Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

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Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by MtnHub » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:48 pm

While my wife is really the poet of our family, I do enjoy reading and occasionally writing a poem about the mountains or wilderness. Sometimes I will include a poem in a TR if it seemed especially appropriate.

I recently added a poem that I came across that seemed to describe some of the photos in the recent thread FALL COLORS 2019. But after awhile I got to thinking it might be fun to start another thread of just poetry shared by others that they have come across or written themselves.

So I welcome you to share your poems here, or a found poem, that relates specifically to the mountains or wilderness or similar subjects. If it was written by someone else, please cite the author or source where you discovered it.

To begin, here is the poem I added to the thread mentioned above:


I would not trade this sight of aspengold
on autumn mountainsides for any thing!
The rubies of an oriental king
could not suffice for payment, were it sold.
The time may come when I am hungry, cold,
in want for comforts only coin can bring;
I'd still not sell this treasure, but would sing
in penury of wealth I now behold.

The memory of this bright loveliness
will be both bread and clothing to my soul,
a store against the future's leaner days.
But, come what will of poverty, distress,
I am recipient of this rich dole,
and shall remember it with grateful praise.

Gary Frahm

Frahm was an Episcopal priest who served in NW Iowa, and passed away in 2002. But he obviously visited Colorado at some point in his life.
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by osprey » Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:48 am

MtnHub: Thank you for starting this beautiful thread.
I recite these lines adapted from the Iliad of Homer on every climb prior to Helios riding his Golden Chariot into the sky:
Now Dawn the yellow-robed rises from her bed
Where she lay by noble Tithonus
And scatters over all the Earth
Bringing light to men
And to the Immortals
And to the Mountains.
"Rocks, mountains, snow and ice: what more do we desire?" - Reinhard Karl
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by DeTour » Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:18 pm

I've stood in some mighty-mouthed hollow
That's plumb-full of hush to the brim;
I've watched the big, husky sun wallow
In crimson and gold, and grow dim,
Til the moon set the pearly peaks gleaming,
and the stars tumbled out, neck and crop;
And I've thought that I surely was dreaming,
With the peace o' the world piled on top.
-- "The Spell of the Yukon" by Robert Service
A vaincre sans peril, on triomphe sans gloire
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by asbochav » Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:31 am

From The Brook by Alfred Tennyson

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever
Eppur si muove
Clapton is God
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by MtnHub » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:43 pm

I used this poem by Luci Shaw in my 2018 TR on Longs Peak.

I love it, and it seemed fitting to use in conjunction with some of the old weathered tree stumps I came across on our descent:

https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/triprepo ... trip=18866


Mother tree, bald, old, with shoulders white as bones bleached
but still green as a girl where mosses crust your south
and life tufts some of your knotted fingers.
You cup small jays in your elbows, wrinkle your brown skin
to shelter larvae and your roots beam and buttress marmot halls.
Today the morning mountain is a breathless gold,
yet you bend to an eternal gale.
You are a signal to weather, a signpost in time
pointing the way the wind went.
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by cbskies » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:02 am

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.

J.R.R. Tolkien
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by Fireweed » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:36 am

From Shakespeare's As You Like It, Act II, Scene 1. The Duke and a few of his men are in the Forest of Arden.

Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference; as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind,
Which when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
'This is no flattery; these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am.'
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
I would not change it.
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by bergsteigen » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:45 pm

Doug, how did you know I’ve been working on a poem (or a rant) for a few weeks now?! Inspired not only by the title, but skiing with friends and talking about skiing with potential ski partners. No it doesn’t rhyme.

(Yes I know my signature says I don’t ski moguls. I ski powder moguls, not scraped out, over sized bumps with ski destroying rocks)

Date a skier they said

I only ski resort
I only ski backcountry
I only Ski Mountaineer
I only Heli ski
I only Nordic ski
I only skate ski
I only telemark ski
I only uphill ski
I only skimo race
I only ski resort to access the slack country

I only have Ikon
I only have Epic
I only have Mountain Collective
I only have Loveland, ski Independant!

I only ski groomers
I only ski moguls
I only ski powder
I only ski ungroomed
I only ski untouched powder
I only ski corn
I only ski sustrugi in winter
I only ski while it is storming
I only ski when the sun is shining
I only ski bluebird powder
I only ski the park
I only ski trees
I only ski steeps
I only ski fast
I only ski switch
I only ski looking for my next jump to huck
I only ski to get footy for the bros

I only ski the pass
I only ski my secret stash
I only ski travel destinations
I only ski locally
I only ski 14ers
I only ski 13ers
I only ski couloirs
I only ski summits
I only ski lines, why a summit?

I only ski weekends
I only ski midweek
I only ski solo
I only ski with partners
I only ski 12 times a year
I only ski first to last chair
I only ski for a couple hours
I only ski after getting up at 4am
I only ski after sleeping till noon
I only ski for apres drinks

I ski skinny skis
I ski fat skis
I ski carving skis
I ski rockered skis
I ski cambered skis
I ski long skis
I ski short skis
I ski only 1 pair of skis
I ski 17 pairs of skis

You conditionally ski.
I ski Everything.

Now you will ask, will you date a climber, hiker, or biker? What kind?!?

"Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway (or was it Barnaby Conrad?)
Your knees only get so many bumps in life, don't waste them on moguls!
“No athlete is truly tested until they’ve stared an injury in the face and come out on the other side stronger than ever” -anonymous

http://otinasadventures.com @otina
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by MtnHub » Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:44 pm

Ha! So what do you do in the wintertime, Otina? :lol:

Here is one of only a few poems I've actually written. Rather than write it all out again below, I'm linking it to the TR I added it to so you can see the pictures that inspired it.

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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by MtnHub » Fri May 15, 2020 6:00 pm

Oh, Lovely Rock
by Robinson Jeffers

We stayed the night in the pathless gorge of Ventana Creek, up the east fork.
The rock walls and the mountain ridges hung forest on forest above our heads, maple and redwood,
Laurel, oak, madrone, up to the high and slender Santa Lucian firs that stare up the cataracts
Of slide-rock to the star-color precipices.
We lay on gravel and kept a little camp-fire for warmth.
Past midnight only two or three coals glowed red in the cooling darkness; I laid a clutch of dead bay-leaves
On the ember ends and felted dry sticks across them and lay down again. The revived flame
Lighted my sleeping son’s face and his companion’s, and the vertical face of the great gorge-wall
Across the stream. Light leaves overhead danced in the fire’s breath, tree-trunks were seen: it was the rock wall
That fascinated my eyes and mind. Nothing strange: light-gray diorite with two or three slanting seams in it,
Smooth-polished by the endless attrition of slides and floods; no fern nor lichen, pure naked rock…as if I were
Seeing rock for the first time. As if I were seeing through the flame-lit surface into the real and bodily
And living rock. Nothing strange…I cannot
Tell you how strange: the silent passion, the deep nobility and childlike loveliness: this fate going on
Outside our fates. It is here in the mountain like a grave smiling child. I shall die, and my boys
Will live and die, our world will go on through its rapid agonies of change and discovery; this age will die,
And wolves have howled in the snow around a new Bethlehem: this rock will be here, grave, earnest, not passive: the energies
That are its atoms will still be bearing the whole mountain above: and I, many packed centuries ago
Felt its intense reality with love and wonder, this lonely rock.
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by jaymz » Fri May 15, 2020 8:57 pm

Here's one that's actually about flying, but resonates with my sentiments while up high on an exposed ridge:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.
- John G. Magee, Jr.
“Falling silent in the presence of the beautiful is a profound expectation, a wanting-to-hear the most delicate, distant sounds — we act like someone who is all ears and eyes: beauty has something to say to us… This is the case with all contemplation.” ~ Nietzsche
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Re: Poetry, Mountains, and Wilderness

Post by justiner » Sat May 16, 2020 10:09 am

Old ghost ranges, sunken rivers, come again
stand by the wall and tell their tale,
walk the path, sit the rains,
grind the ink, wet the brushes, unroll the
broad white space:

lead out and tip
the moist black line.

Walking on walking,
under foot earth turns.

Streams and mountains never stay the same.

— Gary Snyder
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