El Capitan Poem, For 50th Anniversary of the First Ascent of The Nose

El Cap-- 
you're so cool 
that even after 100 million years 
people still look up to you. 

We gathered dripping wet in a crowded 
room in your shadow 
to talk about how much 
you mean, 
or meant, 
how much you inspired, 
or inspire, 
how much you terrify, 
or terrified. 

You've impressed so many people, 
given us the courage to live 
life a little fuller, 
or so we said from the firm footing 
of the auditorium's tile, 
a safe distance from your 
insane beauty, 
endless provocation. 

Later, standing in the dark 
meadow as you rinsed 
off with a cold Fall shower 
and a few shrill 
birds flitted above 
I felt the futility of our 
measured speeches, 
the necessity to try to 
make human 
your awesomeness. 

Warren had it right organizing 
Thanksgiving dinner on 
Sickle ledge. 
(they hauled up a whole bird Ma had cooked!) 
a raucous serenade to 
the greatest oil painting of 
a swirling granite Van Gogh 
that makes you want to 
laugh and howl till 
the edges of the ledges 
are stained, 
and many merry 
have come to join in. 

Thanks Warren(et al), 
I'll see ya up there. 

By Erik Sloan 11/08