Monday, August 5, 2019

way up, north?

terrain and compass argue

I have grown up on the lower slopes 
of a great mountain in the Smokies,
Mt. LeConte, hard by a dropping creek 
that drains a major portion of the mountain,
the compass says the mountain is to our south,
but my senses of place think “up’ must be north,
the cool winds that regularly fall down the mountain
don’t fit the idea of “warm and soothing” 
that I would expect from the south,

weather often comes from down and to the left of our cabin,
and it’s hard for me to imagine Canada down from me,

I know that a measurement of whether I’m still “with it”
is if I know where I am as to year, month and day,
“Who is the President?”
in all such reckoning
who I am exists within relationship,

how troubling it is to my sense of self
that the cardinal points here are so inverted
compared to the rise and fall of the world around me.

by Henry H. Walker
July 27, ‘19

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