In the Mountains, a Poem by Mark Strand


Happening to sit,
For no useful reason,
In such a cold, rough terrain,
We see a snowy herringbone of firs
Flush on the nearest mountain,
And are impressed.

But a moment later
We find our gaze has strayed
To a farther, fainter range
Where only rocks break up
The crust of a plainer cloth.
And beyond,

Balanced at the end
Of sight lies a long question
Of what is sky and what is mountain.
Until, by dark, the whole scene
Folds into one simple texture
And we are deep in something else.

For though we stared at mountains
Earlier, the dark has made us
Wonder where we are, and where
We were, and who we are
Thinking of where we were,
And, even, if.

– Mark Strand, Collected Poems, Knopf, 2014

(Image: Fir Forest, Photographer Unknown. Pinterest.)


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