Way of the Mountain #177

Welcome to MG’s new poetry page, Way of the Mountain.

That was the name given to the earth-centered, outdoor-templed spiritual path of Dolores LaChapelle, high peak guru who lived, wrote and wandered the San Juan Mountains near Silverton until her recent passing.

Her books on deep ecology have influenced mountain folk all over the world, particularly “Sacred Land Sacred Sex Rapture of the Deep.” Her alpine first ascents and deep powder skiing remain legendary. And her love of the High Country was an affair that lasted all her life.

Plus, she championed bardic poetry — lyric stories that speak for place — as one of her seven pathways to get our koyaanisqatsi (out-of-whack) society back in balance with the natural world.

Come hike MG’s Way of the Mountain with a selection of bardic poets from around the Rocky Mountain West.

— Art Goodtimes, Poetry Editor


Just finished first hike.
Feet sore but the mountains.
The mountains.
— Jim Rosenthal
Porter tester extraordinaire
Port Townsend, WA

Springing Tanka

Whirling barefoot in the icy grass
with open palms reaching up through the dark
what’s a woman to say except
whole oceans are moved by the moon,
why should I be any different?
— Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
San Miguel County Poet Laureate
Placerville, CO

In Spring, We Break Up

In spring, the ice breaks and water runs free.
Everything starts to move.
In spring, we break up

and head to Utah
green with mountain state plates.
Soak up the sun
bare skin on bare sandstone.

Should have known what felt right
through bitter winter nights
is not what we need in this extended light.

We move. Pack our trucks.
Drive with no thought of ice.
Our quick frozen-face kisses, hunched on the lift.
The too-many nights spent in the bar.

The heat we made
in our too-small bed.
All of it
melts away.
— Danielle Desruisseaux
Host of KSJD’s “All Lit Up”
Mancos, CO

Le Sacre du Printemps

Hops spark us nobly this spring
Old hopes not banked nor yet aflame
Sufficiently floral to herald summer’s wild leap
Bitter enough to honor winter’s bite
— Bill Nevins
“Committing Poetry in a Time of War” (film, 2007)
Albuquerque, NM

Walking Like Water

at the high end of the arroyo
you abandon your feet to gravity
you avoid straight lines
you are drawn to the outside of the curve
you inspect all cutbank holes
you waltz below boulders humming softly
your feet etch lines in the sand but
you never look back

in town others will talk as
you follow the grade into traffic
your curves confuse other pedestrians
you look for burrows where there are none
you walk in circles below trash cans
and even when you drag your feet
the ground will not receive
your passing
— Peter Anderson
MG Editor Emeritus
Crestone, CO