A House Between Two Mountains

William Stapleton

The monster rises in the North, all hoary-frost above behemoth shoulders.

Snake-like clouds adorning her, I crane my neck, gaze fixed past the big white house toward uplifted boulders.

And at the South, like his namesake martyr, Hyacinth has lost his head in cloud. 

Burned bones against a bright blue backdrop, he wears that legacy so proud.

Between the two, another sunrise gleams, and beams of brilliant, white-hot day flash forth:  Accentuate Sonora’s west extremes, and last night’s moon forgot to go away. 

I think of days in boyhood strides I stood those windy peaks, abrace, and praise the currents and the tides that bore me this majestic place.

They did not know, nor did not speak, whose seed would become me, what’s meant to dwell between these peaks, two giant saints, ever there for me to see.

I hated this foreboding land; Hell’s wind and scorching sun.  But most of all this small-town strand was that from which I’d run.

Sojourner then, I took my stand to search and travel all creation, to dwell among an alien band, to think the thoughts of a foreign nation.

Yet not forget, as is the way of some, with less bequest, the peaks and home from which I’d stray;  in dreams I’d always see them best.

So, to Greyback and to you, Saint Jack, who now, once more lend grace the vista of my latter track; my starting, ending place, I hold your peaks in high esteem who once I viewed with scorn.  And now call home a place between, six miles from whence I’m born.


Born and raised in the small, desert town of Banning, all I ever wanted to do as a youth was live in the city.  Life has a strange way of fulfilling our youthful desires.  In our thirties and forties, Danece and I raised five children overseas, in Australia, New Zealand and Tokyo, and traveled most of Asia and the Pacific.  When time came to return from our travels, though, we found ourselves at home in the desert pass between the two highest peaks in Southern California, Mt. San Gorgonio and Mt. San Jacinto.
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A House Between Two Mountains by William Stapleton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States Li