Montana has a long tradition of listening to and respecting — revering — its writers and the state’s literary tradition. In an unprecedented show of unity, more than forty of Montana’s best writers have gathered, in rapid response fashion, to write original essays and testimonials advocating for the protection of our public lands, and endorsing Democratic House of Representatives candidate Rob Quist’s position on this (literally) most common ground of issues. Please vote on May 25.

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Wondrous World

(Jewel Basin, Montana)

Lowell Jaeger

Many wonders I’ve beheld in this wondrous world
of canyons and chasms and summits of sculpted snow.
None so radiant, so indelible, as my daughter,
nine-years-old, perched on a granite ledge, dangling her legs,
awash in sunshine above a slope of scree slanting
into an alpine meadow of riotous and frantic blooms.

I’d left her there while I scouted our most favorable
path of descent.  And navigated to her side again
by the music of her song — a child’s song she’d learned
for the pageant at school.  Her bird-like voice in the breeze
amidst the incense of nectar.  Her smile and rejoicing
wave upon my return.  A dozen mountain goats,

curious, nosing closer, transfixed to witness
this ever-unfolding wondrous world.  Where I,
like the goats, paused in reverence.  And like the goats,
I inched forward toward her, while clouds above
continued to flow and blossoms widened
to the sky’s melodious allure.  And beneath us

ancient strata rose toward daylight through dark.

Lowell Jaeger is Humanities Division Chair at Flathead Valley Community College and author of seven collections of poems.