Inez George Gridley
Beside the Mountain
Living beside the mountain all my life,
I’ve watched it dozing in the August sun,
Or bearing snow upon its patient back
When bitter winds of winter had begun,
You get to know a mountain pretty well—
Its likes and dislikes and each varied mood,
The way the mists of morning lave its feet
And deer go mincing through its quietude.
To see the mountains through the veil of dusk
When purple shadows lie upon its face
Makes time and distance seem of small import,
Lifts any life above the commonplace.
There is a grain of comfort in the thought
That steadfast as the rock, and looming high,
Though all of life’s illusions may go down,
The mountain still will bulk against the sky.
A Drink of Water at the Spring
He kneels before the never-failing spring
And cups his hands for water, clear and cold.
There is a second while his fingers hold
The vast horizon, curved and shimmering.
Here at the source he kneels, remembering
The child who pressed his knees in this damp mold.
The song of youth surged wild, and uncontrolled,
And age was too far off for reckoning.
He senses as he rises to his feet
Nothing can stop the water or the plan.
For him the cycle soon will be complete
Upon the hillside where his life began,
Gone with the water down its certain course
And just as sure to find again the source.
(from Journey from Red Hill: Selected Poems 1931-1996. Outloudbooks, Claryville, NY)