November 18th, 2015

Montana Mountains

Poem: Above There Is The Mountain by Peter Hensel

Above There Is The Mountain

And at its foot, the summer refuge---

sanctuary in town and yards under spreading

boughs of evergreens

Beneath the mountain’s wild, they find

their forage: shrubs, wild plants and the feast

of dropped fruit spread about the ground

Those with antlers come alone

Those without bring offspring---fawns

following last year’s babes nearly grown

Late summer afternoons, they descend

like evening shadows slipping down the slopes

and fanning out within the town

By night they feed; by moon they play

How swift they are, even the smallest ones

with stripes and spots

Under moonlight, they suckle then break

for cover---like wind itself---practicing escape

Neither are claws imaginary;

real and raw are the marks

which groove some yearlings’ flanks

Quiet coming, quieter still in going,

all gather again at first light, a full herd

of phantoms ready to depart

before the sun soars above the trees

At town’s edge, the solitary bucks

begin to bound---sharp hooves pounding

respect into pliant earth

Near forest, they pause, heads high,

nostrils flaring to test the morning breeze

Hidden high beneath the mountain’s brushy

crown: a flash of eye shine gold green,

the presence sensed but rarely seen

-Peter Hensel

rock OUT

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