Paul's "post your poetry" Post


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Sport climber
Nov 28, 2012 - 04:05pm PT

Inferno, Song XXVI

Rejoice, Florence, as you are so great
That you beat your wings over sea and land,
And through Hell itself your name spreads far and wide!

Among the thieves, I found five such
Citizens of yours, making me ashamed.
And you do not ascend to great honor.

But if we dream the truth near morning,
You shall soon feel
What Prato, not to mention others, wishes for you.

And if it had already happened, it would not be too soon.
So let it happen, since it must!
For it will weigh upon me as I grow older.

We left the place, and by the stairway
Made by the jutting rocks by which we descended before,
My Leader again climbed up and pulled me after him.

And, proceeding along the lonely way
Between the ridge’s crags and rocks,
The foot did not move forward without the hand.

I grieved then, and now I grieve again
When I turn my mind to what I saw,
And I bridle my talent more than I am accustomed.

This is so I do not let it run where virtue does not guide it.
So if a gracious star or something better
Has given me this gift, I do not begrudge it to myself.

As many fireflies as the peasant, resting himself upon
the hillside sees below throughout
The valley—perhaps there where he harvests grapes and tills

The land—at the time when the one who lights
The world keeps his face least hidden
To us, at that time when the fly gives way to the mosquito,

In this way all was resplendent with the many flames in
The eighth pit, which I perceived as
Soon as I made it to the place where the bottom was visible.

And like the one avenged by bears
Saw the chariot of Elijah departing
When the horses reared and climbed to heaven,

And who could not follow it with his eyes
Beyond seeing anything but the flame alone—
It was like a small cloud climbing upward—

So each moves through the mouth
Of the ditch. For none shows its theft,
And every flame steals a sinner.

I was standing on the bridge to see from above.
As it was, if I had not held fast to a jutting rock,
I would have fallen below without being pushed.

And my Leader, who saw me so intent,
Said, “The spirits are inside the flames;
Each is bound in that which burns him.”

“My Master,” I replied, “Hearing your words
Makes me more certain, but I already thought
That was so, and I still want to ask you:

Who is in the flame that becomes so split
At the top that it seems to rise from the pyre
Where Eteocles was laid with his brother?”

He responded, “Tormented inside there are
Odysseus and Diomedes, and so together
They submit to vengeance as they once did to wrath.

And inside their flame they lament
The ruse of the horse that created the door
Through which the noble seed of the Romans came.

Inside it they mourn the guile that causes, even in death,
Deidamia to still grieve for Achilles.
And it is the way they are punished for the Palladium.”

“If, from within those flames, they are able
To speak,” I said, “Master, I so pray to you,
And pray again that my prayer becomes a thousand,

That you forbid my waiting
Until the horned flame comes here.
You see how my yearning draws me towards it!”

And he replied, “Your prayer is deserving
Of much praise, and therefore I accede to it.
But hold your tongue.

Leave speaking to me, for I understand
What you want. Since they were Greeks,
They might be put off by your saying it.”

When the flame had come to
Where it appeared to my leader the proper time and place,
I heard him speak with these words:

“O you who are two within one flame,
If I was worthy of you while I lived,
If I was worthy of you a great deal or a little

When in the world I wrote my high verses,
Do not move along. Rather, let one of you say
Where he, being lost, went to die.”

The greater horn of the ancient flame
Began to shake and murmur—
Just like it was being set upon by the wind.

Then, moving the tip back and forth
Like a tongue speaking,
It sent forth a voice and said, “When

I parted from Circe, who detained
Me more than a year there near Gaeta
Before Aeneas named the place that,

Not fondness for my son, not duty
To my elderly father, not the love I owed
Penelope to make her content,

Could conquer within me the passion
I had to gain knowledge of the world
And the vices and value of humanity.

But I set out on the high, open sea
With only one ship and that small
Crew who had not deserted me.

I saw one shore after another all the way to Spain,
As far as Morocco, including the island of Sardinia
And the others the sea bathed all around.

My crew and I were old and slow
When we came to that narrow strait
Where Hercules set up his landmarks

Indicating where men should not venture beyond.
On my right hand I left Seville behind,
And on the other I had already left Ceuta.

‘O brothers,’ I said, ‘who through a hundred thousand
Perils have reached the West,
To this so brief vigil

Of our remaining senses.
Do not wish to deny experience
Behind the sun, in the world without people.

Consider your heritage.
You were not born to live like brutes,
But to pursue virtue and knowledge.’

I made my crew so eager
For the journey with this little speech
That I hardly could have restrained them.

We then turned our stern toward the dawn,
Making wings of our oars in this mad flight,
Always gaining on the left-hand side.

All the stars of the other pole were now
Seen by the night, and our own was so low
That it did not rise from the ocean floor.

Five times rekindled and as often put out
Had the light been beneath the moon
Since we had entered the great passage,

When a mountain appeared before us, dark
In the distance, and it seemed so tall—
Higher than I had ever seen before.

We cheered, and soon turned to tears.
For a storm rose from the newfound land
And struck the front of the ship.

Three times it whirled us around with all the waters.
The fourth time it raised the stern upward,
And moved the prow below, as it pleased the Other,

Until the sea again closed over us.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
Panorama City, California & living in Seattle
Nov 28, 2012 - 08:37pm PT
Pullups, bleachers
Pullups, bleachers
What is
This strange creature?

(a journal entry the evening of a mid 70s workout in Boise, Idaho)

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 28, 2012 - 08:55pm PT
“What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death, In years that bring the philosophic mind.”

Wordsworth, not my poetry Paul, but every day when I think of you, and how you guided me through my illness, while you suffered so, I am stronger than I ever could be if you hadn't been there. If I can give back even a fraction of what you gave me, I will have shined a light for some suffering soul...

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 29, 2012 - 04:16pm PT
Recuerdos de la Universidad del Pacifico

Does she still play?

No way, I say, with my wooden-handed, slabby-sided fingers.

And I remember she could play faster than this typewriter can on a good day on Starbucks Bold.

Or text.

Give me a brake. Just f*#kin‘ stop.

Next? The Organ Symphony by St. Saens.

Then the real climbing will begin.

Just fugue it, I'm not as free as that. Bratuitous, fame-dropping little word-slinging little, chees-smoking little versifier and sometimes liar.


Sport climber
Nov 29, 2012 - 07:00pm PT
Filmatic poetry
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So is this
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Sport climber
Dec 20, 2012 - 03:49pm PT
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Woody the Beaver

Trad climber
Soldier, Idaho
Dec 20, 2012 - 04:08pm PT
Nude Ascending King's Peak

Hot, even in the winter above 13,000'. Still air, bright
Sun, big pack, big boots, loose snow. The blownclean
North Ridge would have been a stroll, but oh no, had to
Think about it, figured right up the East Face, save an hour.
So now, plowing powder, 500' to go.

Glasses fogged, and sweat burns eyes.
Below zero, but hot. Something has to go.
Shirt first: drop and prop the pack in snow, and peel.
Up again. The air licks hair on moving arms,
Icetoasts up nippletips. Wooo.

Another 100', and a flattop boulder, snow-free.
Red quartzite: a dry lichen-frosted
Place to sit, puff, whackfree the ice-stopped bottle.
Frozen gaiters off. Boots off. Hairy wool pants off.
Pants into pack – boots and gaiters on again.

Up again, snowscrapes over gaitertops.
Raw perfect brightness presses up busy
On hams, rump and crack like hot hands
Up and up, smooth air a perfect fit. In bright sun
Above the Uinta River cirque, a blue moon.

Up to the blowfreed ridge, boulders and the cairn.
Shuck the goddamned pack, stumble down and west
Over clacking rocks to look out over all the Yellowstone.
Peaks: tent-topped Wilson, Powell, and
That pointy one. Lovenia, Red Castle over to the right.

Bare. Freeze pinches skinthick over heated
Squeeze of blood. Skin burns pinchbite
Hot! Hot! – rough and soft, boned and dangle – and
Tautbloods to the bite. Standing: raw in light from a fargone
Star, bloodhot in the evercold between the suns.

Sport climber
Dec 30, 2012 - 04:45pm PT
Manuscript found in a book of Joseph Conrad

In the shimmering countries that exude the summer,
the day is blanched in white light. The day
is a harsh slit across the window shutter,
dazzle along the coast, and on the plain, fever.

But the ancient night is bottomless, like a jar
of brimming water. The water reveals limitless wakes,
and in the drifting canoes, face inclined to the stars,
a man marks the limp time with a cigar.

The smoke blurs grey across the constellations
afar. The present sheds past, name, and plan.
The world is a few vague tepid observations.
The river is the original river. The man, the first man.

Jorge Luis Borges

Sport climber
Dec 30, 2012 - 04:53pm PT

Here too. Here as at the other edge
Of the hemisphere, an endless plain
Where a man's cry dies a lonely death.
Here too the indian, the lasso, the wild horse.
here too the bird that never shows itself,
That sings for the memory of one evening
Over the rumblings of history;
Here too the mystic alphabet of stars
leading my pen over the pages to names
Not swept aside in the continual
Labyrinth of days: San Jacinto
And that other Thermopylae, the Alamo.
Here too the neverunderstood,
Anxious and brief affair that is life.

Jorge Luis Borges

Sport climber
Dec 31, 2012 - 09:49am PT
Year's End

Neither the symbolic detail
of a three instead of two,
nor the rough metaphor
that hails one term dying and another emerging
nor the fulfillment of an astronomical process
muddle and undermine
the high plateau of this night
making us wait
for the twelve irreparable strokes of the bell.
The real cause
is our merky pervasive suspicion
of the enigma of Time,
it is our awe at the miracle
that, though the chances are infinite
and though we are
drops in Heraclitus' river,
allows something in us to endure,
never moving.

Jorge Luis Borges
Fossil climber

Trad climber
Atlin, B. C.
Dec 31, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
From A Biologist's Boreal Bestiary, a collection of
biological doggerel by WM.

The Misguided Shrew
(Sorex erronius)

Once upon a morning dreary,
While I yawned with eyes all bleary,
Pecking at the keyboard of my
Ancient Commodore,

Suddenly I heard a scurry,
Something tiny, fast and furry
Zipped across the planking of my
Little cabin floor.

Ere I had a chance to spot it,
Its acceleration shot it
Up the pantleg of my jammies and
I roared a frantic roar!

On my quadriceps I bashed it,
Beat it frantically and smashed it,
Shook it dead from out my pantleg –
‘Twas a wee insectivore!

I suspect it meant no malice
Racing up toward my phallus,
But for damn sure, it will try that sly
Maneuver... nevermore!

Loose Rocks

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Dec 31, 2012 - 02:51pm PT
Holding on too tight
I feel the pump burn from fright
Anchor not in sight

Dec 31, 2012 - 11:07pm PT
Out of the warmth of the house I go,
To set my feet on the newly fallen snow,
To look in the mailbox on the way,
just to realize it is a holiday.

Into the warmth of the house I go,
To get my feet out of the newly fallen snow,
To look in the refrigerator as I pass its way,
Shut the door and walk away,
my check didn't come the mail doesn't run on holiday.


Sport climber
Jan 8, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
Matsuo Basho
[Click to View YouTube Video]
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Sport climber
Jan 20, 2013 - 04:52am PT

New Year's day

year after year
the monkey wearing
a monkey mask

slowly spring
is making an appearance
moon and plum

glass noodles
the winning vendor today
has young greens

Opening the mouth at the house of Shirya

opening a tea jar
I long for the garden
of Sakai

salted sea bream
its gums are also cold
in a fish shop

memorial service
five gallons of saké
like oil

moon and flowers
the stupidity pricked by a needle
entering the coldest season

sweeping the garden
the snow forgotten
by the broom

banked fire
on the wall a shadow
of the guest

Sport climber
Jan 20, 2013 - 05:00am PT
a lone crow
sits on a dead branch
this autumn eve

old pond
a frog leaps into
the sound of water

Sport climber
Jan 23, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
A Whitered Tree

Not a twig or a leaf on the old tree,
Wind and frost harm it no more.
A man could pass through the hole in it's belly,
Ants crawl searching under its peeling bark.
Its only lodger, the toadstool which dies in the morning,
The birds no longer visit in the twilight.
But its wood can still spark tinder.
It does not care yet to be only the void at its heart.

Han Yu

PS: The "void at its heart" is both the hollow inside of the tree and the Buddhist ideal of the mind freed from the illusion of the material body.

Sport climber
Jan 23, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
You're as good a poet as any of the best poets I have ever read, DT, and I have read a few. Your poem draws me in. I'm in that poem...


Social climber
Colorado Plateau
Feb 6, 2014 - 02:43am PT
I do not resemble your other lovers, my lady
should another give you a cloud
I give you rain
Should he give you a lantern, I
will give you the moon
Should he give you a branch
I will give you the trees
And if another gives you a ship
I shall give you the journey.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Feb 6, 2014 - 03:34am PT

Brimming with intent a book unfolds its secrets:
I’m searching for something
It’s in here in the words.

Flipping to the contents page I see a little mark:
P. 4, WAR JOURNAL, SECRETS, it reads, in tiny caps
That remind me of how Dad wrote.

Closing the book, laying it down, I reach into my desk drawer:
Here is my father’s journal
And he was a lieutenant, not a colonel.

His words are all square and capitalization abounds:
His wit and his worries, there with no flurries,
Just the daily grind of trying to die for your country.

Why can I not cry more for the dead who went on living
After the men he befriended went down?
The survivors suffered the loss, not the dead.

It’s what my Dad said
In fountain pen
Way back when.

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