At the Summit

It was the wind, perhaps,

Snapping at my sleeve

That made it seem unreal.

By then the air had grown

So thin it hurt to breathe;

The sound of trees would rise,

And gather, and collapse

About us where we stood.

Below us lay the gorge -- 

White water and dark wood.


It was so close to ease, 

That day: we had enough 

Of openness and space. 

In time the forest's sough

Died down, and we, descending,

Found poppies, a deer's track -- 

And all of it unreal, 

Even looking back.


from Uncertainties and Rest, 1979