Title: Climbing

Author: Sara Knox

In: Sport 2: Autumn 1989

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, April 1989, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

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Sport 2: Autumn 1989



For my father, who wanted to be forever young

We walked miles that day — my sister and I.
It was summer; we were not
ourselves —
were what we could be
at our best; free
and with different names

in the mountains, tramping
over gravel track and swingbridge,
past forty Japanese tourists wearing white,
cameras swinging at their necks
like baby monkeys

walked nine kilometres
to the base of the mountains,
there stopped by the fear
that any further
would be called

a thing we could not do,
at least not without
           swiss climbing packs
           two hundred feet of rope
           two pairs of socks
           in well-worn boots
           strong legs
page 116            no fear of heights
           (in other words —
           whole other lives)

so we two girls
stopped and had our picnic

while a party of young Aussie men
swum in the nearby Hooker
yelling, white-lipped, at one another:

'Its not that fucking cold!'

and our father's ghost
ran swiftly past us
with a crate of beer (taken on a bet)
for urgent delivery
to the admiring ghosts
of other
high in the mountains overhead.