his sandle to Mary

    instead we found Canada
    and one day lost the shoe’

    LOVE that.

  8. July 22, 2008 7:06 pm

    You make vivid the musings we have about those lost items, also make them more interesting because they were found in places where not so many people go. Nice!

  9. July 24, 2008 4:17 am

    A.P. baby is doing great! we all are. could use a little more sleep but that’s a small price to pay for this joy and amazement.

    I’ll put your name on the painting. EZ payment plan. We’ll talk when things slow down. Remind me if necessary please.

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