On a bone-shaking journey from Kathmandu
Winding through the hills
I closed my eyes. The driver shook his head.
“No mister, you miss the view”.
I opened them and prayed
All the way to Dhunche.
Arriving at our lodge
I thought of a line from ‘Journey of the Magi’ -
“It was (you may say) satisfactory”. But only just.
We were shown to our room,
The shower a concrete bunker
Akin to a prison ablutions block,
Dark and dank. The water trickled
As I attempted to wash away the dust of the journey
With a piece of soap from a bygone era.
I noticed a small rectangular hole in the wall,
I had the urge to fire an arrow
But then looked through it
Just as the sun was coming out,
The clouds lifting to reveal Langtang Lirung
The peak that presided over the Langtang Valley
We would walk for days to get into its alpine realm
Now here it was like a giant white shark fin
Rising beyond the wooded hills
And I almost gasped as it glinted in the late sunlight.
The image stayed with me
As we sealed ourselves in our sleeping bags
Like Egyptian mummies preparing for the afterlife.
Next morning we set out on a rocky path
And walked all day - crossed rushing rivers,
Traversed aromatic woods,
I thought of Shangri-La
And, fixed in my mind, was that image
Of a mountain where the sky should have been.
by Phil Brown - 18/3/21
Copyright © Phil Brown