He died in 1916 when Ansel first snapped Yosemite, 
When Black Jack and the Apaches hunted Villa,
And Robert Frost paid tribute to the grand land 
With a work called Mountain Interval. 

He died before the guns of August boomed, 
When Ramona packed in the crowds, wild 
Were they for the romance, savage romance 
That Helen Hunt penned for them. He died 
While they thronged to the cinema and stage 
To see the passing of Poor Lo. 

Mill Creek, Deer Creek, still and quiet, 
No longer heard his campfire pop and crackle.
Fraser put him on a horse for The End of the Trail. 
Under his breath, in the hospital he sang his death song. 
“Do not cut me. Burn me,” he said. “I go home.” 

They cut him and burned him and stuffed him, 
Wild man, stoneage Yahi, in a pottery jar, 
Set him on a shelf at Mt. Olivet in Colma, 
Amid slick tiles, brass plaques and organ music.
Alfred, friend, sent his brain to the Smithsonian. 

The land was ours before we were the land’s, 
Frost told JFK. Ansel reveled in the Range of Light— 
Like the Ahwahneechee, and all Natives Muir despised, 
The Yahi only spoiled the picture. 
It was not a Kodak moment—Mill Creek and Deer Creek faded, 
Half Dome was no longer home.

--Rick H., Adult