Lost and Found in the Mountains

 

 

By Loretta

Mention poetry and most people’s eyes glaze over.  Mine do too, sometimes, depending on the poet.  And I would rather be staked to an ant bed than attend a poetry reading – most of the time.  There are exceptions, I’ve found, but they are few.  But there are still poems that stir excitement.  I read them with a sense of discovery, like wandering through the mountains and stumbling on a little village I didn’t know was there.

April is National Poetry Month.  I had considered honoring it by stringing together a litany of my favorites, but I didn’t want to put anyone to sleep.  So I have chosen one poem, a poem that holds special meaning for me because of my love for mountains.  The poet, Patricia Goedicke, was born in New Hampshire, was an avid downhill skier, and lived most of her later years in Missoula, Montana, so mountains played a large role in her life.  And she was influenced by the best, studying under W. H. Auden and Robert Frost.  The title of the poem is Lost and I hope you can lose yourself in it for a few minutes.  I wonder if it will take you to the same spot it took me?  We’ll have to talk.

LOST

Miles from here, in the mountains
There is no sound but snowfall

The wind rubs itself against the trees
Under its breath

If a crow calls it is nothing
If a branch breaks it is nothing

The birches look at themselves in the water,
The long white poles of their bodies waver

And bend a little,
The yellow leaves of their hair

Like pieces of far off stars come falling,
Hissing onto the lake

That is smooth as pewter; that is clear
And tranquil as an eye

Lost up here in the mountains
As if someone had dropped it, but no

The pebbles beneath the surface
Have no nerves, they are calm

If a fish leaps it is nothing
Surrounded by moss and blueberries

Flowers breathe among the rocks
So quietly you forget everything

Up here on the crusty grass
The bushes sparkle with ice

And no footprints anywhere,
If a twig snaps it is nothing

For nothing matters, once you have lost it
Down here in the valleys among the people

The sidewalks are full of holes,
Faint memories of far off lakes

Up there in the mountains,
In the great evergreen forests

If a woodchuck whirrs it is nothing,
If a bluejay shrieks it is nothing,

Pine needles slip from the trees, silently
They pile up on the ground.

– Patricia Goedicke

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