What the Canyon Teaches
By Richard Kempa
How loud is the clamor within your head, distancing you.
How quiet the world beyond this welter waiting to welcome you.
How far it is possible to walk in one day — an astonishment!
How immense the world you walk through, and meaningless the map.
How few are your needs. Sip, nibble, nap, lack nothing.
How strong is your body, forgiving of abuses and neglect.
How simple is your task, a sequence of sure steps.
How safe you are on this earth, if you attend to it.
How intricate, how lush, life is. Sit still, know its wealth.
How precious is each moment you are privileged to draw breath.
Poet and essayist Rick Kempa has been hiking in and writing about the Grand Canyon since 1974. His most recent books are the anthologies GOING DOWN GRAND: Poems from the Canyon (Lithic Press 2015), which he co-edited with Peter Anderson, and ON FOOT: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories(Vishnu Temple Press 2014), as well as the poetry collection Ten Thousand Voices (Littoral Press 2013). Rick served as Grand Canyon Artist in Residence at the South Rim in July 2010 and the North Rim in June of 2013. rickkempa.com
Featured image courtesy the author.
Discover more of our poetry series by selecting Parks & Points & Poetry