19 January 2016

Mountain Top

File:Cole Thomas Mountain Sunrise Catskill 1826.jpg
Mountain Sunrise, Catskill (1826)
by Thomas Cole

Mist rises off the pink
morning mountains
and here, alone, she stops
atop a ridge
to hug tall pines and feel
their pull upward
in praise of  clouds and air. 
Owls leave the sky
to eagles now after
a night of hunt,
while she looks to descend
into unknowns.

She pauses long enough
to gulp water
and slowly stretch muscles
honed strong during
the climb, her lungs so full
she yodels to
echos and puts new words
in sentences
arising from her heart
(or from mountain
spirits who brought her here)
strengthened and brave.

Others climb higher and
longer, others
grow wings and fly away,
others, though, don’t
quite try, so this is not
a fail, is it?
Stop that!  She chides. This first
and then I’ll see
what’s next.  She smiles and takes
the first step down
as if ascending to
the promised land.




Written in anticipation of writing for two months at Pendle Hill where I learned to think of myself as having reached a mountain top from Jesse White's "Silencing the Critic" art and spirituality workshop.  

Inspired by Dr. MLK, Jr.'s famous words and by thoughts of my Grandmother, 
artist and activist Mary Berner, whose birthday was January 19.  
She died in 2003 at the age of 102.  
He should have lived just as long.


Copyright © 2016  Susan L. Chast



19 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love it, especially "arising from her heart....strengthened and brave." She climbed as far as she could, that day, a very good start! Mine is wearier, and not as strong. Just posted it. A climb of another sort.

Anonymous said...

Yodels to echoes... love that! Enjoyed this poem Susan!

Sreeja said...

the starting lines are so beautiful and full...so meaningful...loved this poem for its ending too....

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Oh Susan this is soo beautifully touching! Thank you so much for sharing this poem with us :D

Lots of love,
Sanaa

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Back for another read now it's morning. I love that she is climbing, "strengthened and brave", and does not compare her height to what others have attained - for this is her climb, and her success. I love the hopefulness and excitement in "then I'll see what's next." It seems your back surgery has liberated you for the climb, my friend.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I'm always glad when the spirits (mountain or otherwise) bring me to special places.

Purba chakraborty said...

This is so so beautiful. I could see a glimpse of me in this girl :)

Sumana Roy said...

"to hug tall pines and feel / their pull upward"...such love of life takes a soul to a higher life so that at the end of the day she could say, "This first / and then I’ll see / what’s next."..beautiful. ..

Mary said...

Susan, it seems like she is well prepared for the climb. With this optimistic attitude I believe she will climb high and when she gets to the top she will survey the world, feel invigorated, & the promised land will be at hand!

Old Egg said...

The exhilaration if climbing a mountain is so typical of mankind constantly striving to achieve. I only wish more good and enjoyment would come from doing that rather than the greed and selfishness that is so rife today. At least we alone can climb the real mountains and be uplifted as we should.

Nicholas said...

I can relate to this mountain poem. It's how I feel whenever I am blessed with something good for my future. taking deep breaths before climbing up or down into that "promised land." Thanks!

Grace said...

One step at a time towards the journey ~ I inhale this along with you Susan ~ Hope you are well ~

Panchali said...

strong during
the climb, h£er lungs so full
she yodels to
echos and puts new words
in sentences
arising from her heart"... Fascinatingand uplifting narrative Susan. Enjoyed reading your poem!

Gillena Cox said...

Ah yes, to be taken there by great Spirit, what better way to visit.

Thanks for dropping in to read mine Susan

Much love...

Jae Rose said...

Step by step is the only way to climb the mountain of life - the imagery is divine..particularly the rising pink.. and putting 'new words in sentences arising from her heart' - sheer magic

rallentanda said...

Beautiful imagery and a strong spiritual element. As the others have said, slowly ,step by step is the way to go, enjoying the climb along the way. If you are blessed you can enjoy the same elation at any point on the climb the same as reaching the peak....I wish this for you !Mary Berner will be cheering you all along the way !Enjoy your retreat.

Anjum Wasim Dar said...

mist personified...amazing dramatic..one moves as silently and mysteriously as the mist itself..the reader is taken on a journey...swiftly softly flying through with blessings and revelations...great poem

moondustwriter said...

Cole was an inspired artist and loved New York nature. Be inspired by the beauty and serenity. I love your poem as it speaks of new beginnings (there are always opportunities for those.)
Be blessed Susan!

Melbourne Australia Photos said...

Lovely! A lofty and grand write, Susan!