Thursday, February 14, 2008


On a spring day in March, we walk to the morada. A low building of now rotting adobe, it was once used by Los Hermenos, the brotherhood of Penitentes. They practiced secret rites, such as self-flagellation and crucifixion, outside of the approval of the Catholic Church.

far-off silver statue
of a horse running –
droppings in this field

We take a path out along the mesa, on Pueblo land, expansive view in all directions. We walk towards Taos Mountain, looking enormous and blue-green in the clear air. Aren’t all mountains sacred? This one still knows it.

my pilgrim’s stick
no affectation –
my bad knee

About half a mile from the morada is a large cross – the first that Georgia O'Keeffe painted in New Mexico. Her painting is “White Cross” but it is now weathered gray. There are offerings of stones and pebbles at the base, left by visitors.

scattered feathers, scat
wild sacrifice at the base
of the swaying cross

I sit down on the foundation and look out over the land.

fence posts, barbed wire
shadow of the cross
bisects Taos Mountain

by Miriam Sagan
Santa Fe, New Mexico

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