Murray Wrote Mountaineering in Scotland

Murray wrote Mountaineering in Scotland
in a German P.O.W. camp
(clothes drying in the open air)
and ‘not merely to divide the light
behind some human figure’
And not merely to divide the light
did Gwen Moffat go on her climbing spree:
Holly Tree, Snowden
and six Welsh peaks I can’t pronounce
Barefoot on granite, AWOL in 1945
(watercress green on the cliff-tops)
To wander is Taoist code for ecstasy

To wander is code for ecstasy:
‘lodging in damp rhododendron beds
storm-beaten, stupefied, and sulky’
Or laughing, stupefied, and sulky
for nothing is blacker than wet ink
while ‘even the darkest part of the mountain
is lighter than white paper’
(sunlight or cloud on vertical rock
blue growing tips of the spruce trees)
Play it with the brush, as Ruskin says
until it finds its place

Play it with the brush till it finds its place
Hillary answered ‘because it’s there’
when he got fucking tired of the question
His Sherpas had no word for summit
(footprint of the pot in ashes)
Sherpas have no word for summit
and ‘the Way’s been in ruins a thousand years’
Scratch of coarse lead on coarse paper
Clothes drying in the open air
(Push through willows, there’s a path here somewhere)
Murray wrote Mountaineering in Scotland
in a German P.O.W. camp — twice

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