BY JAN HAAG
O Devayani, you went to the artists' feeding frenzy,
the glorious food of a lifetime,
and there you met a woman who had no fingers,
or almost none,
and no toes,
though you didn't have a chance to look at her feet,
but she was eating.
She was laughing,
she was telling delightful tales
of the people who had almost nothing, but who helped
her drag her husband's
body from the snow
half way up,
or almost to the top,
Hypoxia, O Devayani, her husband suffered hypoxia.
The brain swells, the eyes go blind.
They tried desperately to
the third highest mountain in the world.
Her fingers froze,
her toes froze,
and her husband died. There, alone
in the snow with one Sherpa,
There was no place else to go,
Devayani, but down
Nepali villagers came from Ghunza.
Tibetan villagers from Folay
to help them
from the third highest mountain.
They brought the Sherpa, the body, and this woman
who was to have no fingers and no toes
down to 10,000 feet
in a whirlybird to Kathmandu.
O Devayani, imagine the black nights,
the loss, the sorrow, the brain
swelling now with the
Eating, to sustain a mutilated body, a soul torn as
if by bear claws, exposed, hurt, damaged.
Eating, and wanting to die.
Eating, and not knowing why
she hadn't stayed in a cave
and let the snow
But she vowed, O Devayani, she vowed she would go back
to help the people who had helped her.
Why not? On a mountain so high
and so remote, surely when she wanted to.
she could walk to the cave,
walk into the ice cave
O Devanyani, you sat the evening through
in the Bang-Kolb studio with Cherie Bremer-Kamp
and the artists as they nodded in, walked round,
admiring things of truth and things of beauty,
after the feeding frenzy.
You looked into Cherie's eyes.
Her narrow tongue darted, and her lips laughed,
but you looked into her eyes.
They were like pools that had filled long ago
with her own tears.
But she went back
-- a six day's walk up the sheer rocks
where even pack animals couldn't go --
to Ghunza and Folay
and she was going back again
with some artists and teachers and
nurses and her new huband,
an electrical engineer -- people.
She didn't seem to care much who they were or
what they had done as long as they could
"watch one, do one, teach one,"
mending of a bone,
building of a building,
singing of a song,
teaching of a child
to read, to write
O Devayani, she was taking chances
on the hearts
of people who wanted to help,
who may have been helped
even though they had
fingers and toes
enjoyed the fabulous food
cooked for the love of the artists
by the restaurateurs
Cherie went back
and she continued to
not so high as
But her heart soared
until her mouth could laugh
and her eyes
under their pool of
and her desire was freed --
at least temporarily freed
-- of longing for
the ultimate beauty,
the ice cave.
Feed, O Cherie, feed.
Take what you like,
with your missing fingers,
and leave the rest.
You can be trusted.
Everests of the soul.
Copyright © 2000 through 2015 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: email@example.com
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BY JAN HAAG