|The morning drifted softly down and settled 'round my feet
And, thus in gossamer arrayed, my steps did lightly fall
Upon the path which drew me ever forward, ever on
And upward toward that lonely space where only eagles fly.
The forest's lacy silhouette enshrouded me complete,
While floated on the mountain's sigh the periodic call
Of distant thrush, whose sweet refrain but lately woke the dawn.
Each breath I drew was clear and blue; for there, I breathed the sky.
The peaks about assailed the heights with thrusts of jagged stone,
But where I stood, the hand of Time evinced its artistry;
For here, the rock was rendered smooth by touch of wind and rain,
Its roundness stark against the host pressed close and craggy by.
I quailed before that vast brigade, for never more alone
Was I than when I fell beneath their ageless scrutiny:
What hubris does this mortal dare, presuming to remain
Upon this shrine by Nature carved to please the Heaven's eye?
Forever spilled from every stone, the faint but certain sound
Of timelessness left all awash with ancient memory;
And yet, a silence held the space, a gravid hush endured,
Compelling even lawless winds to eerie quietude.
And there, ensconced upon the edge, in challenge to the ground,
There grew a single sapling pine in quiet modesty;
I marveled at this pilgrim's strength, whose meekness had procured
A place on this exalted height, to stand in solitude.
I felt a kinship calling there, a brotherhood of strife
With this unlikely denizen of barren wilderness;
Pariahs both, defiant of the petrous monarchy
Whose edict named this peak a place of venerable death.
There rooted in the hoary stone, from lifeless drawing life,
And worried by unflagging winds, its branches did confess
In whispered tones, the summit's unremembered history:
A hymn of ages, sung upon the mountain's very breath.
I settled close beside the trunk, entranced by this refrain --
So clear, it seemed, when all beside was quiet as the dead -
And through its melody there rang a courage gladly shared:
I feared no more the hostile heights, nor titan's treachery.
For now, the lilt of sylvan-song compelled me to remain
Betwixt the heavens and the earth, where late I feared to tread,
In homage to this humble tree, whose steadfast spirit dared
To steal the secrets of the sky, and whisper them to me.