Friday, November 12, 2010

Trails - Part VII

How to count the days of my trail?
How to number the steps of my trial?
How to see whether triumph or travail
awaits me at my journey’s end?

I keep time the old way
with the speeding race
of Apollo’s chariot across the sky
and fix my position by the passing
of Polaris and Orion’s belt.

I drink when I thirst,
I eat when I hunger,
I rest when weariness overcomes me.
I carry on until the muse who prods
my restless bones with the electric sting of wanderlust
tells me I have arrived; my journey
into the unknown is complete,
the flight of driven fancy fulfilled.

The forest grows scant as I climb upward
in my southerly quest,
the maple, oak, and ask replaced
by long needled firs
and fragrant wax-green leafed
flowering bushes.
Wild raspberry gives way to huckleberry,
and as the valley deepens,
or perhaps it is the trail that rises,
the mist is my one constant companion.

I hear the approach of thunder.
The wind becomes itself a foe to be conquered
its weapons the blinding wash of torrential rain,
searing flash of laser bolts,
the explosive roar thunder and wind,
and the gun-shot rattle of frozen bullets
that strip the skin from tree and bush
and creature foolish enough to stare
into its raging face.

I hide, shivering and shuddering
from the tempestuous tantrum
in the belly of a hollowed pine
whose towering height
and gluttonous girth
have somehow managed
to withstand the maelstrom
as if by some unknown bit
of natural wisdom carried
to its slender green-tipped fingers
whispers into the shadows,
this, too shall pass.
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