up this high

up this high

up this high
my horse chipping
ice under hoof
looking down
over pine
in shadow
toward the valley
of dry winter
pasture in sun
my guide grown
in the moods of
this mountain
light assuring
me the horse
knows well how
to step & where
behind i see
ridge taking ridge
in distance
mountains of
unknown bareness
wood beast & man
up this high
known before only
in dream the wind
coming down
twisting back dust
on the sky gone
again the sky
deep with high
winds cloud
giving out
into blue
into nothing
you could paint
a buddha across

a cold up here
in the chest
from the snow
& this air
strained from
the valley & the
bits of life swinging
like washing on
a rough hung
line seen from
this far up
a cold of
the ridge up
there sharp with
light & snow
a mountain in
the white fire
of clearness

up this high
there is only
the now
the horn of
the saddle
a path
you’ve taken
are taken on
by someone
in hand
i trust
this wind
this hand
this riding
toward the
ridge a height
that holds
you in fall

up this high
you watch
in your own
good time
cloud off the
peak lasting
the breadth of
a dream that
wakes into
blue is born
out of blue
a spell
in its
your height.

Mt Satseto
Lijiang, july 2001



3 thoughts on “up this high

  1. sounds like a beautiful journey; this has both the ‘rickety’ feel of travel on ice and scree and the solidness of the mass on which you move up on.


  2. Thanks a lot, Dean. Was a beautiful afternoon at 3,600 metres in a gale of wind and brilliance. First time the horse slipped on the ice I had visions of myself hurtling from fir tree top to top down the slope. The guide was trying to assure me the horse knew exactly where it was going, but for a poor rider like me, every stumble of its hooves seemed like it might be my last memory of life on earth……… if you ever get to Mt Satseto in Yunan province, China, don’t pass up the chance to make a limited ascent!


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