Sunday, August 18, 2013

Philip Harnden: "Peter Matthiessen on Crystal Mountain"

[Curator's note: This poem is based on the 250-mile trek of renowned writer and naturalist Peter Matthiessen through the high Himalaya, a spiritual journey he undertook in mourning for his late wife.]

A month of trekking

     all gone

tinned cheese
peanut butter
     nearly finished

soon down to
     bitter rice
     coarse flour
     a few potatoes, without butter

now the common miracles
     murmur of friends at evening
     clay fires of smudgy juniper
     coarse dull food

one thing at a time

"Peter Matthiessen on Crystal Mountain," by Philip Harnden, from Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling Light with Thomas Merton, Basho, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard & Others. © Skylight Paths Publishing, 2007.

Photography credit: "View [of Crystal Mountain] from Shey Gompa, in Upper Dolpo," in the Himalaya, by Donato Cabal.

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