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Mountain Poems for National Poetry Month

So, we had NaNoWriMo in November, and now it’s National Poetry Month, with lots of different ways to participate.  Mountain Poems. Climbing Poems. Odes to Fear and the joy of being up high.

I found a grand total of 47 books about poetry by searching our library catalog.  Have any of you read any of them?  Do you have a favorite and it’s not on the list and you think we should buy it?  Did you know you can log on and make purchase suggestions?

Or maybe you have a poem you want to let us read?  Feel free to post it here in the comments or on our Facebook page.  Do it!

And, now, for your reading pleasure or dismay, an excerpt from  The Owl and the Cragrat, a collection of British poems based on other, more famous poems or songs, all about climbing.  (The image is from the title page.)

It’s so difficult to choose…the one based on the Jabberwocky…”twas chossy and the slimy stones…”  Or maybe the one based on Hamlet’s soliloquy: “to smear or not to smear?” Or maybe the take on Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” – “You do not do, you do not do, anymore, black shoe”?

I’ll just pick a little one, based on Wiliam Blake’s The Sick Rose:

The Sick Rope (by Marc Chrysanthou)

O Rope, thou art sick!

The invisible tear

From a careless knife,

In the gear hold-all,

Has found out thy core

Of perlon joy,

And this dark secret gash

Does thy life destroy.

2 Responses

  1. I’m currently writing my thesis on the environmental ethic of Robinson Jeffers and his the mountaineering elements in his poetry. Though not commonly consider a “mountaineering bard,” Chouinard often quoted his poem “The Cruel Falcon” (see “Pilgrims of the Vertical,” by Taylor (2010 Harvard Press)) as a kind of endorsement for high-risk climbing activities.

    I believe Jeffers is California’s premier mountain bard, a man who built his house from the coast granite near Carmel and wandered the Ventana countryside for decades, filling it with unbelievable human figures, god-like beasts, hungry hawks, deranged prophets, dull-eyed ranch hands, and the immutable grandeur of the Pacific coast granite. To quote from Jeffers’s 1938 poem “Oh Lovely Rock,”

    …it was the rock wall
    That fascinated my eyes and mind. Nothing strange: light-gray diorite with
    two or three slanting seems in it.
    Smooth-polished by the endless attrition of slides and floods; no fern nor
    lichen, pure naked rock. . .as if I were
    Seeing rock for the first time. As if I were seeing through the flame-lit
    surface into the real and bodily
    And living rock. Nothing strange. . .I cannot
    Tell you how strange: the silent passion, the deep nobility and childlike
    loveliness: this fate going on
    Outside our fates. It is here in the mountain like a grave smiling child. (Collected Poetry, Hunt 2:546)

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