James B. Nicola
Imagine Telluride, the canyon town,
its snow-capped mountains ringing up and down
each side and at the cul-de-sac, with falls
and streams laced up and down the canyon walls.
Then picture it, say, six Tellurides broader:
the middle, not a western town, but water,
and several times the length, a finger bay;
its hand, the sea, not Dolores and Ridgeway.
Feeding it, brooks and rills on every side,
the same as mountain streams in Telluride.
The climate, though, is not dry but too soggy,
which makes the soil, in places, a bit boggy;
instead of sagebrush, heather marls, which bloom
in purples brief as golds of gorse and broom.
Its briefness makes their beauty all the sweet-
er, doomed, in afterlife, to turn to peat.
No street is straight, and everything’s unplanned,
organic. . . . That’s Loch Druich in Scotland,
where jewels of wildflowers line the side
of any path, like trails in Telluride.
We hiked a brae one day, lit on a broch,
or ringed stone fort, a mile above the loch;
then kept on, climbing high enough to spy
the Skye Bridge and, beyond, the Isle of Skye.
Returning from Loch Druich to Glasgow
we saw, after a rain, a great rainbow;
later, another, twice as high and wide.
I’d seen a triple one in Telluride
where likewise drivers stopped, poured out of cars;
and others out of homes, schools, stores and bars
all gently understanding, standing under,
as sudden as if we’d been struck by thunder. . . .
Though overseas it wears a foreign face
enchantment is enchantment any place.
About the Author
James B. Nicola’s poetry and prose have appeared in Lowestoft Chronicle, the Antioch, Southwest Review, Green Mountains Review, Atlanta Review, Rattle, Barrow Street Journal, Tar River Poetry, and Poetry East, garnering two Willow Review awards, a Dana Literary award, and six Pushcart nominations. His full-length collections are: Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page (2016), Wind in the Cave (2017), Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018), and Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond (2019). His nonfiction book, Playing the Audience, won a Choice award. He is facilitator for the Hell’s Kitchen International Writers’ Roundtable, which meets twice monthly at Manhattan’s Columbus Library: walk-ins welcome!