With the recent earthquake in Nepal, and the news coming out of Kathmandu and from Everest Base Camp, my thoughts inevitably are drawn to the Sherpa people I met when I traveled there several years ago, some of whom were working in the base camp when the avalanche off Pumori roared through. This poem was an homage to the Sherpa when I wrote it last year, and I re-dedicate it to them again now in the wake of this tragedy.
A thousand miles and more
Beyond the Bosphorus and the Levant,
Far along the Karakoram Way,
Past the ancient city of Tashkent.
Dusty Kathmandu beckons,
With Thamel’s every trackless street,
Spin the wheels at Boudhanath,
And the temple monkeys to greet.
Looming distant beyond the valley,
Rising above the smoke and haze,
Gleaming, jagged, white with summer snow,
The Solukhumbu commands your gaze.
From Lukla’s first tilted landing,
And the winding paths of Namche Bazar,
Along narrow depths of the Dudh Kosi valley,
Steep trails promise to take you far.
The welcoming arms of Ama Dablam
Smiling over the milk river below,
Guarding over the school in Khumjung,
Tengboche’s chanting, yet still far to go.
The Pheriche valley is a welcome path,
Stone homesteads and herds of yak;
A sombre memorial at Thokla Pass
For those who didn’t make…
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