Before The Typhoon

I am as well alone as not, still the boss’s tiny daughter
Takes my hand at work saying, “Don’t go home alone.
It’s not good to be alone.” I reassure her, “I’ll be alright.”
At home I’m fine and well, but I cannot turn a deaf ear

Small sounds fill the air, a child cries without comfort
A dog howls, will not be still, gears grumble, wheels go on
A drunk vomits in the street as hard rain begins in the dark–
Beyond fatigue, I tire of the world, old, new, alone or not

There’s as much suffering as ever and it cannot be said enough
We all have a part in it, I’m never at home with that, listen
A gust brings down a billboard, there are groans in thunder
Moans in a mountain landslide, floods, there are tears in things.

The wind carries the sobs of that child to every room in my house.



Rayn Roberts
Jeju Island, Korea

Climbing Mountains

Out of breath but not energy, I tire on the upward path
Stop to see where I am. The summit’s not far, but I need water.

It is the taste of spring, taste of April I take, the icy-sweet clean
Can-anything-be-so-pure-snowmelt rushing right out of the earth.

This is how I want to be, clean and clear, no phone TV house or car
No worn-out concept, dead-end dogma, news of the dead or war–

Merton had his seven story mountain, but was a monk. I aspire
Only to know myself & poetry. That too is a mountain worth a climb.

To long for, wander out and look for the miracle in the mundane
The unexpected blessing in contradictions, the calm fox napping

A hare hopping by unharmed, the globe spinning from light to dark
In a field of floating stars, sparks rising from a camp-fire

The echo of a waterfall
That is what I want, not to get away
But get closer to what I need most and love, a place
Where the many faces of the mountain are one, where I sit
Allow the toil and grief of life to flow out of my mind, out of my body

Drain into the earth like water, a leave me for good.



“Climbing Mountains” first appeared in Illuminations: Expressions of the Personal Spiritual Experience by Mark L. Tompkins (Editor), Jennifer McMahon (Editor)


Cover photo for the poem by Rayn Roberts: View of Mts. near Hoh Rain Forest Washington