Tag Archives: poetry

Guide

There are no tourists now

No trekkers following close behind

No hikers underestimating the distance

Overestimating their stamina or agility

Almost a whole year’s income forfeited

The guide paces his village

His friend, porter when they’re on the trails

Leading the curious from around the world

Over steep mountain passes

Counselling on how to safely pass a Yahk caravan

Returning from a trading journey in Tibet

Designing routes to accommodate trekkers’ demands

Limitations or schedules or delays due to altitude sickness,

is anxious too but not so anxious as the guide

Who thought he could endure month after month at home

Being a grandson a son a husband a father a farmer

Stationary

His friend says we will rebuild and we will soon again traverse

High mountain passes through Langtang, Annapurna, and the mighty Manaslu

We will stand at the edge of the world and watch the clouds fill up

the depths of Kali Gandhi Gorge at Khopra Ridge

They will return and we will guide them again, my brother

But the guide is inconsolable

He retreats into himself and does not eat

No one will remember us he tells his friend

The world is afraid of us now

The trekkers are gone forever and we are nothing

In the West, we do remember

Two humble young men who became guardians

To us in an unfamiliar and perilous landscape

Its spectacular natural beauty eluding capture

In photographs, its vistas defying description through mere words

Two who educated who held us when we ran out of breath

Whose patience coaxed us to the survival side of our trepidations and fears

Whose care and kindness effected permanent changes within us

We do remember

With a bond borne of gratitude and love

And upon receipt of our nominal gift the guide sends his quiet message

Namaste. Thank you, mama and papa, for thinking of us

It’s so strange having no work when we are always ready

But you are right maybe

We will all somehow make it through to 2022

One day maybe we will again see you

I read his words through a blur

And hope somehow that distant dream might come true.

Connecting roots

In the silence between morning birds’ song

whispered comforts or threats traverse unseen

Communities of canopies

Neighbourhoods of heartwood sheltered deep

for decades or centuries

Human steps tread past or with bravado some ascend

lookout holding steady trunks endure

fragile limbs of women and men

Night gatherings moonlit shadow shapes

sacred swaying to the rhythm of stars

Record keepers

inhaling exhaling all glory all decay all debris

Beyond the continuum of this holy life

our human eyes may glimpse a light amid seas of possibility

Yet misinterpret again and again the message of our role

and what could be

We occupy this fleeting existence so temporarily

what has been and always there will be

beyond you and me beyond all of us in our collective lack

Despite our elevated posturing our experiments our narcissism

our valour even our creativity

After we again have surrendered and ground ourselves back to dust

There will remain the one constant one glory whose truth

always was and ever will guarantee

Survival of the Tree

Hands

We were slow shuffling up Pilot Street

I promised I’d show you where fairies reside

Sea was roiling west winds were sighing

Stop for flowers we lingered no consultation between

Sometimes kindred depend on synchronicity not words

Man and his camera honouring life beneath stoic Garry Oak

We decide it’s phenomenon worth brief watching

But it’s the mirror on a trunk affixed askew

Spoke to me about what to do

And I like the way you smiled your acquiescence

Raise your small open hand you gentle friend spirit

I know the difference between a wave of hello and

Help I need rescue