Climbing Ghazal

Below I play around with the ghazal form. Play around like this: I keep the long-lined couplets and the melancholy / spiritual tone. I think of the spiritual side of ghazals to be reaching but not quite touching, because we can’t know it all.

A few days before I tried writing a ghazal, climber Dean Potter died in Yosemite. I read about his death and watched video of him climbing. I think all of us have a part that wants to climb or sail or run long enough the world around goes quiet. In college I knew a couple of climbers who had plans to go west after graduation, to climb. One of those young men gave me his copy of Into The Wild which made me hungrier for a nomadic life and wide skies. So while writing this ghazal I thought about Dean Potter and the climbers I knew in college and my unfulfilled wish to be so strong, bold and wild enough.

As happens sometimes, my faith works its way into this draft too:

For Dean Potter And Others

The elegance appeals: Eden form on granite wall,
carrying only chalk, only one meal in the belly

He anchored mortality on a rope between two rocks,
stepping barefoot heel to toe, looking down, breathing hard

Make it spiritual: leave comfort money family for this
carved chipped pressed rock. Cling like clinging to Jesus

All we do is climb higher for a better view
thinner air, clearer mind. We are almost there

Break and bleed my sweet body. I am bored
of being so comfortable and afraid. Show me better

Tell me what you find on the face when you look up
or down, when you could be gone from this earth

Right now, I can’t have what you have: nothing. But a
view of the valley, wide sky, the moment before

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