Word that a new topographical map of the sea floor has revealed the existence of thousands of mountains rising from the bottom of the world’s oceans sent me scurrying to the local tavern, where I found Trail Baboon poet laureate Schuyler Tyler Wyler in his usual spot in the dark recesses at the back of the establishment, once again trying to extinguish the tragic flame of disappointment which burns at the center of his tormented soul.
He greeted me as he always does, with these words:
“Go away. I have no poems.”
This is a self-defeating theme for S.T.W., who believes he was born 100 years too late, long after Americans stopped appreciating poems that rhyme.
“Every possible word combination has been tried already,” he whined. “I have arrived at the scene too late, just like an explorer who discovers his mountain has been climbed.”
But when I told him that there were now thousands of new mountains that haven’t been seen or conquered, he brightened up. When I commissioned a few lines of verse to commemorate the discovery, he positively beamed. And when I paid him half the total as an advance, he immediately used the money to buy three more drinks so he could get to work.
A giant lurks beneath the waves – a monument to time.
As stately as a mansion and as as silent as a mime.
I see its summit shimmer – such a distant, lonely place.
I resolve to face this monster and to climb it to its base.
Every mountain is a challenge to go where no one has been.
So the brave heart makes provision – boots, a backpack and a fin,
and with stiff determination not to falter, fail or drown
the adventurer approaches and proceeds to scale it down!
On the summit of Mt. Salty I’m exuberant. I brag.
On the pinnacle of Salty I have placed my simple flag.
I drink in the scene around me as I relish my moment,
then embark upon the process of a swift, controlled descent.
As I climb it becomes darker. It gets colder as I go.
But I’m grateful it’s not windy and there isn’t any snow.
With each step I feel the pressure to achieve this mountain’s root.
Do I have the strength and courage to ascend it to it’s foot?
It is nighttime on the mountain when I make my little camp,
I am tired but determined. In my tent, it’s rather damp.
As I close my eyes I see how I’ll defeat this pile of slag.
At the bottom of Mt. Salty I’ll look up to see my flag.
But my sleep is so unsettled. I’m untethered and alone.
I am tossed about in waves of doubt and buffeted by foam.
In my dreams I feel I’m floating far away from what I seek.
When I wake, I see my banner – far below me, at the peak!
What’s your mountain?