On the Scree
by Davide Trame
The path is zigzagging, narrow and steep,
logs hammered in keep it tight to this
bright cheek of gravel.
It’s hard to climb but it’s
the effort I want and I need despite
the pain in my foot, a pain
that like most of anything else
is what one can’t escape.
Maybe it will leave — I want to think — the pain,
because at one point everything changes and leaves,
but slowly, so slowly, because nothing is a flash,
but just a breathing and enduring on a path
like these steps that negotiate each stone
under the sole, each uneven and honed speck
of the ridge’s skin, each drop of sweat
trickling down the back
while the blue sky
its silence on the bones.
A still chamois stares at us down there
from a rock, one chamois only, alone.
But no, you take in at once
others running and jumping and no sound comes,
their feet looking like sailing on air.
We climb on, the one on the rock, king or guardian,
has not moved, keeps staring, and the dog sits
for a moment, spellbound, and stares too. Statue-like
under the sun.
And the top of the mountain, the path pointing
towards it, like at the top of a triangle,
stares down, openly covers us
with its stare.
So, call it faith all we come down to:
feeling an unframed eye, calling for it,
bearing it with the force of gravity and pain
and, suspending the search for a name,
enduring the brightness that spaces and cuts in.
Davide Trame is an Italian teacher of English. He has been writing poetry in English since 1993.