Poet’s Table

The table used for writing at the site “ Poets ’Table” in the Black Hills was today (May 27) sawed in half and carried off by two individuals. As of this writing, they have been apprehended by the Custer County law enforcement.

I really don’t know their motivation for doing such a deed. Nor do I care.  In my opinion they were wrong and misguided for what they did.

I’ve been to the Poet’s Table. It is a recessed niche in a rock wall. Standing above it on the edge of this rock wall, you would not know anyone was below you. It is easily accessible from an established trail. Except the separate, fairly short trail to Poet’s Table is not marked. A person follows a faint trace through rocks, and just like that, there it is. From a hundred foot away you would not see this recessed area of about 30 feet. It is protected from the weather by an overhang. A heavy, plain table had been hauled to this site by private citizens years ago for the purpose of giving people a flat surface to write on–and it seems most of the writing has been poetry. In many ways this place, although known by many, is a word of mouth sort of place. When I visited I came upon a young woman who told me she was from Ellsworth Air Base–enlisted, originally from Oklahoma. She had a notebook out and was writing. On my way back I came upon another two young women who asked me the way to Poet’s Table. I pointed in the direction and told them how many lefts and rights.

The view from this perch is amazing. You can see a long way across the expanse that the Hills offer. A calm place to collect your thoughts–and write them down. The Poet’s Table has become a  South Dakota place of pilgrimage for poets and those who love poetry. I know of no other outdoor spot in South Dakota that has become devoted in this manner to the purpose of writing. When I was there I saw not a bit of trash, bottles, candy wrappers or anything out of place.

I think we should ask the Park Service to allow the Poet’s Table to be restored.

Bruce Roseland

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