According to my dad, legend has it the island got the name from the pioneer boatmen, who on their trips up the river in the Spring, would stop on the island and plant a crop. On their trip down river they would harvest the crop.

When Big Bend Dam was being constructed on the Missouri River, there was protest to the flooding of the island, but to no avail.


It was as if God drop the gem into the muddy waters of the Missouri in compassion for the weary traveler. 

He put his trees and grasses there for shade against the burning sun, carpet for the weary feet. He marked a line and forbade the hungry river to advance beyond. 

His creatures came as to a haven: the deer with fawn, and the winged song-makers of rare and exotic breeds. A sanctuary, a rest haven, long in building, centuries of molding went into its design as God moved with a patience and compassion to preserve for man and his minions the gem He dropped into his river.

 But man was busy and obsessed with thoughts of power, status – and impatient: Move the river! Change the river! Level that hill! Fill that valley! Uproot the trees! Scrape off the green carpet! They cut down God’s trees replacing them with little man trees and they said: “we’ll give you compensation.” Compensation? How do you compensate for what God builded in centuries of patient toil? What is your price for a bird on the wing, or a song from a shady treetop? Give me your valuation of God’s trees – the tangled brush, sweet with moss, the crest of a hill or the undulating sweep of a green valley peopled with God’s flowers! Give me your value! 

And as I sit and watch the setting sun glorify the western horizon, a sadness of old remembering of God’s gem of the Missouri creeps over me as I look down upon the dross you gave me to replace it. 


By Lloyd Jorgenson, Larry’s dad


I wish when I look at the City

its hurry and flurry and noise,

its racing cars and cocktail bars

its women like painted toys


I wish when I look at the tired faces

in the rush of the subway crowd

at people who are tired of life and living

where even prayers are hurried and loud


I wish I could stand astride like a giant 

with a foot in the street and one in the next,

and shout, with a big giant’s voice, “Hush!”

still them, and ask, “What’s the rush?”


 by Lloyd Jorgenson, Larry’s dad

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name

-William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)



Brook whispers

wings above

leaves below

join without command.


Pebbles cleansed and with purpose

shine beneath water glistening

bathed by sunlight

filtered by arrayed branches. 


Sentinel flowers speak

restoring my marrow

planting thoughts

swaying my soul.


Seasons pass 

leaves fall

flocks waive 

a spirit remains.


Peaceful here

prayer softly spoken seeks oneness

I will be still

please let me stay.



Today, on my way in this busy world, I stopped to hear the bawl of the calf whose mother grazes in springtime speak to my inner self as a sound of almost silence, especially when the noise of man is compared, and the bawling of the calf and the buzz of the bee in a wild flower and sage gift to me a thankful heart not so easily arising in my other world; but I must not dally too long here, for I have people to see, commissions to make and places to go, but I heard the bee and the calf today, and they have refreshed my spirit.

Larry Jorgenson



In a child’s mind

I hope to be again

with shrouds of stars

sun bright days 

loving faces

grace and beauty

fascination with all seen 

the moment conquering that 

which isn’t. 

Larry Jorgenson



Mollusks, crustaceans, insect larva abandoning

polluted, greenish rot of once good still receives from the

tree the small, showy, bobbing Bufflehead

dressed mostly white, little black, not intruding

as he squeals and growls to his mate while going about

creation, its burned-out voice beseeching, asking, gasping-

perhaps for not long.  


I surmise we should leave this goal on the table of hope and trust it will find its way to the shining light of acceptance now concealed by the arbitrary darkness of personal bias.


-Larry Jorgenson, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Not Water Over The Dam
Not Water Over The Dam
Not Water Over The Dam

Photos taken by me from my home cross the street from the National Elk Refuge where the creek passes and bald eagles often search for food. 


-Larry Jorgenson, Jackson Hole, Wyoming


Majestic, stately, not ignoble

Tatanka lies waiting

legs extended

eye open skyward

side stiff, not rising.


Wolves hold forth

eagles feast, coyotes sneak.

Dignity preserved

homage given 

Circle complete. Sun sets in honor.

Man’s cruel aim

supplants bestial hunger

entrails of hope reduce to fruits of greed

disquiet selfishness reins 

A child weeps.


My heart is pierced, my spirit slain

I am diminished, dishonor and shame befall me

hope fades beyond tomorrow

I wail. 

Sun sets without peace. 

Larry Jorgenson

Prairie Peace

Sky touches the prairie level with my eye

that I am permitted to see so far I am grateful.

I am complete.


Prairie indulges its own

loneliness seems far away

the trail narrowing and straight

invites me with assurance of favor.  


Wind lifts the spirit

calls to the strong

consoles the weak.

And hawk is free. 


A marsh follows the rain

dew drops cling to the wild rose

and glisten in the rays of fading day.

My soul is calmed.

Meadowlark serenades, few sounds are many 

winds still out of respect

the sun falls from the table of my place 

lullaby ends. Silence embraces the dark.

Larry Jorgenson


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