Tuesday, October 2, 2012

the rock

Monte Perdido, or "Lost Mountain" in the Spanish Pyranees, part-inspiration for this poem.

The rock

My heart,
this lost mountain
are the same, though
they may not look it.

Porous limestone deposits
leak water. No matter
how much it rains,
no matter how
much snowfall
melts from the peaks,
it cannot hold the
heavenly deluge.

All flow downward
towards the canyon
where all sorts of life
drink their fill, though
the heights are always
thirsty, calcareous throats
dry and chalky.

Topography varies
smooth and curvaceous.
Life is delicate up here,
minute flora, small
but singular, so unlike
their sizable counterparts,
carpet the landscape.
It is also rough and jagged,
terrain so temperamental,
loose bits make for unsafe
footing, though its core
is wholly solid.

Yet, it is not as hard
as it appears. It is also
soft, organic, malleable. 
Time has made its marks,
etched itself into mineral
tablets, life and its
perpetual alphabet:
the history of the world,
according to the mountain.

Deeply rooted, it endures.
It changes. Adapts.
It ages slowly.
Little by little scraped at
with elemental fingertips.
Molded by earth’s deep fires
and rumbling stomachs,
sculpted by changing winds,
from deep freezes to watery
graves that chip, chip, chip
away at it. Nature is an
unkind lover; sweet caresses
scar the mountain’s face,
but not its essence.

It is called “lost”
Because, on occasion,
it goes missing,
because it appears and
disappears from
different vantage points,
from this angle and
that distance.
Still, it does not move,
it is true, it does not
go anywhere.

Rock on which my love is built,
living a long, long time,
but not lasting forever.

--K. Castillo

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