Featured Poetry

HR. Harper – The Way of Mountains

HR. Harper, in his poem “The Way of Mountains”, takes readers with a narrator on a pilgrimage in the unforgiving high country for atonement. Juxtaposing the fierce, earthy, and beautiful imagery of the wild with all the intangible but burdensome things a person brings with them like “Virginia Woolf’s stones”, HR.’s poem is a suitable offering for the end of the year, reminding us to leave behind our burdens as he hike up into the fresh vistas of a whole new year. HR. explained to The Dewdrop, “An older brain carries the weight of a lifetime up to the mountains; maybe to jump off a cliff, maybe to sit in a cave meditating. But in the midst of it all, meditative luminescence shows that age, weight, mountains, and meditation are linguistic prison cells, that only language can empty and unlock.”

The Way of Mountains

I practice pockets
on these mountains too.
For instance, I tucked in
the embarrassing moments,
glazed with habit.

I climbed these switchbacks
with a backpack
full of moments like
Virginia Woolf’s stones
holding her from air;
moments too self-cherished
in kind. Moments belonging
because I thought I loved them.
Moments marking what’s not mine
by the steps
pressing up these corkscrewed

Dusty footing,
pine needles resinous
on loose talus.
I am ready to slip.
You know I am ready to slip.

Belonging or not,
I still move west, deeper.
A pilgrimage to cancel what
I owe.

Impartial steps are beautiful, I find.
Rock and dust ready this newer moment.

The sun holds its
goes and comes back.

I can’t forgive myself in river valleys.
Clemency only rolls off the sawtooth ridge,
falling in a sky
lifted by
22,000 breaths.

Only the mountains
pay death back.

HR. Harper

HR. Harper, a poet living in the redwoods above Santa Cruz CA, was a creative writing major at UCLA and studied in the English Ph.D. program there. He then worked as an educator in central city schools. Writing poetry and fiction over many years, he began to publish in 2021 and has published in several print and online journals since. https://brusheswiththedarklaw.blogspot.com/

1 thought on “HR. Harper – The Way of Mountains”

  1. A beautiful poem from a gifted writer, enthusiastic naturalist and strong social activist.
    Bob, Your interests and passions certainly are communicated I. Your writing! Thank you for sharing!

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