V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




                —Mt. Ranier

The fissured stone, the mile
high plume, the lava flows,
not so much gone, as in
remission.  First, weeds
and mosses returned, then trees,
with pines scaling the higher slopes.

Birds followed.  Snow capped
the peak; trout climbed the new
sprung streams.  Mice, deer, and elk
followed the green dream up
and up with foxes, wolves, cougars
and bears trailing after.  Much

later, a path, later still,
this road, this pull over
at a great cataract
some ways below the lodge,
where water, ice but seconds
ago, plunges onto pumice

at a spot named after
a local mystic, so it
says on a small bronze plaque.
Everywhere, spring melt
hurls down slope in a torrent
of white foam.  Lost in a fog,

the mountain slumbers on.
Only the odd shudder
hints at how the mountain
might wake, for a moment,
from its deep sleep and roll
fitfully onto its side.

© by Nick Conrad



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