Back when I was finishing my Wild Snow history project (circa 1997), my wife Lisa and I became friends with poet Fred Geis (RIP 2007). He wrote this poem specifically regarding my Wild Snow book slideshow tour, and graciously gave us permission to use it in our publishing projects. We’ve enjoyed it ever since — please do the same. Lou Dawson
THE TIME OF WILD SNOW — by Fred Geis
In the time of wild snow,
when cruel winter abetted many vain intentions,
The allotted time for dreaming slept,
Rubbed out by the exhaustion of hope.
The blue of heaven blotted out by clouds
a thousand feet thick.
Suddenly in the storming of the peak,
The price of winning proved the energy of the heart,
With every sinew, throb of bone, and clasp of flesh,
Exploring white terrain.
For moments despair won out over despondency,
Remember—they deal with you in different ways.
Do not take it for granted, this giving life to time.
And if night comes hook your hopes on the moon.
(Copyright 1997 by Fred Geis, used by permission)
From Lou: The late Fred Geis was a Colorado poet, musician song-writer, and lover of mountains who for a time made his home in the town of Carbondale, beneath the heights of Mount Sopris. Challenged by physical problems, he was not a mountaineer, but he appreciated the spirit of winter alpinism and was inspired to this poem by the lofty mountains of Colorado. An obit can be found floating around the web, following pulled from various sources:
Fred Geis — folksinger, composer, poet, bus driver and DJ — died January 26, 2007 in Canon City, CO at the age of 74. Born and raised in California, as a young man Fred spent time in various folksinger circles around the country, including Greenwich Village, Chicago and Denver. At one point he was included on a compilation of upcoming folk artists which included Bob Dylan. Fred composed a tune called “I’m Going Home,” which was recorded by the Kingston Trio in the early 1960’s. As best can be determined, he also wrote “A Lament for Brendan Behan” which was recorded by the Clancy Brothers. Around the turn of the century Fred relocated to California. But he spent his last year in Canon City, Colorado so he could be closer to his church, which is where he was laid to rest.