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I Love a Mountain
Jean Aron


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.




Jean Aron is a writer and hiker in Pennsylvania. She considers herself more of a hiker than a poet and, to that end, has a path named after her in Pennsylvania's Rothrock State Forest. Jean is the author of two books: Outside In, Collected Poems and Nature Notes, and The Short Hiker: Small Green Circles. The latter is hugely popular among outdoor enthusiasts in central Pennsylvania as it describes 40 compelling hikes in that area. Now in her 80s, Jean says she doesn't hike as much as she used to, but is delighted that the several State College area hiking groups she helped start many years ago are still going strong.

Post New Comment:
Lovely. I am transported by it.
Posted 07/31/2014 12:14 PM
I also love the unrequited giving. as well as the way the whole poem held me breathless and ended with unexpected finality.
Posted 07/23/2014 05:31 PM
"They listen to Eternity, and never make a sound". What a perfect description of a deer! This is a beautiful poem. Hike on and be inspired with more great poems, Jean Aron!!
Posted 07/23/2014 12:34 PM
I love the imagery, the rhythm, the feeling this poem gives. The last line is perfect.
Posted 07/23/2014 11:19 AM
a beautiful tribute to Nature's gifts...
Posted 07/23/2014 07:10 AM
Wonderful poem. This line especially resonates: "The love I give does not depend on that which I receive."
Posted 07/23/2014 05:12 AM
A haunting poem. If she's a better hiker than a poet, she must be world-class.
Posted 07/22/2014 11:14 PM

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