Word Play

Poetry Friday (mountains edition)

After seeing the majesty of Mt. Nebo, above Payson and Santaquin, Utah yesterday, I had to find a good mountain poem for today … and where better to turn than the poetry of China?


What’s this ancestor Exalt Mountain like?
An unending green of north and south,

ethereal beauty Change-Maker distills
where yin and yang split dusk and dawn.

It breathes out banks of cloud. Birds clear
my eyes vanishing home. One day soon,

at the summit, all the other peaks will be
small enough to hold in a single glance.

  — Tu Fu (712 – 770), Chinese poet

And in honor of tomorrow’s massive climbing stage, culminating in the climb up to Snowbird:


If you’re climbing Cold Mountain Way,
Cold Mountain Road grows inexhaustible:

long canyons opening across fields of talus,
broad creeks tumbling down mists of grass.

Moss is impossibly thick even without rain,
but this far up, pines need no wind to sing.

Who can leave the world’s tangles behind
and sit with me among these white clouds?

  — Han Shan (c. 7th-9th centuries CE), Ch’an & Taoist poet.

I’ll see you at Snowbird tomorrow.