Charlie in the Redwoods


He drove like a man possessed, John

After surviving that hurricane, saving Faire Eleyne 

Hit the road and never looked back, 

heading into the sunset, searching it seemed 

for something to anchor us, ’til the road ran out

and water turned him now to face himself.


Brought me here, imagining he understood

his senses myopic, his awe projected onto me.

The ground urgently calling, his voice fading

Traces of my own kind and kith overwhelming, 

drew me to explore.


John, staring up, as if to catch the scent of something righteous, 

never sensed the truths impressing on my mind.

For dogs and men are awed by different things.


About this: In 1960, John Steinbeck took his dog, Charlie, on a road trip to discover America. After reaching the Oregon coast, they turned south, through the Humbolt redwoods. Charlie being a dog dog, who saluted every vertical object on his path, Steinbach imagined the redwoods would appeal as the holy grail of salutary objects. But Charlie ignored the trees.

 © Philip Knight 2018