Poets & Mystics

My friends who climb mountains

never sing about mountains.


My friends who sing but never climb

sing about mountains—

of their distant beauty

drawn in green and white

against the horizon.


My friends who climb

have seen friends

fall to death when

frozen ropes



They know the treachery of

handholds, black thunderheads,

thin air,

ice walls, silver-mirrored,

that illuminate hidden ascents,

or sometimes blind.


They do not sing of mountains

because no words come to them

when they climb; they just climb,


their journey beginning with the first breath,



—Paul Totah

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