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Epics & Epiphanies



click here to read the original article in The New York Times


From the moment I read The New York Times article “The Heart Stopping Climbs of Alex Honnold” by Daniel Duane, printed March 2, 2015, I was overtaken, the way one moment you can be standing in the ocean staring back at the shore and the next you are digging sand out of your eardrums.  I wasn’t prepared for the rogue wave that toppled me with the sheer force of the parallels between rock-climbing, especially Honnold’s approach to it, and Life with a capital L.  Suddenly, I was seeing rock-climbing metaphors everywhere I looked.  


I do not hide behind my poems

I am out under the open sky

hand over hand

looking for chinks in the language,

lines on an unlined page

to slip my fingertips into,

to grab hold of and pull myself up. - 

I have no reliable safety net

I have no pickax

but this pen, these hands, 

these words

With them I chip away at the rough surface

of what I’m supposed to write

to arrive at what I must write,

what will sustain me;

to arrive at the summit

of my own private mountain,

the pinnacle of my own private epic.

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