The Lonely Climber: A Seed Poem

you are tired, terribly tired
tired of climbing alone
upon an unknown mt quazilla
your sons refused to join you
feeling uncomfortable in your presence
your wife laughed at your childish idea
preferring not to share your eccentricity
your fellow travelers are relaxing in cozy cabins
enjoying a moment of borrowed privacy
indifferent to your intent or interest
you threw your clothes and sweat
onto the dusk dyed trailside
ready to present your naked soul to nature
happening to see a multicolored stone
you wonder if it was dropped by the philosopher
or left over by nu wa while mending the sky
encountering a curious and cautious deer
you sing above the top of your voice
your favorite songs of the past with tears
as if to blast your whole being against clouds
but the echo scares her away
reminding you of your lonely tiredness

hoping to get my own vision of the valley
i keep climbing, climbing and climbing
each time i manage to come upon a little slope
i found another edge higher ahead
i stopped, hesitated and looked back
more times than i can remember
i know there is nothing for me on the peak
except a few nameless wild flowers
or some new branches of an ancient tree
but i keep climbing, climbing and climbing
pushed by the inertia of life

it is not a problem of climbing or not climbing
nor a choice between two different roads
he will eventually lose sight of human footprint
but there will be a trail once he is there
all he wants to do is to forget the human fact
he cannot really escape but leave it behind
down at the foot of the mountain
for now

Mike Yuan, also known as Yuan Zhengming in Chinese, is a 5-time Pushcart nominee and author of two poetry collections. Growing up in a remote and impoverished village in central China, Mike received his post-secondary education in Shanghai and Tianjin, worked as a college lecturer and published several monographs in addition to many journal articles before moving to Canada as an international student. With a PhD in English from the University of Saskatchewan, Mike currently lives and works as a property manager in Vancouver. Since mid-2005, Mike Yuan has had poetry appear in more than 700 literary magazines and anthologies across 27 countries.

Last updated August 03, 2013