The Photograph

Today I sent a friend, far distant from these shores,
A photo of myself.
The camera caught an ageing, battered man
Held captive in a wheelchair,
His grizzled hair and beard
Sparse-stubbled, like a wheatfield
Deep in drought.

They say the camera never lies, but this one did:
I'm not that man.

No -- just as in my early years
I'm striving still to cross the mountain range
That stretches out before me. 

These are no snowy ramparts,
No pretty peaks for postcards,
Not in this old land;
I scramble through a chiselled maze
Of crests and valleys,
Sharp escarpments cloaked in grey
By gloom-filled forests.

My crumpled, sweat-stained map says
"Here Be Dragons" -- well, not quite;
No well-armed hero's set a foot
In this drab place
Abounding in dead ends. 
I have found not a few of them...

And yet I do continue:
For often there are days of light
When the path atop the ridges
Stands out clear,
The mists disperse,
And I can see for miles.

First published in Loch Raven Review, 2006

© David Nourse 2010


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