The Ghost of Cochise

Coming down from the climb
In failing light
Ropes bandoliered,
Like bandits heading for a train,
We pass the apache pantheon

Its huge rock arrowhead teetering
In uncertain balance.
A flicker of shadow fools the eye.
The ghost of Cochise

Returned to grieve the death
Of half his family
At the hand of the fool, Lieutenant Bascom?
Then emerging, face daubed
To wreak one last gory

Saturnalia on gringo and mexicano alike
And to toll the knell
On a way of life
Where a man won standing through

The depth of his generosity
The savagery of his close combat
The permanence of his bond
But lost it through
Duplicity, cowardice, greed,
Niceties marking many of the civilized
Men of the time.

Cochise Stronghold, Dragoon Mountains, Arizona, 1983