Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Big Sky Country"

This poem is from the October 18, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by [personal profile] siliconshaman and sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.


"Big Sky Country"


Much of Montana
lies flat under waving grass,
part of the Great Plains, before
rising up to the Rocky Mountains.

You can follow the geologic road signs
from the Precambrian belt rocks to
the Lewis overthrust fault and
up into the mountains.

Glacial furrows and lakes
mark the furthest reaches
of the last Ice Age.

It's easy to be bored by
the broad expanse of prairie
or distracted by the drama
of the geologic features.

Humans rarely look up.

Montana is big sky country,
and during the day, you can see
for miles and miles and miles.

Overhead, the sky is
a wide blue bowl rising
overhead, sixty miles
of air going straight up
and pressing down
with a weight of over
fourteen pounds
per square inch.

At night, though, you
can't feel the pressure
because the bright blue
bleeds into velvet black
bedazzled with stars,
and what was once big

becomes infinite.

* * *

Notes:

Montana's nicknames include "Big Sky Country" and "Land of Shining Mountains."

Over half the state is actually quite flat, part of the Great Plains. The beauty of the plains is often captured in nature photos.

Calculating the range of the visible horizon is actually quite complex, but under excellent conditions a typical distance is about three miles.

The Earth's atmosphere is roughly sixty miles deep and it's customarily divided into layers. Sea level air pressure is 14.69 pounds, and flat lands are often over 14 pounds, although the mountainous parts of Montana would be much lower because air pressure falls as altitude rises.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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