Wednesday, September 4, 2019

In Search of the Snow Leopard

Between the covers of a book,
cozy in the soft blankets of my purple bed,
I have followed the snowy footprints
of the snow leopard.
I have walked the mountain paths of Tibet
for ten years, searching for my husband,
to find he died, left for vultures
as a sky burial.

I have had my feet bound in ancient China,
have fallen in love in Burma
with a man whose fate was marked.
I have survived the bitter cold of the Gulag,
and heard the lions roar in the Kalahari.

I have galloped across the American plains
on horseback, sat around the campfire
in the evening, covered wagons
circled around us for protection,
the night so dark and wild.

So many places
I have been.

Once a week since age five,
I have carried home an armload of books,
keys to other places, other lives,
read through every evening of my life.
In their pages, I have travelled far
while staying in one place.

for Susan's prompt at Midweek Motif: Literacy

A movie I love about literacy is the true story told in The First Grader, about an 84 year old Mau Mau man in Africa who insisted he be allowed to attend school and learn to read. It shows his life in flashbacks, a life amazing and difficult. He did learn to read, and became the teacher's assistant.


  1. Miraculous journeys! And all from where you sit in the moment. What a wonderful life.

  2. I have journeyed as well. A wonderful poem full of love for reading and books.

  3. Wonderful work indeed, capturing the spirit freed by books.

  4. That is a great way to travel when you don't get to go in person. I'm wondering if you have been to an American Indian pow wow. Mrs. Jim and I went to one in Nebraska. We had an impromptu program which was then probably used for visitors over the years. I suppose Google would have one but I'm now thinking our library might have a book.

    1. I have not been to a powwow, Jim, but have always wanted to. I have been to other native events, but a powwow would be the ultimate.

  5. You know deep in your soul the meaning of Emily Dickinson's poem:

    There is no Frigate like a Book
    To take us Lands away
    Nor any Coursers like a Page
    Of prancing Poetry –
    This Traverse may the poorest take
    Without oppress of Toll –
    How frugal is the Chariot
    That bears the Human Soul –

  6. Wonderful poem. If we can read we can meet people and share their experiences that we we would never have the opportunity to do in real life.

  7. I am glad you mentioned the old Mau Mau man who asked to join school to learn to read and write. I really loved that film. As my mother worked in a library in UK I managed to read books from the adult shelves too including "The Cruel Sea" well before the publisher issued a revised version suitable for children with the swear words and certain scenes omitted!

  8. Canada is the best educated country in the world....bright spark territory:)
    UK no 5, US no 6, Australia no 7. Suppose you knew this already.

  9. A whole universe between the covers of a book! Poor are they who never grew this habit of reading books. A beautiful poem celebrating the book lovers.

  10. Magical journeys between bed covers and the covers of a book, Sherry! Escape, adventure, exploration – all in the imagination – and, as you say, travelling far while staying in one place.

  11. I love how you have captured the magic of words and stories..books make for wonderful adventures (and friends)

  12. Books are indeed keys to other places. The journeys we undertake are a testament to the power of a good story.

  13. You can really get lost in armchair travels. Love this, Sherry!

  14. A journey of a thousands words, starts with the ability to read and understand the words, before us. Sadly, too many people are being left behind, on this momentous event of one's life.


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