Two Mountain Peaks

by Christopher J. Patton


On Top at the Appalachian Cub’s Emergency Shelter [NH]

Thrust up alone
The mountain peak
Is treeless stone
And lichen bleak.
Above there’s sky
With shining sun;
Upon it I
Converse with none.
Below drop steep
Descending cliffs
To valley’s deep
Which at me laugh;
Although I stand
Up here and stroll
Without command
From sunken knoll.

[January 1968]


On Top at the Mosque of Nebi Samwill
[Prophet Samuel Hill, Jerusalem]

There is another mountain peak,
That’s treeless stone but rocky bleak.
Upon it sat I not alone,
But rather sat as one atoned.
God was there, and there I vowed
To raise a city before me bowed:
Jerusalem alight with death
Derived from fear and lack of breath.
Jerusalem city of hills,
Below she sits, the valley fills.
Jerusalem city of gold,
Uncovered as she was in old.
Jerusalem, city of peace,
Whose wounds of war will one day cease.

Blow winds, blow
With the living glow
Of life eternal,
Her promised renewal.
Live, O city of God,
And be you ruled by the mighty Rod.
Rod of Jesse, stem of David,
Who shall never rest…
Bring the stone – up the timber!
Let not man nor spirit hinder.
Work, O Mighty One!
Let Your glorious house be done.
Sleeping city that will soon awaken,
Then, O city called my home,
From you no longer shall I roam.

But here I sit on mountain bleak,
By myself, helpless, weak.
Strengthen, O God, my right hand,
That your Kingdom inherit this land.
Ne’er e’er alone, no longer weak,
Towards Your throne I’ll ever seek.

[July 25, 1977 – the last time I was there.]


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