by Randall Nicholas
You have seen them
at a great distance
like parings of fingernails
above the western clouds,
pale as the sky below.
They do not look like mountains
but groundless hovering spirits
maybe affixed to your eyelashes
you cannot blink or brush away,
permanent, yet unreal as the eternal,
and at such remove as to seem unreachable.
Still, there are people up there,
even towns, and you and I have been up there
frolicking and throwing snowballs,
but mainly climbing, climbing
towards their robust peaks,
shimmering above the clouds,
whose view they offer, on a clear day, of below,
it is told,
is complete and forgiving.


    1. look mr. nicholas (or whosever new internet persona this is), i smell what you’re stepping in; nature is great, i’m nature, you’re nature, everythings grey-yay! i read this as the author might be inspired by the tao de ching, or ‘the introverts bible’. so i like the inspiration. it feels like a meditation the author is sharing. meditations don’t have to be personal which is the best part about them. ‘i am open to all possibilities’ is my favorite. or even a simple ‘om’.
      i kind of like the ‘affixed to eyelashes’ bit because of the metaphor and word ‘eyelashes’- attachment to our senses, but attachments are just what we know. anyways- i look at it as, i feel if it was kept minimal it would’ve been better. not that minimal is how it should be, it’s just how i feel- how that’s reacted to is none of my business and i really don’t care.
      maybe you majored in english or mastered in creative writing and i’m just from the other side of the tracks or something, for i also see this as a linear or ‘left brained’ flow, so conclusively it isn’t my cup of tea because i’m just all over the place. i eat, make love to and breathe fire. i’m a lion, dragon and phoenix. is what is.
      dear h&h: 50 consecutive comments by someone is your last hope. i’m sorrrrrrrrrrrrrrry.
      since when did poetry have rules? i thought ‘we post on flow and feeling’ was your tagline for a while but you forget where you come from or whatever kids are saying these days. it feels like everyone here is unconsciously apprehensive of not getting the validation we seek because we need it, we’re poets-nobody gives two shits about poetry except poets and we know it’s the bee’s knees. i just don’t feel poetry is meant to be an exhibitionistic act. also, i’ve felt uncomfortable for sharing as much personal material as i have on this site, though the exposure and compliments were great, i was uneasy and (clearly to however checks the status of what logged in users are up to) back and forth with ‘should or should i not submit for review’- but like i say, ‘easier ideation shoves to the front always’. i’m just realizing i’m not into being exposed anymore, except when i walk my dog i like to say ‘hello’ to people. even writing this i’m sweating from the pits but it feels like it might be good to exhale outta my system.
      i have to thank you because the people here used to intimidate me but my internet persona is not self conscious about them anymore. opinionatedness really doesn’t mean a damn thing.
      (also i just need to get it out: i have wanted to say that ‘magick johnson!’ was not about basketball players, it was my point of view of what my secret thoughts might be like if i was surviving through the last stages of AIDS; and ‘tiny car’ was a draft i left up here but shouldn’t of- it was a suicide note. duh. ‘tiny car take me swimming with you’. i write them to move forward and get past leftover death fixations. i needed to overstate that too but strictly in ‘cryptic’ format i guess).
      thanks and stuff because i love you. you helped me and i felt like i was taken under yr wing, which is all i wanted in my life for a damn long time, h&h. numbers suck and fifty means nothing to me except ‘ha ha over the hill’. this has been the least expensive therapy session i’ve had to date. go ahead with the rebel rouser tongue-in-cheek shit, halifoxy. or not, considering i directed you to.

  1. Well done, Randall! We appreciate your commentary! Keep it coming!
    I enjoyed reading the poem. Apt use of personification (especially) and simile–it’s good to see some craft nowadays. I could tell you are a real lover of nature and see the earth in a different way. Not as a wilderness to be tamed or civilized, but as a natural entity and force deserving awe and respect. This is the true beauty.
    thx for sharing!

  2. (@ Cerebella- I think the recognition from H&H on his input is valid, whoever he is~ Randall Nicholas seems to be a genuine reader and writer of poetry. I can promise he’s not me if that’s what you are thinking. I don’t need to know anything else about him. Happy to have added someone new to the few of us that regularly comment.
    Enjoyed the imagery of the opening. Seemed like it is talking about crescent moons over time~ measuring the passing of time like so many nail clippings. Still reading the second half. Seems worth my time to ruminate on the word choices.

  3. Thanks, everybody, for your comments and support. I appreciate being appreciated by H&H veterans who in cerebella’s words are “all over the place.” I’m glad, Halifax, that you’re “still reading the second half “ of this poem—that enough is there to “ruminate on.” Quasimofo, yes, nature for me is a “force deserving awe and respect.” More, it is the source of our self-understanding. It gives us our metaphors. Also, your words on “craft” in this and your comment on The Little Cloud provide an empathic bridge between my poetry and yours, making me think they aren’t that far apart. What cerebella said in her comment on Picot a month ago applies here: “post modernity should be totally taken advantage of and driven past whatever edge you want; there are no limits now.” That’s how I feel about wherever my brain is flowing from, through poetry. The craft, the format, takes me past the edge of perception to my deeper sense of things. In The Gracious Mountains the images “parings of fingernails” and “groundless hovering spirits maybe affixed to your eyelashes you cannot blink or brush away”—how one sees the Rockies approaching Denver from the east—led me to the last line, where once we do or could reach the summit (of experience)—achieve that distance—we can forgive (embrace) our lives laid out completely for us below. That is the sense, the “high,” of being “up there.”

Leave a Reply