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Kangchenjunga

layers of grey mist
ridge upon ridge veiling
kangchenjunga
walking – walking by day
smoky chang at night

dzo bells ring
bouncing across ravines
sherpas whistling
their rough shod feet
under loads never falter

climbing through
rhododendron forests
ancient trees
here I am breathless
retracing the road to heaven

carved mani stones
om mani padme hum
along the uphill way
lichen stone shepherd huts
how fierce the guard dog

semiti lake
pilgrim’s sacred place
a lone white duck
swims an emerald green circle
welcoming the thaw

snowing
snowing all night
tents sagging with the weight
the one I left behind
a life time away

before dawn – walking
walking to Gotcha La
the mountain gods
paint kangchenjunga gold
pink fingers spreading the light

the turning point
across a vast snow field
dragging weary steps
back to a smoke-filled hut
offering little refuge

these Himalayas
slowly reduce me to
nothingness
even the shining stars
are not permanent