Cover to Cover with Jack Foley

Cover to Cover with Jack Foley – July 15, 2015

Jack’s guest is Hawaii-based poet Melinda Gohn. Immensely active, Melinda Gohn is founder of the Maui-based International Peace Poem Project (1996-present) and coordinates with teachers and students statewide in recognizing young writers in the public schools through sponsoring the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Poetry Contest (1999-present). She writes, “I’m committed to education and poetry and promoting peace in Hawaii…As the founder of the Maui-based International Peace Poem Project, I’ve created the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Poetry Contest, involving hundreds of students statewide. This year, more than 300 students received certificates from respective island mayors recognizing their peace poetry. My own poetry has been published in small literary anthologies here in Hawaii and in Berkeley, California.” She coordinates the Maui Live Poets Society (1994-present), is publisher of the Maui Live Poetry Anthologies and coordinator of Akaku Maui Public Television Shows featuring Maui Live Poets. On September 18, 2000, she was an invited speaker and participant at the United Nations in New York to observe Millennium Peace Day: she recited poetry before a panel including UN President Harry Holkieri and dignitaries of the UN General Assembly. The invitation was in recognition of her helping to promote nonviolence and of the International Peace Poem Project, which continues.

This is her poem, “Ghost Ranch”:

 

Bordering our desert Ranch

was a place picked clean

by winds and coyotes

White bones lived there

sun bleached

sticking up in the sand

almost breathing with a life of their own

 

Every time a horse or a cow

would die

my Bampa would hook up

ropes from the

corpse to the tractor

and haul the carcass

out to the bone yard

A dust cloud following

the lonely jogging mass.

 

We would run along side

Our bare feet kicking up

Small dust clouds too – racing to see if the vultures

would come.

We never saw them.

We did see the small

Animal tracks everywhere

Down by the dry river bottom

Starred with tumbleweeds

And sagebrush – rabbit tracks

coyote paw prints, sometimes we even

saw sidewinder spirals twirling mysteriously

over the sand dunes

disappearing into the brush

or into a hole

We learned about life out there

from death

The bones our gift

 

Ghost Ranch our vision

our quest

and eventually –                    our destiny.

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