Her winter winds struck
head on,
hitting hard
numbing my flesh
with the illusion of warmth
and all that i could do less prayer
was hang in the balance
of uncertainty
my resistance strained
hoping she would run her course
allow movement,
however small,
however touched
give even the palest of signs
to sharpen my edges
feed faith to soul
allow for descent
which most men
small as i
know as retreat

      N.J. Hartney

Climbing in the Olympics, 1984