That Dark Other Mountain


My father could go down a mountain faster than I
Though I was first one up.
Legs braced or with quick steps he slid the gravel slopes
Where I picked cautious footholds.

Black, Iron, Eagle, Doublehead, Chocorua,
Wildcat and Carter Dome–
He beat me down them all. And that last other mountain.
And that dark other mountain.


Robert Francis, Robert Francis: Collected Poems, 1936-1976, University of Massachusetts Press, 1985.