Inclined

1 May 2018

The word love is merely a sign that means something like the way to the mountain.
Mark Doty, Dog Years

What the mountain thinks, you can’t
know. When it leans the weight of its shadow
on you, tall, how much might it say in fall
or thrall, like a lover, telling all? You don’t
know, but something’s in step, like (black and blue)
and (avenue), and you, all backpack and crampon, ice-
axe your way through, poster girl for grit: you can’t
wait, think of love as losing wait, court
waitlessness, ascend, impatient as snow, don’t know
how, don’t know where melt becomes avalanche, figure
stunts, jut and chutzpah are the go, don’t
know what you can’t know, find yourself
lost, but (stars appear), so step by step, go
up, (dry your tears), keep in mind the rhyme

(rain on face) (warm embrace) the rhyme
of it, the pulse, climbing in iambics, and you can
know, you stumble, skirt the glacier, syncopate, or trip
and have to use your little kit, your grit, you do
know, though it’s nothing you’ve known, find
you’ve left behind flat foothills, the boot in the ice-
face, powder and slide. And you climb, patient: find you can
wait, watch the mountain waking to remember (rolling sea)
speechful, whistling lovewhispers (wild and free)
and the summit isn’t some mystery since you do
know its song, its height and gaze, its quietude
and seep of calm, how much this climb takes heart
and breath from you, and gives them back, lighter,
might never be known, but walking here, you do know.


(after Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’)

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