Thursday, April 05, 2007

CARRY TIGER UP THE MOUNTAIN

I am posting this poem in honor of Good Friday and the closing of a very difficult Holy Week. I have found that the more focused I have become on spirit the more deeply I am affected by the liturgical calendar. At present, I feel as though my heart is being gripped by enormous hands that want to tear it out of me. At such times, I remember the Qi Gong move called "Carry Tiger Up the Mountain." Years ago when I was doing Qi Gong I would weep every time this motion came into my practice. By the tenth movement I'd be a wreck. Finally I asked my teacher why I wept every time I did this. He told me the movement follows the story of a Tao master who carried the dead body of his pet tiger up a mountain because he knew that was the only way to fully embrace his death.

CARRY TIGER UP THE MOUNTAIN

If you really want it out of
you, then we’re talking the
Himalayas, Sherpa-less, no
gear because who can carry
gear when they’re carrying
a tiger. You really have to
take it all the way. And after
you’ve climbed the whole
mountain, then begins the
journey, then you must name
the mountain. Call it: Tiger
Mountain, and after that, there’s
the mountain inside you you
have to climb that makes
Everest look easy. You long
for low oxygen, pulmonary
edema on this internal peak
that begins with your hair
and goes downward, tearing
through every cloud in your
mind. And you can’t climb
up the outside of it but must
go through the molten interior.
Through the stone sealed earth
and still with that tiger slung
across your back like a scarf,
this thing you loved, this thing
you spoke to as water pours
itself into a cup. You thought
you would drink of this life
forever. One foot and then
another is how you walk,
each drives claws, luxurious,
gold in the dark, to scratch
initials of longing into your
skin. Death is the only ink for
the calligraphy of pain, and
every stroke must be confident.
Carry your love up that wild
mountain. Only then can you
rip that mountain out. Set into
ice and sky you and tiger free.

4 comments:

nepalwriter said...

To learn more about the Sherpa tribe that makes climbing Everest possible, read Beyond the Summit by Linda LeBlanc. Details of Sherpa culture and religion are interwoven in a tale of romance and high adventure. The story has something for everyone: a love affair between an American journalist and Sherpa guide, conflict between generations as the modern world challenges centuries of tradition, an expedition from the porter's point of view.

Below are selections from reviews. To read the complete ones and excerpts go to www.beyondthesummit-novel.com

Beyond the Summit, is the rare gem that shows us the triumphs and challenges of a major climb from the porter’s point of view. The love of two people from diverse cultures is the fiery centerpiece of a novel that leads its readers through harshly beautiful and highly dangerous territory to the roof of the world. Malcolm Campbell, book reviewer

Conflict and dialog keep this gripping story of destiny, romance and adventure moving from the first page to the last paragraph. LeBlanc has a genius for bonding her readers and her characters. I found I was empathizing in turn with each character as they faced their own personal crisis or trauma.
Richard Blake for Readers Views.


A gripping, gut-twisting expedition through the eyes of a porter reveals the heart and soul of Sherpas living in the shadows of Everest. EverestNews.com

A hard-hitting blend of adventure and romance which deserves a spot in any serious fiction collection. Midwest Book Review

LeBlanc is equally adept at describing complex, elusive emotions and the beautiful, terrifying aspect of the Himalayan Mountains. Boulder Daily Camera

LeBlanc's vivid description of the Himalayas and the climbing culture makes this a powerful read. Rocky Mt News Pick of the Week

A rich adventure into the heart of the Himalayan Kingdom. Fantastic story-telling from one who has been there. USABookNews.com

This is the book to read before you embark on your pilgrimage to Nepal. The author knows and loves the people and the country, and makes you feel the cold thin air, the hard rocks of the mountains, the tough life of the Sherpa guides, and you learn to love them too. This is a higly literate, but also very readable book. Highly recommended."
-- John (college professor)

Memorable characters and harrowing encounters with the mountains keep the action moving with a vibrant balance of vivid description and dialogue. Literary Cafe Host, Healdsburg, CA

This superbly-crafted novel will land you in a world of unimaginable beauty, adventure, and romance. The love story will keep you awake at night with its vibrant tension and deep rich longing. Wick Downing, author of nine novels

The book is available from amazon.com, chesslerbooks.com, Barnes & Noble and Borders Stores, and the web site for an autographed copy.

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