On the Mountain High

In the beginning was nothing, nothing orthodox, nothing
unorthodox. Only the pure point of utterness
out of which are all things disposed. Still – from the mountain-top

you could see the Everything: south,  
the island villages, the fields and wildscapes, teeming life;
east: the mainland, its confusing folds and fallows,

its humped horizons. To the west: the Ocean,
stunning in its wilderness and bounty, the ruck of islands vanishing
in haze; and north: Atlantic boundlessness, beyond and beyond,

the mesmerizing dance of distances and the harmony
of things that are not.
If you stood, carefully, holding your balance and looking up,

you could see the clouds, the heavens and cosmos, possibility
of worlds past worlds, beyond thinking. We,
brothers and young, conquerors already, were relishing

breezes about our ears and the high whistle of a kestrel
in blues that were shading towards silver. We stretched our arms wide
encompassing the island, our care and holding,

and then set off, down and down, air-inebriated,
the leaps, the falls, the laughter;
he and I, fresh-water and blood-grouped, never to be separated, we

immortals, and how wonderful it would be,
to soar out, sustained on the broad arms of utterness,
together, over the waves, to be filled full, to be made whole.



John F. Deane
Illustration: Claire Palmer

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