On the summit when the breeze hit my back
I turned to take the wind on my face;
the moment of triumph dissolved in capitulation,
in wondering why I had made the climb;
a heretic’s question, with no orthodox answer.
They don’t ask it in classrooms. They won’t discuss it in
boardrooms. The doubtless mask is king.
Here is the mountain top, the pinnacle,
the prime location to laud success, no elbow room left
for the soul to find satisfaction. Tears run
down the slopes, hidden in the mists, blown aside
in the gales, always running under, why, why, why.
Who can solace when the peak is the basement
of the soul; when the fight’s end enlightens
deep in the secret heart the icy thought
on which resolve slipped? I am no better,
no wiser, no higher, a crossed-off to-do
list summed to nothing.
Where is the touch of Midas, where is my gold,
where among the scraps of left-over conceits,
where I fashioned strength, victory, knowledge
plated like armour on the image: when did this dullness
set in, was it always there? Here I salve my knees,
raw with kneeling to my own ambition.
When did this climb become such steep descent?
As I dodge along the precipice trail,
there’s a hail of deafening crescendo,
the hollow voices faltering up the scale,
but a whisper broke me.
In the fire He will not be burning,
in the wind He will not be moved
in the flood He will not be covered.
His burning voice will fire my flickering heart.
Some words from the poet:
This poem is a reflection on the underwhelming taste of earthly success, with thoughts of Elijah’s visit to Sinai layered in.
Roger Biehn is a corporate controller and part time poet.