Ridge Crossing
First Light, East Facing Ridge

Night-fire watch turns
to sleep, the soft glow of thoughts rolled
out on beds of feather and rock.

The arms of

whirling stars reach down,
a day rises on smoke and ash.


The afternoon river's
roar now the gentle murmur of
dawn, a chorus of dreaming fish

sings of schools

of birch leaves soaring
straight out of the she-goat's milky eyes.


Waking in wonder,
the darkness of the valley floor
stares breathless at the peak's rosy

blush, the face

of a mother play-
ing mad and a child feigning sleep.



Walking light, heading
south over a high mountain pass,
a pack heavy with simple things.

The rise and

fall of trees and snow,
a cycle spinning new each turn.


The high sheltered space
of a spruce forest dissolves in-
to low knotty shrubs, tangled with

the light of

a thousand moons -- the
patience which lives i n s i d e thin air.


The north-facing slopes
of the arduous life, where snow goes
to hide from the spring plants, who, after

long months of

snowy inwardness,
are ablaze with pinks and wild blues.



Through windflowers filled
with a harp's gentle praise, stepping
out onto scree and misty snow.

Total white...

the s o u n d of metal-
on-ice the only moving thing.


A pathless passage
through the daytime boreal night,
through downhill winds which give no rest.

A darkness

so complete that ech-
oes crack and rocks fa l  l   forever.


Moving on rhythm,
not time, neither up nor down but
boots and breath, the idea of south

pressing down

bursts as the body
stops and the earth lets go at last.



On the edge! The point
at which two snowflakes divide in-
to north and south, the children of

light and dark

parting ways, to meet
again on the far side of change.


Sight!  So utterly
limited, incapable of
focusing on two eyes at once,

of looking

out on the whole of
north and south, grasping it as one.


Returning!  Would it
be possible at all without
the distant green of the forest,

without the

steady rise and fall
of wind and rocks, of trees and snow.



Coming down, a rain
drop runs the south edge of a ridge,
the grain of a slope offering

countless ways

of becoming a
stream, of flowing then returning.


The further down, the
more limited things become: a
self-spun traceless thread feels its way

to well-worn

paths, to jeep-trails, to
the hard concrete used every day.


A day rises on
smoke and ash, eyes searching for whirl-
pool galaxies, sounds of water

and rock. Thoughts

turn, wither and dry,
feeding night-fires no one sees.

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Texts © 1999 Cliff Crego   All Rights Reserved 
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