I want to climb the holy mountain
ascend over weight of stone
and force of gravity, follow the
rise of a wide and cracked earth
toward eternal sky,
measured steps across the sharp path,
rest often to catch my heavy breath.
I want to hear the silence of stone and stars,
lie back on granite’s steep rise
face to silver sky’s glittering points
where I can taste the galaxies
on my tongue, communion of fire,
then stand on the summit and
look out at the laboring world.
I want to witness earth’s slow turning
with early light brushing over me,
a hundred hues
of grey, pink, gold,
speckles of Jackson Pollock light,
then ribbons of mist floating
like white streamers of surrender.
I want to look back down the trail
as if over my past, forgive a thousand tiny
and tremendous transgressions
because now all that matters
is how small I feel under the sky,
even the sparrowhawk takes no notice of me,
how enlarged I feel by knowing this smallness.
I want to be like St. Patrick,
climb the holy mountain full of
promise and direction and knowing,
forty days of fasting aloft among clouds
until my body no longer hungers
and something inside is satisfied
and my restless heart says here,
no longer dreaming of other peaks.
~Christine Valters Paintner
when we feel the world seeping into us, we have arrived somewhere, have ventured out of a shell, and have seen the dawn anew……
The world is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first,
nature is incomprehensible at first.
Be not discouraged, keep on,
there are divine things well envelop’d,
I swear to you there are divine beings
more beautiful than words can tell.
For man, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive. Whatever the unborn and dead may know, they cannot know the beauty, the marvel of being alive in the flesh. The dead may look after the afterwards. But the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living incarnate cosmos. I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth, my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. My soul knows that I am part of the human race, my soul is an organic part of the great human soul, as my spirit is part of my nation. In my very own self, I am part of my family. There is nothing of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surface of the waters.