Last year I went on an Ordeal campout by the Elkhorn creek in the Rockies. While laying wide awake in the middle of the light, my thoughts drifted along the lines of what I finally expressed in this poem. Because I have yet to find a way to format poetry, I am using an * to indicate stanza breaks.
In The Elkhorn
Beneath the ancient moon and stars
lie cold upon this mountain lea.
Chill, the mountain’s breath
flows by to penetrate
your layered clothes, your flannel
sheet, your sleeping bag, and your
woven tarp enwrapping you.
To the mountainside you are
the meteor that flashed above
bright Rigel’s eye. In Deneb’s mind
you are an insignificance
too scant for metaphor.
Lie cold and know
how small you are against the stars,
how brief you are against this ancient rock,
how glorious is the gift wrapped in flesh
that feels the chill,
that sees the moon-cast light,
that knows how brief
the number of your days.