Climber

By Richard Cecil

Featured Art: The Belated Party on Mansfield Mountain by Jerome B. Thompson

I set out from Poor Valley to climb Mt. Rich.

Light’s failing now. I’ll have to stop to rest

somewhere below the summit. But my palms itch

to clutch at higher handholds, though, at best,

I’d claw up to an outcrop of a cave

to hole up in. I’ll never reach the peak.

Why not just plant my flag here, grin and wave

at my camera set on auto-shoot? Why seek

a slightly higher level of success?

I’ll never, never make it to the top.

I’m told the middle of the mountain’s best.

The slope grows steeper past halfway; the drop

precipitous. But oh, to be one of the few!

Although they die and lose their money, too.


Richard Cecil‘s latest book is Twenty First Century Blues (Southern Illinois University Press, 2004). He teaches at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Originally published in NOR 6

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