Beth Copeland – Mystic Mountain

Beth Copeland LEP&W V4 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four December 2022.

Mystic Mountain, poems by Beth Copeland.

Mystic Mountain

The mountain’s face is impassive, blank,
its gray massif like a massive mastodon flank.
If the mountain had a mouth, it would curve
in an archaic smile, Mona Lisa style, mysterious,
hinting at something withheld, secretive, serious.
Its eyes would be amber like a leopard’s or panther’s.
Its body as androgynous as a Caravaggio angel’s.
The mountain is a mirror where we see ourselves
in chiaroscuro shadows and floating clouds.


My sister unrolls her purple yoga mat
in front of the sliding glass door.

Durham, her German Shepherd, joins us
for what we call “doga.”

Facing the mountain framed in the doorway,
we rise to Tadasana,

summoning The Peak’s steadfast stance.
Durham does a Downward Dog

on my green mat, then sinks into a Modified Sphinx,
and we laugh and lunge

into Warrior One before moving to Tree,
balancing with one foot

on the floor, the other lifted to the thigh,
palms pressed in prayer,

and slowly raise our arms like branches
over our heads. Shooing

Durham off my mat, I settle into a Half-Lotus,
smile at my sister, and say,

The mountain in me honors
the mountain in you.

Walking through a Spider Web

Half blinded by morning fog, I didn’t see it
until too late—a milky

mandala of sticky silk hung from a branch
as if spun from air.

I brushed it from my hair. Later, I washed
my hands—that’s what we do

when we’ve broken something
too fragile to repair.

© Beth Copeland

Beth Copeland is the author of Selfie with Cherry (Glass Lyre Press, 2022); Blue Honey, 2017 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize winner; Transcendental Telemarketer (BlazeVOX, 2012); and Traveling through Glass, 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award winner. She owns and operates Tiny Cabin, Big Ideas™, a retreat for writers in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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