THE MOUNTAIN MAN
A man of the mountains, unyielding, unmoved,
Hard as red iron-stone to sharpen blades,
And tradition-bound to the hilt of your bones.
I cannot walk with surety that I shall be loved
In that green place between the mountains,
Clutching what crumbles, and tripping on stones.
You dutifully drink from the well-spring of stone,
Without fear of taint or sickness come,
Filling that flask, collecting the wood, lighting the fire.
We shelter from the sky, purple with rain
And the wind blows up from the wadi below,
And the echoes of our own footsteps urge us on higher.
Thunder warns that the rain in your country is deadly
But you make love to it all the same, such is the thirst
Of the parched eyes of men; they are happily drowned.
It is in you to climb, and your feet are wretchedly sure
While snagged on thorns the dress I've hitched is torn,
But alike in us is the hunger is to see what is up, around.
There is but one bird and a thousand caves,
Countless bends and canyons carved, with rushes
Lined, and always another horizon rising up.
Still, I fear to drink from the cup I do not know,
Or invite great hosts to swarm my halls, who would
Have me changed, a slave to them, to but sew and sup.
I cannot spend all my days talking these same subjects
Over in-houses. Like you I would climb and hike, and swim
In the impatient pools tickled by the pink wisps of flowers.
There, I would be your happy wife for hours,
A woman who laughs freely into the wind
And makes the screaming sky, the roof o'er her bower!
Would that you and I could but dwell up here in stone and mud,
No guests to come a'callin'. I would let you lead me to the sky:
Above myself, and beyond my eyes, 'tis the mountain man I'd follow.
...But go the trail of goats, and the tired ways of other men,
And to places often seen before, no matter how fair the view
Or pure the spring: it is not a drink I'm fool enough to ever swallow.