By Timothy P. McLaughlin
As is usual, as is basic as bread, each week
I heed the call to abandon this whirring machinery,
to gather my essentials and head for the hills.
Like any of us who live from the unsullied energy
of hidden places, I follow the trim-cut paths
with a familiar pleasure, easing along their smooth,
sure way through the mountain’s innards.
Seeking calm, seeking to shake off the static
collected along the denser, treeless trails of our age,
wanting to plant a prayer somewhere in Earth’s good garden,
I do it all well enough over the steady miles,
in the ancient dance of feet in time: lifting, gliding, pressing.
Before long, my blood thumps in waves inside the throat,
my pores weep my waters in cooling slides down the spine,
my sore bits and cracked pieces begin to mend;
everything within sighs with river’s easy sweep,
slows to breathe with leaves sipping and
streaming breeze like old men on their pipes.
Now, it’s often I’m called a little deeper still:
I must cut loose from the scripted route—jag through brush
in fleet fits and starts—allow the push of instinct’s firm,
weathered hand. And so it was today: I shinnied up
a slanted slope of continuous stone, my fragile self
held close to the jagged rock: needing hands and toes
and even knees to ascend and reach an unnamed perch.
There, then, my heart was completely alive again.
I raised my hands and was stretched up sudden
through the clouds along a blazing sunbeam.
In a flash, I was giant: towered above, pulled out huge,
someway everywhere at once.
And having glimpsed the world that way,
I’ve been a giant ever since, and all I’m meant to do is play:
cup the silver moon into my hands for a kiss,
splash joy in and out of dark oceans,
blow old fuzz and seeds from rising trees,
suck lovingly on fallen icebergs.