Bad Poetry

Old Poetry


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Buffy Philosophy I

Buffy Philosophy II

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Sparrow's Lament

The breeze screams reedy pain
Never then, to lift again
Brutal blue and tented high
The skies beckon with baited lie
The lifting rhythm, the twisting gyre
Gone in a moment, and then the mire
Hear now, the keening call
A small brown thing's howl
In heart-breaking harmony
She and the wind sing elegy
For her broken-winged memory.


The Way of the Fool

When the holy are rich,
   and the brave have been bought
When the wise are weak
   and the learned are all liars
Truth hides a fugitive
   in the mouths of fools

In the land of the many
   the one-eyed king is blind
The ten thousand things
   seen as one thing
Truths become sad lies
   when perspective is lost
Fool, help them see
   the many-soul'd king
Give each an eye
   the ten-thousand-fold lords
In the land of the many
   the wise must be fools

The wise congressman, wishing for a Senate seat
The wise senator, dreaming of a White House bed
Wise man, be not wise
Foolish man, be a voice
Tell true lies, and never lies for truth.

Wisdom is a lie
   That whispers to the wise
Truth is pure nonsense
   Bellowed on a roof
True things are many,
   Multiple confusions
Falsehoods are singular
   Self-consistent, and strong.

Weakness is a truth
   Sadness is true
Strength is a lie
   Justice a farce
Triumph a mockery
   Victory a boast
Tragedy is sometimes true
   Comedy is the truth.


Strong Dreams

As merciless Summer loosens her grip
And my rooms breathe free again
The cooling air conveying
Clarity and composure
Moisture and strong breezes
Something in that dying of the
Imperial tyrant season
Brings something awake in me.

Like a company returning from
Plague-days exile
Like players returning to the
Old Smoke itself

These clearing winds bring
To my fretful rest
Those players to sing
And such dramas enact
My skull does ring

Such little stuff the modern dream
A soulless churning
Of day's loose chaff
Or the random firing
Of Reptilian brain
Stuff and nonsense
And spare little toys
Long broken in the handling
Of the waking mind
These scientists must
Dream in the hot and airless
Rooms of Summer

When the season is dying
The darkness brings
Shattering lightning
Bright and bloody colored
Clear-eyed and terrible
Mourning, grief and
Rages of righteous anger
Such furies as never fired
My living world alight.

What is it that wakes this
Playwright of the spine
From sharp air to wring
Such strong dreams?


A Warm November
Golden night in the early gloaming
Warm wind with an edge of cooling
So late to be so warm

Every year the days shorten
but every year stretches a little longer
So later, comes the cold

Prophesy is a game of fools
Looking to clouded eyes for sight
So the clear-eyed blind

Slave in thundering quarries
Filled by the loud, the sure, the writers
Uncertain rock, for cobblestones

Cut the current growth?
The wise corderoy with standing timber
Who stops to read the rings?

Common disasters taken for
Bloody-minded Apocalypse in his full and final stride
The end crawls, unnoticed, three-limbed

The only thing we know,
Wanting, waiting, willing, unwilling, wise or fool
Future, what it will, will come

No guides of knowledge
No deliberate renunciation or mystical bond
The present only knows the past.

So we wait, seeing
Only the present turnings, coolings and warmings
And speculate, dreaming

The coming fire, the paradoxical freezing
The rising - the dying -the living -the certain changing
All to come, or coming not, evaporate with the night.

The light of future days unseen yet
Yet gleams reflected in the last light of gloaming
As night comes early in its warmth

The silent rumble, a great wheel turning
New tracks torn by mighty masses moving
The immovable moving

The future's in the air, can you smell it?
The scent of dusk, the harvest musk, the coming snow
November in the warming.


The Closing Door

The poet's love
   and prophet's hate
Lies on paper
   stripped and bare
What do I hear
   on quiet nights?
Cries of rage
   and loving sighs
Distant heard
   and muffled quite
As once a child
   I laid, blind
The darkened hall
   a closing door
The parents' row
   suspense and fright
Waiting alone
   in echoing night


a Promise in Twilight

The icy winds of not
Blow through the cracks of was
Chill our current bones

The browning sedge
That once was green
And promises unkept

Now black and white
And distinctions made
Soon the empty gray

Burglar dusk
Creep from the hills
Steal into lighted lands

So easy to be brave
Under blue skies
Recall days of triumph

Despair will crawl , blind
In blackened night
And the tangles of the dark

Be prey to unseen things
And, sightless,
Keep you to the path

Led by remembered words
And fading memory
Stumble often, fool

The bitter snow
Unseen but felt, and having felt
Numbs the sense

Until, blind Gloucester
Despair shall guide you
Towards some icing cliff

Can you stop
With the ice at your heel
Desperate fool?

Stand in darkness
Growing colder
Despair tugging at your sleeve

Wait for another grasp
As the cold turns to warm
And dark stillness stirs

Struggle to remember
Promises made
In golden days

Upon the saved
And those that would see
Dawn shall fall from brightening skies


The First of Fall

Daft and wild, the madman roamed
Down my street in the day of first turning
Turning leaves, and the early
Hopeless least, falling still green
The weakest failing first and
Foremost, in losing always first
His worn heels wiping through
The early piling, still green leaves
"Hear!" cried he of dull
and tattered trousers and coat
"The trumpet sounds! The gates do close!
The work of the winds reaps the earliest and least!"
Howling he went, fluttering in his breeze.


The Moment

Most the world in darkness rebels
Locked in patterns and habits
And tide-locked swells
Men swelter alone in History's cells

There comes a moment, brief in the night
There comes an instant, and not one second more
The warden blinks
The jailer nods
And Tyrant History turns away from the door.

Quick! While the bitch is gone!
This is the tide in the affairs of men!
This is the flood in fury and fire!
The rioter's cry is the muazzin's song
And Chaos is God's grace to the wronged!

Sons of Araby your door is open!
The Hobbesian lands cry for the sons of Locke!
Now is the moment, and none other
Tear down the walls, or dig a hole
Freedom not a gift on a golden platter
But a well dug in haste, deep and -
Now is the moment, dig faster!
Cut freedom's well into the hard-pan matter!
The door closes again with an inevitable rasp
Dig or be damned, once more to dwell
In History's thrice-damned predestinate hell!


  Daily Haiku

Green shoots of nonsense
Bursting from the fallow earth
The very stuff of dreams

Grim fool writing bosh
Obsessed with winter ice
What about green meadows?

Browned bracken breathe
With morning rain soon will green
Desert lives again.

Oh, revolutionary
Come to see the spectacle
The fall of giants

Tangled up nothing
Cat cradle now rat's nest knot
Finger-trap tighten.

Sleep deprived miss
Fighting heavylidded 'gainst
The seducing dream


Language like a maze
Long corridors and dead ends
Unfinished song, sigh.


Thus failure smells fair
Only in such comparison
As might kill the sense


Melissa the fair
Outlook and Word and silly Fool
Infection my shame.


Development rush
Bolts rattle and baling wire shriek
Maybe use some gum?


Two cons and it is
Echoing silence and dark
Quiet, too quiet

Dreg's obsequity
Doing the brown-nose two-step
the king of suckups.

Quiet in chaos
Center of howling banshee
Winds wrap round stillness

Pompous vain poet
Proud of little art and small mind
Stifling still air

Milling bovine herd
Flaming fireworks above
Cattle on the Fourth

Sunday working day
Grind locked in a dark place
Corn grows high today

The long quiet days
Work burial, lame excuses
Silent voice, no now.

Database murder
Eaten by library bugs
Your code is pig dung

Disaster's boredom
I fiddle while Rome burns down
Don't just do something

Dry corn still grows high
Rainless seasons of sun's heat
Resilient seed.

M A 3 K time
Good sound for once, a blue moon
Blah blah blah, baseball

Bad video, sigh
Bernhard, what made you think that
Crowds cried out, Carol!

A Manhole launched
Light Street blocked, we must detour
Ouch, my knee went out!

Stupid little toys
Cheap plastic and bright colors
This geek likes Gundam.

Poor content, big con
Sadly this fool stands, watching
Decadent fandom.

A bad love story
Tedious romantic bosh
Makes me want to hate

Now, Ag Progress Days
Farmer crowds, heavy iron
But what is No-Till?

Five, seven, then five
One would think that simple, clear
But not to a fool.

Monday fog-lit bright
Golden gray and luminous
Brief morning moment

Flailing fools' hurry
Politics' sound and fury
Refund cheques scurry

Oh how I hate you
Internal Server Error
Curs'd be thy name.

Writing exercise
Empty of content and sere, new
Never saying, do

Radical echoes
In ancient stone walls, ringing
The crowd bays again

Ten thousand lines of
Rancid prose cannot purchase
Ev'n one perfect phrase

The Lewistown Narrows

The mountains roll from Allegheny's wild breast
To the rich orchards beyond the last sharp crest
And some ridges sweet
Like a baby's new bottom
And some mountains solemn
Wooded sloping forgotten

But the mountain over this road
Is an ill-tempered beast
Deep-wounded and dying
Its crows impatient to feast

Draining high meadows
And pine-barren wastes
The sly Juniata
Cuts seaward at last
Onwards for conjunction
With her beau Susquehanna
In a maidenly hurry
She knifes her way east

The mountain in distress
Round his wound to press
Rumbles and shifts
A crumbling moan

The ruin has left
A long small passage
Seven miles run
From Lewistown valley
Onward in darkness
To lowland finale
Seven miles wander
Close by the river
Seven miles darker
Closer still to the victim
A ruinous wound
Walked in deep twilight
Between river and riven
A treacherous path.

The mountain is bitter
And the mountain is blind
And the mountain flings boulders
At its foe in the night

This ambush is ancient
Many ages old
But to the mountain and river
Instants still known

We brief things mayfly between
Sudden and swift but not easily seen
We cut a road, we cut a clear path
But to mountain it seems one more goad to wrath.
The river yet higher
To be responded in kind
Rocks and stone showers
From stubbornness mined.

People will build
In all sorts of places
Garages and shacks
And homes by the road

But mountain is hard
And mountain is fierce
And mountain will fling
Boulders without cease

Like a cruel child dropping
Clods on a nest
The blind killing mountain
Will smash in your rest

They put up their fences
They built up these walls
The threw up high nets
To parry the falls

But the mountain is old
And the mountain's hot rage
And the mountain won't notice
Trifles to cage

The garages were crushed
The windows smashed by debris
The doorsteps buried under
By the tidal scree

Decades spend in a
Tumultuous battle
Dwellings buried under
The mountain's death rattle

Some men
With more stubborn than sense
Dig out again
Mended their fence

The ruins still stand
Excavated and proud
And every night's rubble
Cleared in morning's first light

For the narrows are deep
And the mountain too steep
And precious little light
In this passage twilight

And the cars rush by
And the trucks creep slow
Between the rushing river
And the mountain's death throe

For even the travelers
And the wanderers know
That the narrows are danger
And death to take slow

For the passage is narrow
And the road even so
And the boulders will come
When the hard winds blow

The narrows were decked
Through seven slow miles
With white cross reminders
Of the murdering wilds

A hundred of wrecks
Along the narrows hold
A hundred some lives
Lost to a murdering road

The narrows are hungry
And the narrows are dark
And some few who enter
Will never depart

And the slow-motion death of a murdered massif
Still claims new victims in vehicular flight
In this long darkness of the narrows twilight.



Empty graves, empty graves
What is left in empty graves?
Hollowed tombs and songs unsung
Stilled tongues that would still drum
Quiet hearts that once did hum
Who would lie in empty graves?

Empty graves, empty graves
How might we fill the empty graves?
With loud and laughing thunders
The flashes of life's brief lightning
The corn cut soon after ripening
Would they fill our empty graves?

Empty graves, empty graves
How will you fill your empty grave?
With fury and violent rage
Called to war, my glory's wage
Hear, now, the trumpet's page
Fool, would you fill an early grave?

Empty graves, empty graves
How would you fill that empty grave?
Scribbled pages from quiet age
Whispered song to silent walls
Private dreams in darkened halls
Lonely to lie in my quiet grave

Silent graves, silent graves
Who would disturb quiet graves?
What ore is sought from that tomb?
Why call them from their final gloom?
Who would mine the silent graves?

Silent graves, silent graves
When the trumpet calls, emptied graves
What remains in empty graves?
When last Trump blows, what remains?
Guts and dust and the bones
Dreams and lives, or quiet minds?
When they crawl forth on that great night
What will be left behind, in the terrible light?
What will answer that final call
Creep forth behind every caul?
What will they leave in hollowed halls?
Pits and holes and abandoned, falls
The dust of pillaged ages
The rattling of emptied cages
What remains when all is empty graves?

Build my cask with cheap cardboard
Bury my husk with lime quick-poured
Seed my heart with politic terms
I go to make covenant with colonied worms
Not for me the hollow cave
I would not leave an empty grave.


Love and Law

No mercy hath the Law
Nor hath mercy any rule
What light from a stream?
How sweet is the flame?

Justice is a maw
That feedeth right and wrong
The letter of a matter
And the settling of the blame

Love cuts like a saw
That severs old chains
Pretense and truth abandoned
Never playing a game

Flowing through the flaw
Wearing away the stone
Even the hardest heart
Reduced by dripping ways

The flame's fiery awe
In faith of final truth
To every pyre set
The burning right ablaze

Ever the twain do meet
Comes a boiling mist
The fire's extinguished ash
The steam's boiling flash

Law by pity corrupted
Mercy crushed by cant
Justice, be thou blind
Mercy, be thou free

In judgment find the right
In sentence find the light
Oh lord, see us as we are
And seeing, forgive

In hope of future deeds
Let the wicked live
In fear the present will breed
With past's bloody creed.

April, 2001

Bright Night

Starry skies dethroned of fire
Starry hills shining upwards
Not a city on a hill,
But a city of hills
A hill of light,
Honeycombed, cramped,
Creeping upwards and outwards and inwards
And where any purchase might be found
There is the city

March, 2001

Now stalks our subject, the rake
Come to steal eggs like a snake
In his cap a feather
He searches the heather
For some nest of virgins to unmake

July, 2001

Grant said when the fifes did toodle
He knew two tunes, one Yankee Doodle
Insidious beat
Nemesis entreat
For rhythm and meter less brutal!


A Walk Before Dawn

I stood with the dead in the dark before dawn
And above us the mountain burned at the sun
And before me like lanterns of light
The serried stones glowing white
The rich man's marble and the poor's limestone
And neithers inscriptions could I read in the gloom
The slopes above like pastoral hands
Held in still reverence for what lay below

And all the world in stillness
And the night lit alight
And all that was silent
And all that was calm
Lay as one in the gathering light

The wind drew across a quiet lawn
And the graves heaved upwards in fresh air
And life remembered what it was to live
And lost loves remembered what they once did give

And all was in motion
And darkness took flight
And stillness moved
In day's new might

I stood with the dead at the break of dawn
And saw that eternity, in balance, is dying
But of what remains,
That fraction is mine.


For Mathew Shepard

Oh you fearful wyrms!
Who, stalking in the night
With bat and barbedwire seductions
Prove your manhood with hate
And hunt your peculiar prey.
I wish upon you an inverti March
That the lamb you stalk
Turn on you a lion
Rend you to your bigoted bones
And sow from your teeth
A nation of Georges
Your brethren to reap.


A Slight Reactionary Fever

About the proud dwellings of Patriarchy Way
The penned cattle dreaming, for anarchy bray
Manors called Male Gaze and Transgressive Vigor
Muddy rows in sodden haze and possessive rigor
Drug down to the swamp's edge
Last clear space, a muddy ledge
Laid without foundation
Upon the muck of old nations
Scorning the white towers
The slum will flower
Begun with planked inferiority
Cured in hazy seniority
Straight in accomplishment
But soon to bend resentment
Ten-penny nails of common contempt
To fasten theory to rage, the attempt
Where the nails give out, others will do
Catchphrase repetition like glue
Bailing wire of prejudice
Odd notions of bliss
Duct tape and shims
Half-forgotten hymns
Pop culture trash and randomness
Like the scrapings of a broken press
Clear plastic sheets, to cover windows darkly
Aluminum siding, to freeze and heat, starkly
A peculiar Manichean construction
The product of shoddy instruction
Yet another tumbledown shack, dreary
Is built in the slums of gendered theory.

Bellefonte, PA 3/28/02


I have been misled,
Led astray
I have played the clown
Seen all the world's traps
And fallen into most.
I stand at the verge of a
Dozen other pitfalls
And measure my own
Endless gullibility
Against the strength
Of variable lures.
I have been
Of my own oubliettes
Of my self-destructions
Of mine own condemnation.
And yet I have each time
Dug myself out
Of my self-dug pits.
Survived mine own betrayals
Sat out the days of my sentence.
In my endless weakness
I hope to find my greatness
To wax
Mending torn innocence
Knitting cautious
A mass of scar tissue
To toughen my softness.
To heal the mangled fool
A crooked sort of sense.
Some would call it wisdom
I call it a kind of survival.


The Solipsist

We stand in halls of mirrors
Broken fractured imperfect
And in every direction the funhouse
Splintered shattered reflects
You and I and You and I
Parts and bits and silvered selves
Canted and bent and slivered selves
Look into the glass
Do you see reflections or a surface?
Are you the story or the word?
Are you the song or the tune?
Are you the glass or myself
There is the mirror
And there is myself
And both are real
Are you?


George Galloway

The Brotherhood of Man!
The Brotherhood of Man!
Whatever happened to the Brotherhood of Man?
The perfect dreams of the perfect states
And the universal bond of the socialist man?

The radiant cities of the future state
The glorious promises of equal peace
The righteous left and the starry-eyed?

The poor were led up on a hill
The kingdoms were shown, each to themselves
They promised the breaking of the command of bones
They promised the making of bread from stones
They promised these things, and there they led
Dazzled worlds to a ledge

"We are too weak
For perfected states
The revolution shall come
From poor lands' fates
You fellahin men
In your sun-browned lands
There, unfallen
In Eden stand!"

And the foolish jumped
And the weak fell
And the wicked prospered
Over a bloodied shell

And tyrannies rose
And blood was bled
And new worlds forged
In perfected states

And the ones that cried on
And the ones who had led
And those intellectuals bred
Now? They sleep in soft beds.

Memory is short
And duty a word
An easily forgot,
Post-modern word

Now poverty is blamed
On the poor themselves
And brilliant thieves
Have hid all the graves

The beggar's own culture
Deprived of choice
The religious creed -
This tendency to breed!

And the ugliest of those
Who once egged on
Squalid and foul
Fat-souled men
Building new cages
To hold men in
Took money for oil
Took money for blood
Pimping and dealing
For savaging states

And not the Texans
And not the corrupt few
And not the straight-forward
Profit-chasing crew

But rather the clever
And of Red views
That piously denouncing
Peace-loving muse

And the oil-money flowed
And the organized crowd
Funded in secret, by
Ba'athism endowed

And this one instance
And this one fall
But daily in darkness
Others will crawl

And by day and by night
For the pious and wise
Oil-money will finance
Their blood-libel cries.



The mist crawls in the darkness
Hugging the hidden glens
Curling through secret stillness
Hiding among the hummock'd fens

Where once vast forest
Held silence in rest
Small hole in dry mires
Hides quiet's small nest

Quiet corners that know not hands
Crawling vines choking the easy way
Ageless, not old or young or anything of man
Nothing and none and not known by day

The pen rips and shreds the facade
Inked sins tell their own story
Focus frames, tames, renders macabre
Still life stripped, lost, laid in glory

Quiet lies in forgotten gleanings
Blackened hills of slag and steaming
Remnants of broken earth
Rent from ancient hills
Torn and tugged, blasted and burned
Crushed, melted, made and undone.
Bent to some unknown devising
Left to memory, or puzzled surmising

The coal that fires process
The fury that some call progress
Light that lifts the heavy blackness
Might that stirs the sounding swiftness

Ancient days not long ago
Doomed and damned and drawn skintight
Ancestors made to forgo
Born and bred and bleeding in the night

Locked in lives of little light
Horded hopes of muddled heads
Fighting hunger in the face of blight
Brief prayers over the muddied dead

Sandy strand, salted lands
Murdered crops by hailstorm slain
Trembling stand, with shaking hands
As flooding rivers reap thy grain

Weep and rail until floods recoil
Starve with the huddled folk
Now famine's cold coil
Wraps round life's spoke.

Hunger like a wheel
Crushing all flat
A thief come to steal
What once was fat.

Punish the living and purge the mighty
Strangle summer and steal the riper
Brighter fruit, bind them tightly
Tie up the bough
Save it from the low
Sweep of some solitary reaper.

And with every failure, seed the soil
Stories like spores awaiting new toil
Though sown with weakened hand
Leave hope to reclaim ceded land

The curling crest climbs, climaxing, collapses
Falling foam marks the failing front
Receding waters leaving trough or sand
What human wave washes
Remembers man
Recalls the rushing wetness
Whirls in memory of the water's unrest
What scope for nothing, when something has past?

The order of motion
The chaos at rest
Dreams that build mountains
And silence's ill rest.

Death flees before the living
Quietness imprisoned
Life drives all before it, grinning
Creation becoming
The quiet melts
The lesson fades
And story braids

Man makes himself in every nook
Mocked and mauled and made and meant
Everything in its place, and every place in a book
Seen and strained and salted and saved

Skies of darkness robbed of their fire
Promethean mountains burning with light
Enthroned in brightness, livid bright pyres
Starry hills shining, stolen fury and might

What solace for the formless
Barred by form
Places and great fastnesses
And burial its home

Locked in light's prisons
Held in life's cell
Nothing dies by division
Reduced by the shell

Life lives in the moment
It comes and it goes
Story is a monument
Built to withstand throes

An end to all stories
At climax's behest
Nothing and narrative
At each others breast

Story rides man
Like a jockey rides a horse
Whipping and kicking
Over a known racecourse

What quiet for stillness
What end to rest
When dreams like an illness
Creep into the nest?



Internet down, and life drags to a halt
Weep and groan, and cry "not our fault!"
"I'm so sorry" and "We strive to delight"
What good excuses, in creeping half-light?

Pither and pother and stuttering slobber
Drooling and foolish, a momentary delusion
Titter and totter and failure's a bother
Dithering and brutish, efficiency's illusion.

Protestant ethic, an ethnic allusion
Drawn by bias and stir-fried collusion
Possible, curious: hard work's conclusion
Mothered or birthed by short days' occlusion?

Merit and blame sometimes will fall
Where one belongs, the other might hail
Rage and bemoan, or stew in wild gall
The race not to the fast, but sometimes the hale.


The Thaw

Today we are stupid, foolish, and foul
Rattling in cages, and ready to howl
Mouldering and wet, under a drizzle
All ambition lost, we melt or fizzle

The sun is a rumor, spread by spies
Morale-killing sneaks, who live for lies
Inventing, creating, a sickening song
Everything wilts when nights are long

Many sparks strike in hopes of a fire
How long a flint, before arms tire?
Burning a myth, and the future a bog
Sodden hours spent, rotting, a log

Could all the flames that ever were lit
Boil the waters away, dry this wet shit?
Mud to the ankles, and water to the soul
Life's a damp hell, fetid and cold


The Cloud-Break

Lands lit only by lightning
Flashes of brilliance
Burning fire, consuming
And all that shines at a price
Darkness the rule
Against which the exception rails
Mournful kingdom,
Throw down thy tyrant.

The glow that gains from the seeing
The burning that returns
The light that grows
The warmth that breeds
The warming breeze
The once and future sun
Still shines behind stormcloud skies



What, then, did you expect?
Something from the mind direct?
Noise more conductive to the muse
Or atmosphere reductive, some new blues?
A light in the dark
New-hewn, launch the bark
Hope for a clean and hearty howl
But more likely to empty bowels!
Terrible rhyme
Still will stink in time
Trash is eternal
Poor sentiment universal
Ill phrasing
Rotten for the ages.



A hundred lines poorly said
Fizzle and hiss without the spark
Imprecise almost and nearly not quite
Wayward bolts will miss the mark

One word too many and too much in time
Broken rhymes and muddied mind

Half-right and half-wrong and
All in nothing whole

Chattering muses and broken lyres
Marred sheets make for small pyres
Abused air and affrighted light
Murdered sense and wilted might

And the prosing whimsy
Of ten thousand lines' stench
Cannot purchase
One perfect phrase.



Having climbed high
and pausing on the rocks
At the breaking of the slope
I look down on my path.
This hill is high, and higher than some
But most? That would be a myopic sin
And my sight is still clear.

Hidden around the slope's sure shoulder
The main ridge looms behind my modest peak
Between is a concavity water-cut by ruin and wear
The great ancient mountain worn down like a tooth
The softer matter gone, leaving the hard fragile shards
To gum and cut in sharp old age.

The summit lurks somewhere above
A topographic crest, the highest point
The secret of engineers
Spreads open at my feet
Battles are fought at the breaking crest.
For every crag ever so harsh
Plateaus for a moment, a second, a breath
Before sharp drops
Mountains are high and summits higher
But more can be seen perched on edges.

The trail plunges steep
And I marvel at the depths
In such a small place
Paced from end to end not twenty yards
The clearing holds my world enfolded
The wide fields by roaring roads
The narrow cliffs in quiet woods
The wild slopes were so wide, and my path was so narrow.

Just as no life is lost in the living
And no cliff claimed in the climbing
I see the land as I lived it, and own not an inch of it
But what I carry right now.
There are many roads, and I have chosen mine
And I cannot see where it goes from here.
Soon for second winds and the peak, and mountain miles
But for now I gaze over the great valley floor
And think on where I've been.