We watch from the peace of our balcony
two figures climbing a mountain, a grey
craggy landscape beyond the woods. The two
climbers are walking a steep path, stooped
forwards and looking pressed down by rucksacks
that seem to lie heavily on their backs.
Who are they? A man and a woman, two
men, two women? Are they a couple, new
friends, old friends, siblings, parent and child?
Do they know this place or is this a wild
adventure, their first time? What does this vast
landscape look like from where they are? What pasts
have they left behind, in their families,
their jobs – what problems, what complexities?
People in the distance are like toys, like
characters in stories; watching them hike
unknown paths, we can imagine about
them – against those mountains, beneath those clouds
our tiny poignant humanity lies
right there in front of us, within the size
of the earth, nature, time, the universe.
These two people, on their own adventure,
with their lives and their busy minds, become
a focus for our imaginations;
our minds become reflective – not knowing
anything about them we start thinking
about humanity in the vastness.
They are playing that role for us, no less
philosophical themselves, I should think,
walking that mountainside – between chatting,
between tirednesses – between planning
the future stages of their travelling.
Matthew Barrow is originally from Gloucester but these days lives in London. His work has appeared in several publications including The Poetry Village, Runcible Spoon, The North and The Rialto. His website is frozenduckblog.com.