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Apr 2014
The ascender
struggled to the dais
stopping to rub
his sore calves
still filled with lactic acid…

“I forsook the post
workout massage
to deliver this eulogy.

Thats how
important it is
to me…”

His voice began
to trial off but
he regained his
composure and
began to speak
with command...

“He gave his life for me.
Is there no greater love
than to offer a life
in service
to me?

My Sherpa
was moved
and motivated
by economic
compulsion.

I offered him
the only wage
paying job
he ever had.

He ran with it,
taking up my
cause as if
it belonged
to him;
performing
his job
as if engaged
in a heroic
mission.

At times it
he seemed
consumed by
the largess of
my pursuit;
and his death
will bring
economic
calamity
to his family.

This further
confirms
the nobility
of my
mission.

The price
of intrepidness
is dear and
made clear,
its value
fully fleshed
out in the
sacrifice of
my Sherpa.

You may ask,
“why do I do it?”

It is no longer
disputed, if it
can be done.

Sir Edmund
and his Sherpa
answered that
question over half
a century ago.

The only
question
remaining,
"can the mountain
be conquered by me?"

I'll risk sacred fortune,
limb, life, family and
Sherpa to discover
the answer to this...

I must guard
against the
inflation of
my desire to
summit at
any cost.

I'm aware
of the
dangers
presented
by the
expanding
circumference
of my pride,
just a
meager
centimeter or
two can spell
disaster for
me.

Yet testing
its tensility,
tempting
the tipping point
of temerity,
managing the
permeability,
of risk factors
and psychical
rewards to
sift through
the membrane
that calculates
the odds to
successfully
arbitrage the
resolution of
gaming
winners and
losers,
achieving
a perfect balance
manifested in
the mettle
of me.

My
determination
shines
in pursuit
of a
golden fleece.

In my
solitary
quest
I don a
holy halo
crowning me
and fellow
climbers
stricken
with a like
obsession,
sets us apart,
anointing us
the royalty
of high stakes
X Games,
bellying
up 70 grand
to claim our
place in an
extreme
leisure class,
gifted
with time
and treasure
to turn this
unforgiving peak
into a graveyard,
a dump heap,
an open latrine…

The glaciers bleed
my **** into the tributaries
of the Holy Ganges...

My virtues
made plain
in the indelible
mark I leave
upon the mountain...

My life dedicated
to the unselfish pursuit
of a magnanimous me
quick to forgive
and forget the
failures of the
lesser who
lack the ability
and conviction
of self
to conquer
the highest peaks
meeting challenge
and opportunity
with relish and
fortitude

I'm like a
strip miner
singlemindedly
tearing the roof
of the world open
so I can fill it
with the purpose
of me.

That is the
deeper significance
of the death of my
Sherpa.

When Edmund Hillary
and his Sherpa scaled
Everest 60 years ago,
it took decades
to remember that
Tenzing Norgay
guided the beknighted
Hillery, while schlepping
his baggage and
holding the ladder
lifting the
great man
in a great
endeavor;
whose strength
and valiance
turns history’s
creaky wheel.

Sir Hillary did it
because it was
never done before;
with stoutheartedness
and national vigor
Sir Hillary conquered
the last pinnacle
in Britannia's majestic
range of storied
achievements.

As climate change
turns glaciers
into slush,
my time
grows short
to scratch my
initials alongside
the greats who
ascended this mount
before me.

So it is
with well
considered
trepidation that
I send my Sherpa
out onto the
hanging peaks,
to set the ladders
and clear the
path for
the assent
of me.

Every morning
I look into
the mirror
glimpsing
a fleeting
notion of
greatness
that is only
affirmed by
triumph of
the will.

At such a cost
my legend is born
my burden
grows greater,
weighted by
the death of
my Sherpa.

Yet my resolve
grows, eclipsing
the size of
Warren Buffett’s
fortune.

As the world warms
urgency grows,
the alarm sounds!

Onward Sherpas!

Lay the ladder
portage my baggage
the labors of Sisyphus
will find reward
of a goodly outcome!

I press the coin
of the realm into
your hand

The prayer flags
fill with determination
that I succeed,
giving your life meaning
as divine compensation
for the cost of your life.

The prayer flag’s flap
with the mountain squalls
popping, snapping
our hosannas
of victory

Onward Sherpas!

Ever Onward
may the good
Buddha
embrace
you as you
climb toward
your next
destination...

Onward Sherpas!

Music Selection
Sherpa Dance Music

Poem dedicated to the 13 Sherpa climbers
who lost their lives this week on Mount Everest.
May they find peace in heaven
may their families find peace and
sustenance here on earth.

Oakland
4/23/14
jbm
this is a satirical poem, it is not meant to denigrate Sherpas, nor slight the enormity of the the loss of 13 Sherpa Guides on the mountain this week... its a piece that targets the destructive egocentric tourism of the climbers and its impact on the people and ecology of Mt. Everest... my best thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who were lost.... may we examine our motivations and impact the pursuit of personal goals has on the lives of others and the natural environment in which we live....
James Bradley McCallum
Written by
James Bradley McCallum  New Jersey
(New Jersey)   
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