Ash, Beauty, Bird Poems, Bowl and Pitcher, Courage, Death, Death Poems, Dying, Fear of Death, Healing, Hope, Life, Moss, Poem, Poems, Poetry, Ponderosa, River, Soul, Souls, Spokane, Spokane River, Strength, Suicide, Survival, Winter, Winter poem, Yearning
I wonder how many have plunged,
broken bodies against the steep,
unforgiving basalt, to flow far away
from the tether of this rocky outcrop.
There are worse places to die
than underneath a basking ponderosa,
on a glorious day in deep winter,
high, above the earth’s mucosa.
Here is heaven, its gods, the osprey and eagle;
they preside from piney thrones, regal,
and survey with indifferent contemplation;
from their perch, suffering is also celebration.
There are less noble ways to die,
than beneath the wings of geese.
See them glide peacefully
over the rapids of the Spokane,
rage of water in the ears,
shiver of blue sky, full sun.
Yet, if hopeless traveler made the steep climb
to this one, celestial throne:
its blood, a brilliant green moss,
its body, the bare, leafless skeleton of alumroot,
mountain ash, entreating with outstretched arms:
See, the promise of spring, and returning things!
If they were to navigate the loose rock,
and the treacherous path that leads here,
would it be enough to make them cling
to the rock wall in front of me now,
this low, precarious barrier between?