by Stuart D. Gathman
I stand upon a great rock,
Chill beneath my feet.
All around is space,
And mist yet curls in craggy valleys deep.
Snow-clean air steps softly 'round
With whispered promise in its breath,
And sunlight, icy-white,
Spills shadows, black, onto the earth.
Chiseled stone rears starkly in a piercing sky,
Clothed in ragged glowing green;
Amorphous mounds and splintered shards
Lie dead in winding canyons wide.
A condor wheels like wind-borne ash,
And far-off sound the peeping cries
Of songbirds greeting day-break bright.
I turn to go,
And walk along the angling ridge-top path,
Crinkled leaves of scrub-oak
Crepitating briskly underfoot.
Gnarled pine and manzanita
Wrestle greasewood for the sun
In tangled mattes and gray-green flats
Of brush-sticks hard and dry.
Now shaggy, dusty, towering firs
Spread needle-fingers overhead,
And needle-cushions steal the noise
Of footsteps from my tread.
Here they are.
Jumbled slabs of granite form the place
Where morning-times I slip away to meditate
On mountain peaks and blue horizon.