Poems: “Before us the River is” and “Compact with the Grand” — Greg Hobbs #CRWUA2017

BEFORE US THE RIVER IS

When Hopi Boatman sets off to explore
where it is the water goes when his people need it
to grow families, flocks and fruit trees,

When Navajo honor male San Juan
and female Colorado and their offspring Rainbow Children arc
deep within the sandstone slick rock,

When Mountain Ute warn Mountain Men
of impassable passages between disparate worlds
and Wesley Powell goes there,

All return their stories full of how Storm Gods play upon
the rocks and fade away in soft and low murmurs
beneath heaven’s infinite blue.

We find in joining them here
there is only one law of the River:

Within the limits of living together
Is the common ground of all possibility.

Justice Greg Hobbs, The Public’s Water Resource at 199

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COMPACT WITH THE GRAND

Upstream from Lee Ferry,
Lake Powell,

Downstream,
the Grand Canyon,

Each and both,
chambers of the heart

Of the great Southwest.

Save the Grand Canyon,
save Lake Powell,

Tree rings teach
flood and drought endure,

Frequent the experience
of every western community

In all the western Americas.

Ancient Andeans, Mayans,
Hohokam, Puebloans, Hispanos,

Praise, store, and carry
the treasured life-giving waters

In their time and place of need
to live, harsh and beautiful,

This opportunity for community.

So the waters of the great Lake Powell
with flood and drought fluctuate,

As weather and the mountains will,
warning and nurturing

We the peoples, all the creatures,
in common compact with the Grand:

Preserve, conserve, sustain, and inspire.

Justice Greg Hobbs, The Public’s Water Resource at 301

Colorado River Water Users Association Las Vegas 12/ 12-13/ 2017

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