{An Umbrella Invitational}

Mary Ann Mayer

lives in Sharon, Massachusetts and Franconia, New Hampshire. Her work has recently appeared in several print and online journals, and is forthcoming in Rock & Sling: A Journal of Art and Faith, and Raven Chronicles’ special issue, Citizen, Subject, Slave.

Mary Ann believes it takes twenty years to become a poet, and is glad to be more than halfway there.

—Back to Milestones Contents—

Approaching Franconia Ridge From The West

I’m looking west and upward.
                            Everything white looms large.
Coral-faced, the massif winks at the sun.
In reply, the sun tips out more crimson
                            tea upon the quintet of peaks, serene
above the invisible birds.

Rock ptarmigan
have descended to the valley.
their snow-white feathers return to brown,
their dark feet deep
in sweetgum seed fallen to the hollow
where they roost each night.
Alive, I take them for granted.

                            These peaks are not alive
yet I feel their abundance;
                            worry how to address them…
I am not blessed or contemplative…

                            Instead, breaking into a run;
icy breath, snow melt in my shoes,
like a child I approach, shouting out.
               High up,
I know a laugh when I hear one.


Artist’s Statement

This poem was written at the moment when I could have, would have quit poetry if it weren’t for a serendipitous meeting with Homo Ludens—a mid twentieth century idea of “Man the Player”—and as I came to discover, a significant idea in the history of poetry.    The editor of this journal has invited me to expand on this idea with a “Musings” essay.  I hope Umbrella readers will enjoy the encounter.