I love a lofty mountain. It so constantly allures me.
Its steadfast, firm continuance enfolds and reassures me.
This love is unattainable, beyond my small control.
Its vastness cannot be contained within a human soul.
Though I can rest on sun-warmed rocks, or lie in mossy bowers,
and breathe the fragrant atmosphere, and kiss the faithful flowers;
though I rejoice to see a deer, or hear a thrush's song,
though I can almost touch the sky, I never can belong.
Though I can hug the hemlock trees, caress the white pine's charms
sing love songs to bold chickadees, hold beauty in my arms,
and feel the grace and balance of this wild eternal place,
the mountain's rugged shoulders are too broad for my embrace.
The mountain doesn't need me. It stands aloof, alone,
ignoring me, while lavishing affection on its own.
It gathers cool, clear water, which a passing rain cloud lends,
and serves it up in bubbling springs to all its forest friends.
There's food for all and plenty in the sheltering rocks and trees.
The bears roam freely, unconcerned with scolding chickadees.
Between the twisted chestnut oaks the mountain laurel grows,
and huckleberry carpets sleep beneath deep winter snows.
The deer move, lithe and agile, and scarcely touch the ground.
They listen to Eternity, and never make a sound.
The mountain nurtures tender seed, and sees the white pine's birth,
which, flourishing, returns surprising softness to the earth.
Look there,' neath rhododendrons in the early morning light:
imprinted angels in the snow, where deer have watched the night.
When daylight blends to darkness, all the stars will testify:
They've seen the blissful wedding of the Mountain with the Sky.
I love these things the mountain loves. This passion fills my heart.
So I must love the mountain, even though I'm not a part.
I know my love's unanswered, unrequited. Do not grieve.
The love I give does not depend on that which I receive.
I'll keep and give this gladness for as long as I am living,
for love is not possession, not diminished by the giving.
I can't possess the mountain, for this love will not permit.
But someday I'll return to dust, and be possessed by it.
From Outside In (Aron Publications, 2009).
Used with the author's permission.