Mount Tullywind by Brandon Whitaker

His wife let leave her rigid lip
Another trembling sigh,
A cargo tossed to save the ship,
To let her sorrow lie.

“I hear and love you, light of mine,”
She found the words at last,
“Yet look once more the family fine,
Your hopes have quick o’erpassed.”

A knowing nod received her plea,
Expectant and reposed,
Her hand, aquake perceptibly,
He took and warmly closed.

“I hear and love you, treasure dear,”
His soft refrain once more,
“Though all my heart is ever here,
My soul cannot but soar.”

Her furrowed brow he fast bequeathed
A firm and hopeful kiss,
A strong embrace around her wreathed,
To seize her anxiousness.

To all the foreheads lower down,
He gave a kiss in kind,
And in the hour left his town,
For Mountain Tullywind.


A threatening wind came down the way,
Down from the winding path,
It whispered through the piney gray
An ancient heartless wrath.

It whispered of an eon past,
Of wills and worlds behind,
Of frozen souls at length amassed
On Mountain Tullywind.

As woven in the bracing gust,
These shadows graced his ear,
A flaming thought of victorlust
Immingled with his fear.

“This the day I take the mount,
And this the mount I take,
My Tullywind is conquered ground,
and mine for my own sake.”

The whispers rose to murmurs low
Of thunder’s threat’ning theme,
Hard as despair in fury flowed,
The climber pushed upstream.

The roaring clouds, in hateful thunder,
Kept their rumbling oath,
Pouring down to cast asunder
Hope and climber both.

Yet, mountain shouts of protestation
Hurtle though they may,
The climber and his grand occasion
Made their mighty way.

Like ice he gripped the crags of stone,
Like iron clamped the earth,
Though frozen down to core of bone,
He seized the selfsame mirth.

“This the day I take the mount,
And this the mount I take!
My Tullywind is conquered ground,
And mine for my own sake!”

Yet rolling in the beastly whirl,
A stunning answer came,
For here, where heaven’s ire unfurled,
He heard his spoken name.

“A fool you are, a heart of rot!”
Perceived he in the squall.
“Your mortal frame, though iron-wrought,
Has wrought its mortal fall.”

He scarce could hear his wild thought,
Lost in the roar of rain,
But little had his senses brought,
Before he stood again.

“Then rage against me, hateful mount!
Pour out your endless spite!
Yet still you will be conquered ground,
A thrall to mortal might!”

The crackle of perfervid pride
Lit up his icy brow,
And up he plunged in heavy stride,
To prove his blazing vow.

He flew against each barricade
With firm and fierce abandon,
Each stone into a staircase made,
Each fissure fit to land in.

And soon that mortal edifice
To mountain height arose,
A single skyward precipice,
Withstood his journey’s close.

His knuckles white with strength and spite
Clung to a jagged hold,
An anchor in the moonless night,
Made firmer in the cold.

No sooner than this purchase made,
The storm threw wide its maw —
A deluge great, by mercy stayed,
Released its very all.

A marvelous thunder roared and rumbled,
Rocking the mountain whole,
The earth lurched down, the heavens tumbled,
And horror seized his soul.

Above, drawn in like roving sharks,
The rainclouds fiercely rolled,
Unleashing their colossal sparks,
Flown with the piercing cold.

Th’ ancient stores of tempest wind
Alit with fearsome rage —
All nature seemed to thunder in,
To press him off the stage.

And pressed he was, on every side,
Whipped like a tattered flag,
He desperate held, deep growled, fierce cried
And fell, fell from the crag.

His soul and body plummeted,
Spurned by the awesome storm,
As Tullywind, unsummited,
Surmised his falling form.

It watched him batter o’er and o’er
The sharp, unyielding slope,
A catastrophic overture
Of shattered human hope.

Till countless bones had cracked to ground,
His penance full received,
A swarded mercy jutted out,
Him halted and reprieved.

Then dropped the arms of nature’s force,
With patient, careful mind,
To watch the next and wisest course
Of Mountain Tullywind,

Who parted back the pouring shade,
Withdrew the blanket night,
Let fall the starlight’s soft cascade,
In cool and quiet light.

That blaze of pride, on sopping tinder,
Fell to a falt’ring flame,
And, burnt down to a paltry cinder,
The climber sank in shame.

“I feel your eyes, you tow’ring thing,
Don’t think me unaware.
It’s quite enough to bear your sting,
Without you hulking there.

“Well, let us all applaud, applaud,
And take your rightful bow!
You fully smote this loathsome sod,
Made ashes of his vow.

“So claim your pound of flesh from me,
To pile your summit higher!
Maintain in bursts of misery
This existential pyre.

“Yet cursed you are, and evermore,
Cursed for lack of vision!
In vanity did you abhor
A noble soul’s ambition.

“Is not your reach so long to stretch,
To seize some heart of shame?
Could not an honest villain catch,
And rake him through the flame?

“But no, restrain your stubby arm
From those who rape and kill!
Why not oppress with odious harm
A simple act of will?

“I scorn in truth your worthless peak!
A fool I was to covet!
Your earthly stuff is small and weak,
I soar ten skies above it!”

At this his breath was fully spent,
Blown to the gentle breeze,
Whose soft caresses rolled anent,
And deigned a moment’s ease.

But soft, slight did that current bear
A deep, heraldic sound,
Which resonated everywhere
Down the titanic mound.

It rippled through the rain-tipped grass,
It rode th’ impetuous wind,
And, straining as he felt it pass,
He heard the words begin.

“Cast you away my eye with the flailing
Of failed flesh in agony?
Shall the mighty hand of the menacing ailing
Do quick and simply away with me?

“Your spite-forged blade carves out a portion
Fit, you say, for my pyre?
What much do I make of mortal contortion
Before a sacred fire?

“Condemned you are, you are, but not
For the easy reason you choose;
The surgeon saves the favored lot,
And rot alone you lose.

“Woe to the blind dust who misses
The justice of its rightful smiting!
Woe to those lustful and spiteful and vicious
Hearts in poor lighting!

“Show me the sense of a proud heart
Who plays the impossible-doer.
Was the man of a wife not a noble part,
To marry and give yourself to her?

“Was love laborious, love divine
A summit too small to stay?
What struggle enmeshed you on Mount Tullywind,
If love could not wash you away?

“Cracked, crumbled, condemned lies the taker
Of mounts and judge of the same!
His just arrogation to claim as the maker
Of proud and pointless flame.

“The gavel swings, swings in surety,
Down on the grass I gave:
Who grates and groans on things of purity,
Let none stay his grave.”

Wordlessly the platform fell,
And so the man in kind,
No echo gave, no solemn knell,
On Mountain Tullywind.

Brandon is a soon-to-be chemistry teacher who also enjoys poetry. He is a friend of alliteration and a tense, awkward acquaintance of concision.


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