In The Air. Poem by Michael Walker

In The Air.

Nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor
make up the air we breathe so they say.
There is much more nitrogen than oxygen:
surprising really, as oxygen is vital to life.
Most mountaineers need oxygen flasks
to breathe and climb on the high slopes
of uncertainty winding to the top,
which attracts like a magnet
In the air.

Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler
did not use artificial oxygen, though,
when they pushed to the summit of Mt. Everest
alpine style with lightweight backpacks back
in 1978, when anew courage, cold as ice, was
In the air.

-10 July,2015.

Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler climbed Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen, carrying everything in their backpacks, in early 1978. The climb and descent took just two days. In August,1980, Messner made the first solo ascent of Mt Everest, alpine style and again without supplemental oxygen. Messner was the first toclimb all 8000 metre-plus peaks in the world. Messner is considered the greatest climber in history.
This is written in free verse. I did three drafts before the final copy. I started with free-flow writing, just letting the thoughts arrive. As you know, I sometimes revise a poem after posting it.I have done so with this poem, in which the right thoughts took extra days to reach me. There must come a time, though, when a poem is final in wording and form. No more changes.I cannot really write the wayGinsberg did: ' First thought best thought, always'.
Terry Craddock 09 January 2017

Interesting thing oxygen, it causes rust, liquid oxygen can be breathed; George Mallory and Irvine might have reached the summit of Everest, the evidence indicated a fall from much higher up and Mallory's body was near the summit ridge, in good weather they would definitely have succeeded, amazing feat considering they had no modern lightweight gear, climbed from the base of the mountains unlike driven in or flown in modern climbers. The ease of getting to locations cracked many records, once the journey itself often proved impossible, the weather window opened into tourist season attempts on Everest in a later era.

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Michael Walker 26 January 2017

Very perceptive comments Terry. For me, Reinhold Messner is the greatest mountaineer of all time. Michael.

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