That God made mountain tops

At midnight, snow is patterned glass.
Diamond bathroom window glass.
Our crampons spike its surface with command.
It stirs ambition as the halo of our torches
spot the mountain walls.
A fissure here, a jag’d rock there,
a crevasse, a cornice, a frozen cataract.

At dawn the snow reflects the sky
and we stand unroped and dumbstruck
as sky and snow paint violet, pink,
then glorious gold, and herald in
a day of peerless blue
and snow that’s satin ribbon white,
as white as cirrus cloud.

Midday snow’s a bloated fiend,
that grabs our feet with both its hands,
and drags us deep in wet morass,
a mire of melting crystal flake
that slows us to a crawl.
A crawl. A crawl. Damn this snow.
Will the summit ever come?

But the summit is a precious cone
of snow so sculpted,
formed and whipped
that we rejoice,
that God made mountain tops.