Small Mountain


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Climbing Pinnacle

By Mary Oliver 

It is only a small mountain

as mountains go,

too stubby for any map.

But still, in my boots,

I climbed and climbed until at last there was nothing

but the blue sky

and a single final pasture

and a few not-very -tall trees-


and from under these came running

a fawn on its tumbly legs,

the sound of its wanting falling

from its pink, pursed mouth.

But I knew the rule:

Don’t touch it, or the doe

might never come back!

So what could I do? It almost

reached me

before I slung myself into a tree.


And there I was

higher even than the mountain,

perched for hours

while beauty held me tightly…

I didn’t move

until the doe came back,

angry and snorting

and she and the fawn tiptoed away.


And so I was free.

And there was nothing to do,

as there is never anything to do,

after rapture,

but to swing down

bough after bough-

to hurry down, field after field,

through the pale twilight,

to be greeted by the people

who loved me, far below.

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