Saturday, March 18

How high is this mountain?

I did it. I ran 15 miles today. Actually a little over 15 miles, but I made it to my goal and I'm still standing. At times it was tough and my legs hurt, but I made it all the way. Near the end I caught a second wind and I felt great.

Achieving a big goal consists of achieving lots of smaller goals.

Early on in the run, a line from a poem came to me and it helped me keep running. It's funny, I couldn't remember but random phrases from the poem. And the key phrase I kept repeating. How high is this mountain?

It's a line from a poem by Marc Smith that's in this book, The Spoken Word Revolution. The book also comes with a cd and it's great. Pull the Next One Up is the last track on the disc.

I know you want to read the whole poem so here it is:

When you get to the top of the mountain
Pull the next one up.
Then there'll be two of you
Roped together at the waist
Tired and proud, knowing the mountain
Knowing the human force it took
To bring both of you there.

And when the second one has finished
Taking in the view,
Satisfied by the heat and perspiration under the wool,
Let her pull the next one up;
Man or woman, climber of mountains.
Pull the next hand over
The last jagged rock
To become three.
Two showing what they've already seen.
And one knowing now the well-being with being
Finished with one mountain,
With being able to look out a long way
Toward other mountains.
Feeling a temptation to claim victory
As if mountains were toys to own.

When you ask how high is this mountain
With a compulsion to know
Where you stand in relationship to other peaks,
Look down to wherefrom you came up
And see the rope that's tied to your waist
Tied to the next man's waist,
Tied to the next woman's waist,
Tied to the first man's waist,
To first woman's waist
... and pull the rope!

Never mind the flags you see flapping on conquered pinnacles.
Don't waste time scratching inscriptions into the monolith.
You are the stone itself.
And each man, each woman up the mountain
Each breath exhaled at the peak,
Each glad-I-made-it ... here's my hand,
Each heartbeat wrapped around the hot skin
of the sun-bright sky,
Each noise panted or cracked with laughter,
Each embrace, each cloud that holds everyone
in momentary doubt...

All these are inscriptions of a human force that can
Conquer conquering hand over hand pulling the rope
Next man up, next woman up.
Sharing a place, sharing a vision.
Room enough for all on all the mountain peaks.
Force enough for all

To hold all the hanging bodies
Dangling deep in the deep recesses of the mountain's belly
Steady... until they have the courage...
Until they know the courage...
Until they understand
That the only courage there is is
To pull the next man up
Pull the next woman up
Pull the next up... Up... Up.


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