Friday, April 1, 2011

Directions to a Friend

" ...and behold a ladder set up on the earth,
and the top of it reached to heaven."
—Genesis 28:12,

To get to Old Rag Mountain drive past Peola Mills,
past Nethers Post Office, past white shadbush niched in ledges,
past black locust invading meadows crowded by sassafras,
past poke milkweed the color of your shirt.

Climb when white trillium spreads across hillsides.

With a whittling knife made from a branch of softwood
I whittled Jacob's Ladder out of red spruce
and hooked a hammock from Stony Man to Hawksbill.

Sleep when you tire of scrambling over boulders
stop to look at mountain laurel, butterfly weeds,
and cracks eroded by glacial ice.

When your breath catches
and you taste salt—rest,
recall how we parsed words.
Stand near the precipice,
caught between land and flight.

Remember how we climbed and scrambled,
our knees scraped on lichen.
We spoke of building a house in the hills
until a lowering sun muted our words.

Now you write to say you are building a house
in the heart of the heart of the hills

Select hardwoods.

Linda Watskin ©2011
Day 1
Poetic Asides Prompt


  1. What a gorgeous piece of writing, Linda. I love the imagery in it.


  2. "Stand near the precipice / caught between land and flight." Such a great line, and I like the idea of the poem: directions to a friend. Perfect last line.

  3. This is incredibly beautiful and moving. I feel the solid love and the wonder at past planning and then dissolution of dreams -- it brings a strange sense of peace.

  4. Well done. Where I come from, we call those country directions.

  5. ya th e imagery is great...thanks for sharing