Treasure Island

Kenneth Rexroth

(December 22, 1905 – June 6, 1982 / South Bend, Indiana)

Climbing Milestone Mountain, August 22, 1937


For a month now, wandering over the Sierras,
A poem had been gathering in my mind,
Details of significance and rhythm,
The way poems do, but still lacking a focus.
Last night I remembered the date and it all
Began to grow together and take on purpose.
We sat up late while Deneb moved over the zenith
And I told Marie all about Boston, how it looked
That last terrible week, how hundreds stood weeping
Impotent in the streets that last midnight.
I told her how those hours changed the lives of thousands,
How America was forever a different place
Afterwards for many.
In the morning
We swam in the cold transparent lake, the blue
Damsel flies on all the reeds like millions
Of narrow metallic flowers, and I thought
Of you behind the grille in Dedham, Vanzetti,
Saying, “Who would ever have thought we would make this history?”
Crossing the brilliant mile-square meadow
Illuminated with asters and cyclamen,
The pollen of the lodgepole pines drifting
With the shifting wind over it and the blue
And sulphur butterflies drifting with the wind,
I saw you in the sour prison light, saying,
“Goodbye comrade.”
In the basin under the crest
Where the pines end and the Sierra primrose begins,
A party of lawyers was shooting at a whiskey bottle.
The bottle stayed on its rock, nobody could hit it.
Looking back over the peaks and canyons from the last lake,
The pattern of human beings seemed simpler
Than the diagonals of water and stone.
Climbing the chute, up the melting snow and broken rock,
I remembered what you said about Sacco,
How it slipped your mind and you demanded it be read into the record.
Traversing below the ragged arête,
One cheek pressed against the rock
The wind slapping the other,
I saw you both marching in an army
You with the red and black flag, Sacco with the rattlesnake banner.
I kicked steps up the last snow bank and came
To the indescribably blue and fragrant
Polemonium and the dead sky and the sterile
Crystalline granite and final monolith of the summit.
These are the things that will last a long time, Vanzetti,
I am glad that once on your day I have stood among them.
Some day mountains will be named after you and Sacco.
They will be here and your name with them,
“When these days are but a dim remembering of the time
When man was wolf to man.”
I think men will be remembering you a long time
Standing on the mountains
Many men, a long time, comrade.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Climbing Milestone Mountain, August 22, 1937 by Kenneth Rexroth )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Sinners الاثمون, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  2. Touch-me-not, Naveed Khalid
  3. The Sword and the Plowshare, John F. McCullagh
  4. On the road a Recovery Poem, jeff newnham
  5. Sinners, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  6. An Image Of An Old House, Yohan Confectioner
  7. Autumn Equinox, Jacqueline Nash
  8. Portrait, Md. Mujib Ullah
  9. Childhood Never Returns, Md. Mujib Ullah
  10. I Am A Happy Old Man, Shalom Freedman

Poem of the Day

poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Know'st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Randall Jarrell

 

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  5. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  6. No Man Is An Island, John Donne
  7. If, Rudyard Kipling
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
  10. Trees, Joyce Kilmer

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]