To Touch The Sky: Historical Poetry on Sir Edmund Hillary’s and Tenzing Norgay’s historic first summit of Mt. Everest


Years ago I started a collection of historical poetry that focused on the historic first summit of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.  After I lost an entire computer’s worth of files and work, I set that collection aside for a while to work on other projects, but always planned to revisit the Everest poetry.

Here’s a sneak peek at what some of that will look like…  The first poem in the collection…  Why We Climb

Why We Climb

It is the weight of our memories
that slows us in our aged years;
the spry, springing step
of youth so long remembered,
yet so long forgotten,
now in the shambling, shuffled state
of slow erosion.  Perhaps

this is why we,
who in our youth
do sometimes look
on slopes, ridges, peaks of mountains
distant, sometimes our hearts
will more than look, and set
in motion a stirring in our soul
to see what may be seen beyond
the peak that touches earth
to heaven, so our hearts will move
and our feet may not
but follow.  So later,

in the dim twilight
of our years, we may look
and smile once more in awe
at the night spent sleeping among
the stars above the roof
of the world, and still
our dreams rose higher.  For

 the night before the summit, alone
against the great expanse above
and the cold granite mountain below,
is etched as strongly in our minds
as the cold glare of the summit
climb.  Often will we

go there to remember
and taste electric anticipation,
the hunger before the wonder,
that drives us ever onward
to the next mountain, our hearts
will set our feet
to climb.  There

in our memories may we look,
we who stand in slow defeat
of age and time, to see
and to recall that victory
once was mine.

This is why
we climb.

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