Mountain Path September
In Canto 30 of Paradise, Dante
sings of the laughter of grass.
I am almost there now. Running
on Angel Loop, I rub shoulders
with tall mountain marigold
and goldeneye, a festival
of yellow, some blue
trumpet shapes, some red.
My favorite bald rock stretches
steep into the yellow. Yesterday
I tickled grass. I wanted to
hear laughter, but it was just
crickets rubbing legs in the wind.
I will likely never understand
why we need darkness when
we yearn and strive for light. I get
the concept of duality. Only my heart
is obstinate and wishes to believe
pure light is possible. Meanwhile
a lizard dives face first under
a ledge as I ponder scorpions
and roses. I wish the lizards trusted me.
To them I am one of the shadows
of darkness. Still I want to belong
to light, to laughter, to lizards
believing in love. Today
grass tickled me. There are asters too
now, yellow centers full of summer
scent and whispering goodbye.
by Beate Sigriddaughter, first published in Desert Exposure (October 2014) as their annual poetry prize winner.
Editor’s Note: This poem’s imagery repeats from one line to the next, allowing the narrator’s thoughts to arrive within the context of a walk. By the end, the reader has learned something about the seasons, uncertainty, and the usefulness of hiking (so says the editor who loves to hike).