On the way to Rainy Pass--
by Tom Moore

    I see you, Mr.
    Snyder, reading
    Milton by

    your flash
    light, the moon
    light, but

    mostly by
    your own light,
    resisting

    such a grand,
    round will.  How
    would Milton

    think on Sauk
    Mountain, with
    the horse

    flies, the lists
    of ridges ringing in
    his English

    mind?  The
    flames you spot
    in God's

    world--
    cleansing, renew-
    ing--are to him

    a scourge, the
    God-eyed souls
    of trees

    flaking into
    tinder, manna
    falling from

    the sun.
    He needs to see
    the talus

    crumble, the
    burned pinecone,
    its sheathes

    twisted, the
    black grasshoppers
    lunging into

    space.  Why, if
    all is foreordained, do
    you wedge your

    being into the
    trail that winds
    up Glacier

    Peak, saying
    as you kick the
    stone in good,

    "There, you
    sucker, that'll
    do you," when

    you know the
    snow, the run-off,
    when the dry

    bed swells,
    will rip it out
    again, and

    another year
    will be lost above
    the tree line.  

    You get thrown
    out of Eden, again
    and again, so

    often you get
    frequent hiker
    miles, through

    there's almost
    no place left to go:
    just one high

    pass, no
    yews or fern to
    shelter sun, a

    small stream, not
    inviting or forbidding
    you to be

    yourself:
    "adhamah": the
    dust whirling in

    the August
    heat at eight-
    thousand

    feet, the
    valley safely pinned
    to earth.






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