Climbing Downward – A Poem

* For Rachael, with thanks and gratitude.ladder mountain


When the siren sounded,

we ran to the cliffs.

I would have to

scale the rock face

to find safety.

I didn’t think I

would be able to find

my way to safety.

Looking downward, it seemed

to be an infinity of space

between where I was

and where I would be safe.

“Want some help?”

I turned and saw a

mystic woman. She was

dressed in a flowing garment

of silver and black;

it flowed around her in the breeze

that flowed so strongly

on the top of the mountain.

“I don’t know if I can do it.”

I said to her. I was so afraid,

terrified, really, when each step

could mean disaster.

She smiled at me,

and she spoke kind words

that lit a fire inside of me:

“You can do whatever you set your mind to. Come on, I’ll help you.”

Slowly, so very slowly,

I made my way down the mountain

with her assistance. She watched

my every step to be sure that

it was true and stable.

She helped me to find

the footholds in the rock face,

the depressions in the rock

that I could hold on to.

She kept checking on my

to make sure that I was

all right and kept up a

constant chatter to take my

mind off of the task

we currently found ourselves in.

I just told myself to take it

one step at a time,

and tried not to think about

tumbling down the mountain,

landing in the water.

I focused on taking

one small step after another,

and part way down, I knew

that I could to this.

We passed through a veil

of mist as we finished our journey,

and it blinded me temporarily.

When we got to the bottom,

I looked back at

how far we had come,

how high we had been.

I saw flights of stairs

rising up sixteen flights.

People were still climbing

downward, milling around us.

What had seemed like a mountain

at first was now revealed

to be merely one more

obstacle that I’ve conquered.

One more mountain that

I’ve climbed down from.

I looked at the mystic

that had climbed downward

with me and could only

give her my thanks.

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