Way of the Mountain #189


Adrienne Rich

We lost one of our great American poets this past spring, Adrienne Rich. Her “Diving into the Wreck” (1973) was one of the seminal poem sequences of modern America, symbolizing the need for us to retrieve what we could from the wreckage of a society out of whack. As a young man, I was deeply moved by this book. In the section titled, “From the Prison House,” speaking of violence against women, Rich wrote, “underneath my lids another eye has opened” and suggested this eye sees “the violence embedded in silence …” She continues with lines that have lived with me ever since: “ …  This eye is not for weeping. Its vision must be unblurred, though tears are on my face. Its intent is clarity. It must forget nothing.”

It’s soon to be summer, when all the world is sun luscious. We have a lovely assortment of short poems to share with you. Remember that we will be honoring two poems that best embodying the Way of the Mountain with cash prizes — one of which I will choose and one of which our readers get to pick. Send an email to poetry@mountaingazette.com naming a poem in this year’s series of MGs that you found noteworthy. Multiple nominations are fine (so long as you don’t name your own poem :>)

— Art Goodtimes
Cloud Acre

Summer Solstice

Heron, butterfly,
dolphin, crow,
teach us humans
what we need to know
to keep the rhythms
of Earth’s ancient flow.

Hummingbird, bumblebee,
polar bear, shark,
remind us to treasure
our precious ark,
with actions that honor
the law of living

not keeping and having
but giving and giving.

— Amy Hannon
Raritan Valley

Arizona Saguaro

With the bravado of a
lonely bandito
the cactus
trigger finger poised
holds up the sky.

— Jim Ciletti
Pikes Peak Poet Laureate
Colorado Springs

Poetry shards,

found by the road side
or, in some cases,
off trail.
I picked them up,
knowing this is illegal,
and have kept them in my pocket ever since,
unable to put them back or
to find the poems they go with.

— Cathy Casper


Would that I could be content
to sit with you on the bank
beneath the warm sun
and watch the green water,
streaked by the ages,
weave through this canyon of stone
toward the sea.
But I will strip naked
and sink into the flow
as if to embrace the startling chill
would quell this longing in my bones.

— Lawrence Gregory
Oak Creek


my weird uncle,
my guru in drag,
sleeps next to me,
while I lie awake.
His arm is thrown over me.
He snores.

— Valerie Haugen
Co-director of the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival

All I want to be

is a bear
who knows where everything is
in the mountains
and how to get there.

— Norman Shaefer
Port Townsend

he talks

and talks and talks and talks
about listening

— Rosmerry Wahtola Trommer

Dear God,

I want
not to want.

How do I ask for that?

— Patrick Curry